*The interview printed below is from Dime #68. You can check it out in its entirety in the new issue, on newsstands now.*
We wouldn’t be mad if you couldn’t pick Aaron Gray out of a lineup. Even if you saw him in a mall, he might be just another huge dude. Yes, Gray is big, like Shaq big. He’s 7-0, 270 pounds and by the end of last season in New Orleans, he was finally getting a chance to use that muscle. After averaging 3.1 points and 4.1 rebounds during the regular season, Gray played a key role with the Hornets and their near upset of the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. Now in Toronto, his career hasn’t seen a ton of on-court action, but one thing Gray is really experienced with is the outdoors. You might’ve heard, but the lockout shut off the NBA last summer. Luckily for Gray, he knew what to do with his free time.
*** *** ***
Dime: What type of stuff do you like to get into off the court?
Aaron Gray: I’m a huge outdoor guy. I recently bought a house on a lake near my parents down in Texas. I’m not like a hunter, but I love to be on a boat. I’m a big fisher and love doing anything outdoors, man. I’m not a big sit-inside-and-watch-TV guy. I feel like I do that all season because you are either tired or just resting up or you’ve spent so much time inside. In the summertime, it’s so nice just to get outdoors.
Dime: Did you do a lot of that stuff when you were in New Orleans?
AG: Oh yeah. Absolutely. We took everyone down to go on gator tours and then spent an afternoon on the bayou. There are some really cool people. They have some really cool places there, swamp areas, but there is some good lake fishing and rivers. Obviously, you can go down and get on the gulfs and start cleaning up. There’s definitely water.
Dime: What do you like most about fishing?
AG: I just enjoy the water, man, and just hanging out. I can have a great time fishing and not even catch a fish. (laughs) It’s nothing serious, but it’s something I enjoy.
Dime: What was the biggest fish or most exciting catch you’ve ever had?
AG: Man, we went down to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico over All-Star break. It was like two years ago with some extended family, and we went deep-sea fishing. Puerto Vallarta is on the Pacific side of Mexico, and I caught, it was like an 85-pound tuna. Man, it was unbelievable.
Dime: How long did it take you to reel it in?
AG: (laughs) It took about 45 minutes. About 45 minutes, but it was a lot of fun. It was one of those things where the waves are about six or seven feet. You’re on this huge boat, and I’m reeling in the fish with nobody to help because they are all throwing up.
Dime: Do you love to eat fish?
AG: Aw man, I’m a huge protein guy man. I like steak. I like chicken. I like fish. I like prime rib. I’m a big carnivore. Anywhere that can put a big piece of steak on the table, I am pretty happy with.
Would you watch if there was an outdoorsman contest amongst NBA players?
Follow Sean on Twitter at @SEANesweeney.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.