DeAndre Jordan: Born to be a big man

ByMorty Ain ESPN logo
Monday, July 6, 2015

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I was about 6-foot-3 my freshman year of high school, and after the summer, I was about 6-foot-8. It all happened so fast. I went into the summer being tall, and when I came back, I was a giant. My knees, man, they were throbbing all the time. I couldn't sit in the car for long stretches; my knees felt like they were going to explode.

When you're younger, everyone wants to be a point guard. Everyone wants to shoot fadeaway jump shots all day. Nobody wants to be a big man. Nobody wants to go stand on the block and just set picks. But in my case, I grew so fast that my position had to change.

Being a big guy is definitely tougher. There's so much banging and contact and physicality down there every night.

Oh, man, I was a stick in high school. I had a bird chest; I got called that a lot: "Bird chest." But I've always been comfortable with my body, even when I was super skinny.

I asked my mom, "Why am I so much taller than everybody else?" But after a while you embrace being different, being something a lot of people aren't. It's fun.

I wish I had bigger shoulders to use to create more space down in the paint. I feel like my chest has filled out well -- like I've left the bird-chest phase behind. My stomach is a lot better. My arms are getting there.

I'm all legs, that's all I am. My torso is short. Fortunately for me, being 6-foot-11, I was going to have to get my pants tailor-made anyway.

I feel like the goatee chose me. Any time I try to grow out a full beard, it's very patchy and I look like a werewolf. So I keep the goatee going because it's full.

Diet was big for me. Just knowing the best things to put into my body to help me produce better on the floor. I have a nutritionist who is also my chef. I force my body to stay hydrated; you learn that as you get older. I have a schedule to keep track of things that are going into my body pregame and postgame.

I could be a pro, I bike so much. About two or three years ago, I really got into cycling. I got a customized bike. I ride by myself and do a lot of spin classes.

Before I take my pregame nap, I'll watch cartoons to clear my head. It's a part of my game-time routine. I like "Tom and Jerry." "SpongeBob" is cool. It takes me back to when I was a kid and there was no pressure, no problems. Every day was just a Saturday.

I feel like me and Batman have a lot in common. Out on the basketball court, I'm a vigilante.

The key word is "relentless." Nothing can stop you but you. That's it, man -- just being able to stay focused and locked in on whatever you're doing.

This is an online exclusive story from ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue 2015. Subscribe today!

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