Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Ryan Anderson Of The Pelicans Says He Loves NPR, And You'll Love Crescent City Basketball


Ryan Anderson of the New Orleans Pelicans tells us why he loves the NPR sound, how he has overcome personal and professional tragedy, and why you need to be excited about Crescent City basketball.

What should fans expect this year? Why should they be excited about Pelicans basketball?

We have a healthy group, finally. Last year we had a lot of talent, but so many injuries that really held us back. Now we have a full squad, we have some new players that are really going to add a dimension to the group — to the team — that we haven’t had in the two years that I’ve been here. Like Omer Asik, I mean — I’m looking at him right now in the big green screen thing — he’s such a big player. He plays big, he can guard big guys, he’s strong, and defensively he’s going to help us out so much.

But I think that we’re an exciting team to watch regardless because we have so many different offensive weapons. We have so much talent and we’re just going to be fun to watch offensively — and now, with new additions, defensively — and I think we’re going to be a complete team.

What is it about the game of basketball that’s so exciting? Especially compared to football in South Louisiana?

Well, for me, basketball is just a constant back-and-forth game. It’s just… you’re not waiting 15 minutes to see somebody score, you know? Somebody is going to score, somebody is going to do something athletic and impressive.

These are the best athletes in the world, and it’s an honor to play alongside of them. It’s pretty crazy. I pinch myself. I never thought I’d be doing this. It’s pretty exciting to come in every day and be playing with guys like this.

So, in my opinion, it’s just so much more — there’s just so much more going on in basketball. There’s so many different things to look at, and it’s just a lot more action. Rather than just spurts of action, it’s just constant.

You had a pretty tough year last year. How are you feeling coming into this season?

I want to come into a new year like this feeling kind of refreshed and renewed, and just sort of like ready to go, you know? It was a tough year. I’ve learned just so much about my life, about my family and friends and people that I want to surround myself with. You learn a lot when you go through tragedy.

But on top of that with the injury, it was a tough year, you know? And sitting on the sideline, you know… basketball was something that was a bit of a sanctuary for me for a while, going through a tough loss last year. So when I couldn’t play basketball, that was tough, too. Sitting on the sidelines felt like I was sort of in jail with a window. I had the cell with the window, and I could see outside, but I’m stuck.

Starting this year I just wanted to just come in and feel in shape, so I came in about a month ago, and feel in shape, feel good physically and mentally. Just being around these guys helps me so much, so that’s why I say I feel kind of refreshed and renewed from just a tough year. I want to bounce back better than ever and just try to be optimistic in this crazy life sometimes.

Jason Saul served as WWNO's Director of Digital Services. In 2017 he took a position at BirdNote, in Seattle.