RJ Barrett on Jordan, Meeting Drake, and His COVID-19 Donation

The Canadian rookie sensation tells us about his first big purchase, his relationship with Zion Williamson, and why Steve Nash won't play him.

New York Knicks rookie and Mississauga, Ontario native RJ Barrett recently sat down (virtually) with Complex Canada’s Alex Narvaez for an exclusive interview. Taking over Foot Locker Canada's IG Live, we asked RJ about everything from how he’s spending lockdown to his relationship with former Duke teammate Zion Williamson to his recent $100,000 donation to the Mississauga Food Bank in light of COVID-19. Peep the video above and read some highlights from the chat below.

On his lockdown workout routine:

“[I’m] really just going to continue to work on my shooting and finishing stuff. You know, free throws, any areas that I think I need to improve on. I like to watch a lot of LeBron and a lot of Michael Jordan film. I just want to be able to read the game and make better decisions, so that I could try to have better success for my team.”

On what he misses most about Canada:

“I miss being home. I miss my hometown, Mississauga. I miss my friends back home. I miss going to Square One.”

On his donation to the Mississauga Food Bank:

“With [our donation to] the food bank it felt like, you know, people are struggling during these times, especially with stuff being closed. So a lot of people aren't getting the opportunity to go to work. I just feel like if I could help in any way, that would be really cool. I think we were able to provide 200,000 meals for people, so that really warmed my heart, just to see that people are going to be able to feed their families. People are going to be able to, you know, survive a day longer or a couple of days longer. So that's what it's really all about.”

On playing against Zion Williamson for the first time:

“[Laughs.] Well, he didn't really play against us, so it was just funny because he wasn’t  playing. So, like, we'd just be talking to each other when he was on the bench. Stupid jokes. But it's different to see him on a different team.

“We still try and FaceTime at least once or twice a week, and, you know, just catch up on life. We're still good. That's my boy.”

On meeting Drake:

"He's a great guy. A great guy. Really down to earth, funny. Cool guy to be around. If you know him, he just acts like a regular guy."

On his first big purchase as a pro baller:

“First. Big. Purchase. I know exactly what it was. [Laughs.] I was a little eager, I was a little eager. So the first time I got paid, I went straight to the Louis Vuitton store and got myself a backpack. I think it was 3 or 4k. And then I went and got myself some Balenciagas. It was quite an incredible day.

On how old he was when he first defeated his dad, retired Canadian pro baller Rowan Barrett:

“He hasn't played me since I was 14 and I’ve never beaten him. He stopped playing me when I was 14. He said, "I don’t wanna play anymore." Because he knows. He knows, so he's not gonna do it. [Laughs.] It's the same with [RJ’s godfather] Steve Nash. Steve Nash won't play me either. They both stopped playing me a long time ago.”

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