Zenit St. Petersburg newcomer Brandon Jennings shares why he chose Russia to continue his career, describes his tattoos, and promises to lead Zenit to victories in every competition.
– Zenit general director Alexander Tserkovny said that your contract negotiations were not easy. What was the biggest holdup?
– The negotiations weren’t very hard on me. I was in contact with the general director for about a week. He explained why I should come to Russia and said I could be the leader on the team. I just wanted to play basketball. I didn’t care where.
– You’ve said you struggled after your Achilles injury, including mentally, but eventually got back on track. Why did you decide to continue your career at Zenit?
– I’m just happy to get back to basketball. I had a very serious injury in 2015, after which I could have retired. Before the injury, there was a stretch when I averaged 20 points and eight assists, but then I went on to play my worst basketball in the NBA. Now I’m here and I’m very happy to be in Russia and playing for Zenit.
– What did you know about Russia before coming to Zenit?
– Honestly, almost nothing. I just remember Muhammad Ali’s photos in Russia.
Russia scares. People on buses look as if they were being taken to the electric chair, Muhammad Ali 1978 pic.twitter.com/12UcdYpPvS
— Time Machine (@oldsnapshot) June 4, 2016
– You set a record in your rookie season in the NBA when you scored 55 points against Golden State. Are you ready to set more records in Russia or are you not worried about stats?
– I don’t think about records. That game was 10 years ago. It was one of the best moments of my career. But now I’m thinking about Zenit, how to be a useful playmaker for my teammates and how to help my team win.
– You listed your favorite basketball players and put LeBron James 8th. Did he drop a few more spots after signing with the Lakers?
– In my opinion, LeBron James is the best player in NBA history. He has everything: leadership qualities, a love for the game, incredible feats on and off the court and unbelievable character.
— Dime on UPROXX (@DimeUPROXX) February 3, 2015
– But you criticized him for switching teams so often…
– That’s how the game is today. Players switch teams a lot. There was some loyalty in the 90s, but not anymore. Everyone wants to be on the market and get more money.
– You probably know that Patrick Beverly went to the NBA from Russia. What other players with VTB United League connections do you know?
– I’m close to Dorrell Wright. We play each other twice this season and I already told him I’m going to beat him twice.
– Do you know about the VTB United League’s All-Star Game and the Russian Stars vs. World Stars format? Are you ready to beat the Russian team?
– I’m sure the All-Star Game will be great, but it’s an exhibition game. But I’ll still try to help my team to win. I like winning.
– Have you already learned any Russian?
– Not yet. I don’t know anything. Today is my first day in Russia. I hope I’ll have time to learn a little.
– You’re from Compton, LA, one of the most dangerous places in the world. What was your worst experience as a kid?
– When I was three, we drove through Compton during the riots. That was a horrible time.
– You have your own brand of clothing. Tell us more about it.
– It’s called Colorblind. I’m partners with J.R. Smith and Chris Brickley. Everyone who follows me on Instagram (@brandonjennings) knows about our brand and new offerings. I also recently started the Tuff Crowd clothing brand, which will be on sale soon. You can find out the details–when and how to buy–on my Instagram. Don’t miss out!
Color blind fashion show pop up presented by Hypebeast
57 Bond st
Sept 5th 8-11pm pic.twitter.com/0ud71KEMyN
— Brandon Jennings (@brandonjennings) September 2, 2018
– You have a lot of tattoos. What do they mean to you?
– The tattoos on my body are my life in pictures. I have images of people close to me and a lot of female artists. For example, Whitney Houston, Sade, Vanity, Lauryn Hill and others. I love music. It’s my second passion after basketball. I also love the old school stuff, which is why I have a Tupac Shakur tattoo too.
– What’s your favorite Tupac Shakur song?
– Probably his entire album, All Eyez On Me.
– Could you say something to the Zenit fans before the start of the season?
– I’m Brandon Jennings and really happy to be in Russia. We’re going to play tough and compete for championships in every competition this season. Buy your tickets and get ready for a show. I guarantee it!