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Kai Jones
Kai Jones
Position: F
Born: 01/19/01
Height: 6-11 / 2.11
Weight:212 lbs. / 96.2 kg.
Salary: $2,770,560
His tantalizing potential was on display for everyone to see exactly why GM Mitch Kupchak had a deal in place to acquire a second first-round pick to select him in last month’s draft. And Jones isn’t taking the Hornets’ faith in him lightly. “It just lets me know that they believe in me,” Jones said, “and they want me to do better, and they want me to be a really good player. They believe in my talent. They wanted me to be here. They see what I can become, so I feel like the are invested in me.”
Jonathan M. Alexander: What inspired your decision to wear No. 23, and on a team owned by Michael Jordan himself? Kai Jones: “It’s a legendary number and I feel like Michael Jordan had a huge impact on the way I played the game. Especially over the pandemic. That’s when I really decided to take my game to another level. I tried to get 22, but another player had it. And No. 13 was retired. So I said ‘why not 23?’ Might as well. And I felt like I looked good in it, too. Jonathan M. Alexander: Did you talk to Michael Jordan about it? Kai Jones: No, but when I was deciding on it, (the Hornets) spoke to him and cleared it with him too. I also felt it was a great way to honor him. Trying to be the best you can possibly be. It’s a reminder that — I feel like Jordan maxed out in the league.
Jonathan M. Alexander: I saw something in your game that I didn’t see much of at Texas, and that was your ability to push the ball up court. Who were some guys you modeled yourself after? Kai Jones: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant. Those are guys I watched. They’re both big and they are all-around players. They can shoot, dribble and pass. Giannis doesn’t really shoot as much as KD. But I feel like they have similar body types. I’m just trying to pick up on their cadences and how they play the game.
“Not being able to showcase the Rookie of the Year in LaMelo Ball to our community was unfortunate,” Whitfield said, referring to Spectrum Center being empty for half the season and then operating at reduced capacity. Because of those circumstances, fans are eager to return to the arena and see Ball and the Hornets play, he added. Draft picks James Bouknight and Kai Jones have also stirred interest, Whitfield said.