Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s force in the middle and the player widely thought of to be the NBA draft’s future #1 pick, has an eccentric side that includes a deep knowledge about Big Foot, a love for the Discovery Channel and an admitted belief in mermaids.
Okafor is obsessed with Netflix. He keeps a teenager’s diet of action movies and soapy television series, but his secret soft spot is for documentaries about odd phenomena—the weirder, the better. Okafor is well-versed in the legend of Bigfoot, for example. He also likes mermaids.
“That’s always been my interest,” Okafor said. “Things of the unknown.”
What he likes to do instead—when he’s not playing basketball, of course—is watch television by himself. He has a taste for the mythical. Okafor has tipped multiple people off to a Discovery Channel special that promised new evidence that mermaids are real.
“I tried to tell them,” he said. “They wouldn’t listen.”
He was doing this in high school, too. Okafor once raved to his coach about a Bigfoot documentary he had just devoured. “He tried to get me to watch that,” said Tyrone Slaughter. “I was like: I’m not watching that.”
His college teammates now know who to ask if they ever need a movie recommendation. Okafor even found a kindred spirit in his roommate Tyus Jones, who joined him for a documentary about monster snakes, though he struggled to remember the exact names of Okafor’s favorite films. “A lot of them are just about nature,” Jones said.
Jones added: “He’d be a good person to talk to during Shark Week. That’s the kind of stuff he’s really into. And I’m a pretty big fan of Shark Week, too.”
I find this refreshing and love the fact that Okafor isn’t afraid to admit to a “geekier” side. Now, the mermaid thing I’m going to have to question.