Rookie big man Bol Bol caught up with HoopsHype to talk about NBA life since the draft since he was recently selected by the Denver Nuggets.
Bol, who is the son of legendary 7-foot-7 basketball player Manute Bol, averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.7 blocks and 1.4 three-pointers per game while in the NCAA. He was selected in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft.
The former Oregon Ducks star recently visited a Chipotle in Denver and told us he has a go-to order: a burrito bowl with white rice, steak, fresh tomato salsa, roasted chili corn salsa, sour cream and cheese. It is now unofficially the Bol Bowl and, coincidentally, he now lives in Denver where the Chipotle burrito bowl began 26 years ago.
He also touched on how he is adjusting to his move to Denver, his favorite cartoons and plenty more.
I wanted to talk to you a little bit about what you’re doing today with Chipotle. Can you give me some background on the project and how you decided to do it?
Bol Bol: I got together with Chipotle and my name is Bol, obviously, and they have the burrito bowl. So we wanted to do something fun together. I made a bowl with rice, steak, salsa, corn, cheese and sour cream. It’s what I get every time. When I’m with my family and we can’t think of anywhere to go, we’ll honestly always go to Chipotle.
So you’re at a Chipotle in Denver. Tell me about your experience since moving there and what you have been doing with your time since getting drafted by the Nuggets.
BB: When I first got here, I went to a couple museums and I would go to the park. I went to Red Rocks. Everything was really cool. I did a lot of stuff in nature. It is very beautiful here.
Before this, you lived in Oregon which is another place with some beautiful outdoor activities. What was your favorite thing about living there for college?
BB: I really loved being around my teammates. The freshmen and I lived together and I was really close to them. I still talk to the freshmen all of the time. It was the most fun I ever had playing basketball. It was another super beautiful place and the campus was really nice, too, and everyone was nice. Denver is a lot bigger and more of a city. There are some similarities, though, they’re both really calm and I don’t get bothered too often.
I know when you wrote your article for The Players’ Tribune to explain why you chose the University of Oregon, you spoke about the shoes and the connection to Nike. What are some of your favorites?
BB: On the court, I usually wear the Kyrie Irving 5. I wear a lot of Kobe sneakers, too. Off the court, I wear pretty much everything from Jordan to designer shoes. I like Dior shoes and Gucci shoes. Other than that, I wear a lot of Off-White Nike shoes too.
You mentioned Kyrie. He has Spongebob shoes with Nike. You have a Spongebob tattoo. Are you going to try and get those and wear them on the court?
BB: I’m a huge Spongebob fan. The Squidward ones are my favorite and that is funny because like you said, I have a tattoo of him. They made them on my favorite basketball shoe. I thought it was cool that Nike and Kyrie interacted with kids using that theme.
Is that the kind of project you would like to do one day on a shoe deal?
BB: Definitely. Whenever I get my own shoe, I’ll definitely do a lot of cool stuff like that using cartoons and stuff. I would be a shoe designer or some kind of clothing designer if I wasn’t playing basketball. I’d definitely want to work in fashion.
Now I’m curious: What are some of your other favorite cartoons?
BB: I like Hey Arnold. I watch a lot of Tom and Jerry as well as Courage The Cowardly Dog. I watch more of the older shows on my XBOX, just the ones I watched when I was younger. I don’t really like the new ones. I think there is more creativity and a lot more going on in the older ones. Now, the new ones are too similar to each other and not as fun as back in the day.
Would you consider getting another tattoo of a cartoon character?
BB: For right now, that’s the only one. But in the future, possibly. I love cartoons. So I probably will end up with another one later on. It’d most likely be a Tom and Jerry tattoo.
Are you into video games? Have you played as yourself on NBA 2K yet?
BB: Honestly, I’ve updated and played with myself on 2K19 and I cannot for the life of me figure out how to play with myself in that game. So I use Paul George. Everyone else can figure it out but me. I don’t understand how that works. I play Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto. I retired from Fortnite because I was so bad at it.
Because you’re at a Chipotle right now, who would you want to bring to a Taco Tuesday at LeBron’s house?
BB: I’d bring my cousin because he’s the biggest LeBron fan. I think he’d probably freak out. If LeBron made me do the voice on his Instagram story, I’d do it.
On that topic, who are some of your favorite basketball players of all-time?
BB: Actually, LeBron was my favorite player growing up. Kevin Durant is changing basketball with the way he plays. I’m a fan of Kristaps Porzingis. I also love Kyrie Irving. Those are the people I watch the most.
Do you see the similarities in your game to Porzingis’ game? I know that is something a lot of people have said before.
BB: That’s the main reason I watch so much of him. I try to take pieces from his game. I take a little bit from his game and a little bit from KD, too. I try to watch a lot of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis. But yeah, I’d say Porzingis and I have a pretty similar game.
What do you see from your new teammate Nikola Jokic? That’s another non-traditional big man thriving right now.
BB: One thing I watch with him is he has a really high IQ. I watch a lot of his passing highlights. He has some of the best passing I’ve ever seen from any basketball player ever.
What are some goals you have for your time with the Nuggets in the future, whether immediate or longterm?
BB: We’re a pretty young team. Right now, I’m really looking forward to the season. If everything works out, we’ll all be together for a while. They were a great team last year and I think they are only going to get better. I want to get comfortable and hopefully play a lot of minutes. Then in the future, I want to win a championship – or a couple!
What kind of role do you see yourself playing on the court for the team moving forward?
BB: I went to Oregon because coach Dana Altman is a very high-IQ coach. He put me in situations I’d be in at the next level. For example, when I’d play the four, my game would be able to translate because of how tall as well as how versatile I am. I can dribble and shoot and pass pretty well. I think it’d be great to be on the court with Jokic. Either he finds me or I find him for looks. Either way, it’d be really fun running the floor with him.
What were some of the biggest highlights playing for Altman? I know you brought him to the NBA draft.
BB: He definitely helped me put my game together because he knew all of the different types of things I could do. He would always prepare me not just for college but for the NBA. He reminded me to be a pro every single day; he gave me so many tips on how to get there. He has coached a lot of NBA guys recently. He really helped prepare me for the future.
Speaking of the draft, tell me more about the Spider-themed outfit you wore that night in Brooklyn. What inspired the look?
BB: I’m friends with the rapper Young Thug. The brand, which is called Spider, hadn’t come out yet. But we wanted to do something together that would go viral. That was the plan and it definitely worked.
Oh, that’s super interesting. How did you become friends with Thugger?
BB: I’ve been friends with Thug for a long time, I met him through another one of my friends. I met him at the studio. He’s also into basketball. He knew who I was and we became kind of close. [Laughs] I’m honestly friends with a lot of rappers. I’m not like “close close” with too many others besides Quavo from Migos. But I’m cool with a lot of those people.
Honestly, Bol, that’s amazing. Any basketball arenas you are most looking forward to playing in? I know you played at Madison Square Garden during your college season.
BB: Oh, yeah, the game against Syracuse at MSG was probably the most fun basketball game I’ve ever played. I’m really excited to play at Staples Center, too. I know the environment there is crazy in Los Angeles. I’ve never played there but I’ve been to a few games there.
You are friends with a lot of basketball players like Shareef O’Neal and LaMelo Ball. Any prospects coming up in the next few years we should keep an eye on?
BB: Oh wow yeah. I’d say Joshua Christopher, who is a shooting guard at Mayfair in Los Angeles. He’s really good. I’m really glad Shareef is back and playing after his health scare. He is a smart kid and he’s going to do well at UCLA. His brother Shaqir O’Neal is good, too, he’s actually been growing a ton recently.