Skal Labissière Wants You to Know He's a "Cheapskate"

Get to know the 7-foot "Haitian Sensation."

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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I was sitting in the lobby of the Grand Hyatt waiting to interview Providence’s electric point guard Kris Dunn when in walks probably the tallest person I have ever seen. I didn’t recognize him at first, but as soon as he walked over to introduce himself I knew who he was. Skal Labissière is even taller in person than his 6'11" frame would suggest. He seemed super humble and just happy to be there.

Skal’s rep asked what we (I was with the founder of Draft Express) were doing later and encouraged us to head over to Terminal 23 at 5:30 p.m. to watch Skal work out. That offer would end up saving the day. Long story short, Dunn had another commitment that he was running late for and he wasn’t open to the idea of being interviewed in the car transporting him from the Hyatt to the store.

So over to Terminal 23, the Haiti-born athlete, who played one year at Kentucky under coach John Calipari, is raw, young, and excited to start his NBA career. Check out some things you probably didn’t know about the phenom:

(This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.)


Do you mirror your game after any players in the NBA?
Well I take a little bit from different people. LaMarcus Aldridge. Dirk Nowitzki, the way he shoots the basketball, he can stretch the floor out. A little bit from Tim Duncan. I watch him a lot. His footwork. He is very skilled in the post. Anthony Davis. And Carmelo, his face-up game. 

Everyone now gets a nickname, have you heard any good ones for you?
I've heard a lot. One Big Haitian. Haitian Sensation. There are a bunch. I can't remember all of them.  

Have you gotten close with anyone in your draft class?
Jamal Murray was my roommate at Kentucky and Tyler Ulis was my point guard at Kentucky. Definitely the Kentucky guys. Thon Maker is one of my really good friends. And Cheick Diallo. 

What's your favorite movie?
I have a bunch of favorite movies. I like the Harry Potter series. Indiana Jones, I watch that. The Hobbit. Movies like that. 

Favorite Rapper?
I don't really have a favorite rapper. Drake is pretty good, but I don't really have one. 

Other musicians?
Bob Marley. I really love Bob Marley. I'm from the islands, so my dad used to listen to him all the time. Definitely Bob Marley. 

Favorite TV show?
No doubt, The Office. My favorite show. I think it’s the best show ever. I started watching it in high school with one of my teammates over at his house, but I got hooked on it at Kentucky, I started watching it every single day, when I wasn't playing basketball or in class. 

Favorite cereal?
Captain Crunch Peanut Butter. I first had it here in America. I tasted it and fell in love with it. 

What is the first big purchase you are going to make?
I need a house. Wherever I move to. And a car. What kind? I'm a cheapskate, so something cheap. 

Do you think the 2010 earthquake in Haiti was the changing point in your life?
It was a life-changing experience, but I am very thankful I went through it because it made me the person I am today. 


What was the biggest adjustment you had to make coming from Haiti?
The language. I didn't speak English at all at first. So I had to learn. I basically picked it up on my own, so that was a major adjustment. The food is also different. From the way it’s cooked in Haiti. Those were the two biggest adjustments I had to make. 

My first few weeks were hard. My dad moved here with me. I didn't know the people I was living with at first. It was hard to communicate with people around me because of the language barrier. But after two or three months I was fine with it. 

Last question, what are the favorite pair of kicks you own?
My Kobe’s. He was my favorite player growing up. 

For more basketball coverage be sure to check out our NBA Draft comparisons piece.

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