PORTLAND, Ore. — Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has garnered a fair amount of attention this offseason for his interactions on social media with Warriors star Kevin Durant and a fan named Jennifer.
In July, Warriors star Kevin Durant appeared on McCollum's podcast. The two went back and forth, arguing about McCollum's place in the league, the Blazers' non-contender status, and whether stars like Durant and DeMarcus Cousins should join up with a super team like the Warriors.
After the podcast aired, the debate spilled over onto social media with the two exchanging some fiery tweets (warning, the tweets below contain some strong language).
McCollum again questioned the validity of super teams during an interview on Chinese network CCTV. After the clip was published on August 15, it prompted some social media pushback.
After a Twitter user named Jennifer Williams tweeted at McCollum to "win a playoff game then talk," McCollum responded with, "Im trying Jennifer."
To be fair, McCollum has won a playoff game. He's played in seven playoff victories, in fact. Regardless, McCollum's reaction sparked an army of memes and an #ImTryingJennifer hashtag. The name Jennifer even trended in Portland for a bit.
On Monday, McCollum spent a few minutes answering questions from the media about the offseason and social media. McCollum downplayed the encounter with Durant and said he thought the reaction to his "I'm trying Jennifer" comment on Twitter was funny.
Here's a transcript of McCollum's answers:
On his social media "battle" with Durant
No battle. It’s pure entertainment, man. That’s my homey. I’m happy for all the success he’s had. Wish him nothing but the best. They have a very, very good team. A special team. I was just having some fun. I expressed myself. When I think something, I say it. But other than that, there’s no animosity or way or beef or anything like that. That’s my homey.
On his "I'm trying Jennifer" tweet
I think the craziest thing about that is I didn't put a comma after "I’m trying," so it was some terrible sentence structure. Overall, I thought it was hilarious. The reaction to it was funny. It was genuine. We’re trying. We are trying. As an individual you do all you can, to prepare, to get better, to learn, to put yourself in a position to be as successful as possible. That’s how I’ve always been.
On wanting to bring a championship to a city like Portland
I pride myself on work ethic, working hard, trying to be as loyal as you can to the game, to the situation, to where you’re at and who has helped get you there. That’s how I’ve always been. Nothing has ever come easy to me. Going to a small school, being small, being underrated, having to prove myself constantly. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I think you take pride in having to work for everything. Going through tough losses, going through tough stretches, makes you a better person.
On how he feels about playing in Portland
I love it. I’m happy. Bought a house, could buy another one. Continue to try to build not only on the basketball court but in the community.
On his love of journalism
I really enjoy it. Being a journalism major from Lehigh has allowed me to experience different things with media, interacting with media, figuring out how to answer questions and how to ask them as well with my podcast I currently have airing. When I retire, I’ll definitely enter that realm. Not sure what I’ll do exactly but I'm just trying to figure out how to make myself more versatile, how to learn more about being on camera, being behind the camera, being on radio, being on TV, those different types of things to prepare me for my future life.
On whether he'll stick with social media
I’m going to be myself man. Season’s about to start. Everyone’s focus is increasing, you lock it in, get ready for a long grind. At the same time, life is beautiful. Gotta enjoy it. I’ve always been one to speak what I believe.
On the quality of the Western Conference
It’s been tough historically, especially the last few years that I’ve been in the league. Lot of great teams, lot of great players, lot of movement. It will be interesting to see how things stack up. But we’ll be ready to go.
On the Blazers rookies
Checked them out at summer league. Heard how they did at [Tim Grgurich’s] camp. Anfernee [Simons] was actually in New York recently playing with [Chris Brickley], who I work with, and a lot of lottery picks (see videos below). They’re explosive, athletic. Gary Trent’s got a good body. NBA pedigree with his dad playing. They’ll be able to help out. The future will be bright for them.
@blackops.basketball pro run‼️ @carmeloanthony @traeyoung @timmyjr10 @milesbridges @illwil21 @therealmobamba @stephensonlance @antsimons @eneskanter11 @zaaay_ @teamgbmsfamily @hami.diallo @jellyfam_dimes @chrissmith500 📸 @harrington1313 ➡️ @mike__atkinson_ ➡️ @wave.tv
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@blackops.basketball pro run‼️ Rookie Edition‼️ @traeyoung @therealmobamba @milesbridges @antsimons @hami.diallo @zaaay_ ➡️ @carmeloanthony @timmyjr10 @illwil21 @stephensonlance @eneskanter11 @teamgbmsfamily @chrissmith500 @jellyfam_dimes 📸 @harrington1313 ➡️ @mike__atkinson_ ➡️ @wave.tv
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On the season opener against the Lakers and LeBron James
Take it one game at a time. Get through the rest of the summer, get through the preseason. I’m sure it will be rocking. Fans will be out in full force. I’m sure a lot of closet Lakers fans will be coming out, too.