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NBA Players Reveal Unexpected Friends Outside of Basketball

NBA players share who they are (unexpectedly) friends with outside of basketball.

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Professional athletes often have the opportunities to expand their social circles beyond their sport. From charity functions, to sponsor events, to mutual connections, they can find themselves meeting others from different industries and job fields.

These NBA players revealed who they are friends with outside of basketball that may come as a surprise.

Samuel Dalembert
“Donald Trump. I met him through a mutual friend. He introduced me to him four or five years ago when I was in Philly. Me and him are cool. I get to sit down with other big time real estate guys at a table through him. I asked them some questions and they ask, ‘What else do you do besides basketball?’ I said, ‘Real estate. I love real estate.’ They said, ‘Real estate is a slow walk to wealth.’ I saw him not long ago when he came to a game at Madison Square Garden. He’s a big sports fan. I call him Mr. Donald. He does an event in West Palm twice a year. I always go every year. I never thought I would know him growing up, especially him and some other big time people worth two, three billion dollars.”

Damian Lillard
“I’m cool with Juvenile, the rapper. That’s my favorite rapper. He came out and supported one of my #4BarFridays at All-Star Weekend two years ago in New Orleans. Him and Mannie Fresh helped host it. He’s from New Orleans. From that point on, we’ve just been communicating. I’ve bumped into him in L.A. a couple times. It was kind of crazy. When I was in middle school, all the music in my area, everybody loved the Hot Boys. I was always a Juvenile fan.”

Jose Calderon
“Rafael Nadal. We work together a lot because we are both partners with KIA. We’ve been friends four or five years now. He’s a great guy, down to earth. In the summer we always see each other a couple of times. We talk on Twitter sometimes; I say congrats whenever he is playing. When were in Miami he was there doing the ATP and we met in the hotel lobby before the game. I think when you meet a guy like that, we’re both sports guys in the same situations, the pressure is there, a lot of people are around always. Even for him, it’s tougher when you’re by yourself because he’s not on a team. In the last event for KIA I was playing tennis with him and he was playing basketball with me. I think he was maybe better at basketball than I was at tennis.”

Devin Harris
“Seth Green. We met probably about eight years ago at a dinner with a mutual friend. We had a really good time and have been friends ever since, I still talk to him pretty regularly. He’s an actor from Hollywood — he has a lot of different personalities, it just depends on the day. I like the story teller (personality). Any time he tells a story it’s really detailed and he makes you feel like you’re there. I like his stories about his work, he has like nine different jobs.”

Jason Maxiell
“I’m semi-friends with Prince’s saxophone player. My neighbor is a motivational speaker, Johnny Wimbrey, he’s known all over the world. Johnny happened to introduce me to him. I’ve known him about a year now. He’s a cool guy. We were at a nightclub, they brought him on stage and he played. He played at my friend’s birthday party too. He doesn’t talk about Prince. (It’s fun being friends with a creative person because) they think outside the box, they do different kind of stuff. The way he dresses is his own type of style. It’s just him, there’s no type of trying to one-up anybody. We just have a good time.”

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Caron Butler: “He had the guy from ‘Walking Dead’ going crazy over him. He was asking about Pope.”
Caldwell-Pope: “I met [Steven Yeun] at the hotel in Atlanta when we were there. He’s a nice dude, I met him through Andre (Drummond). We introduced each other and exchanged contacts. We talk about mainly just basketball. I ask him how he’s doing on the show sometime. He’s a new friend. It’s good to have people outside of basketball notice you for what you do, and then me notice them for what they do.”

Dorell Wright
“Omarion is my wife’s best friend and he is a close family friend. My wife used to be in a group, Before Dark, and he used to be a backup dancer. I’ve known him eight years. Everybody [in the R&B group B2K] went their separate ways around that time. My wife is a musician so I know a lot of different people. YG is also a close friend of mine. I’m from L.A. so I know a lot of people that grew up with me.”

Shane Larkin
“I know Dee Gordon, the second baseman for the Miami Marlins. His younger brother went to school with my sister. My dad (former baseball player Barry Larkin) trained Dee in the summers. Our families know each other well enough to put me and Dee together. Baseball is a different lifestyle. Basketball is more about high fashion, doing a whole bunch of different stuff. Baseball is more laid back, chill, they play 162 games. I’m also cool with Tank, the R&B artist. I met him in Miami a while ago. We exchange texts every once in a while. Whenever we’re in the same city we’ll see each other.”

Jessica Camerato is a bilingual reporter who has been covering the NBA since 2006. She has also covered MLB, NHL and MLS. A graduate of Quinnipiac University, Jessica is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association and the Association for Women in Sports Media.

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