LeVonn Jordan is a 6-5 athletic forward/guard with an incredible wingspan and many skills and abilities. He led Elon University his senior year (2006/2007) in virtually every category and now, after a couple of seasons in Spain and Japan, is a valuable piece of Austrian powerhouse Kapfenberg Bulls' roster (ABL Austrian Bundesliga). LeVonn talked to Basketball Telegraph columnist Dr FingerRoll about his career so far and the future.
LeVonn, you were born and raised in a State, North Carolina, where your family name has a special meaning. Was MJ your basketball role model while growing up? And who were the other players you looked up to back in the days?
Yeah I was very big MJ fan during the Bulls 1st 3peat, but after he retired for the 1st time I didn’t fully understand the circumstances around his retirement so I fell out of favor with him, I became a fan of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp. But as I got older Jordan still remained my favorite player.
Speaking about your early years as a baller, tell our readers how and when you fell in love with the game.
My mom tells me I’ve always had a love for basketball, which probably came from her because she played in High School and College before having to stop due to reoccurring knee injuries. As a little kid I always had baskets in the house both upstairs and downstairs, I would always watch games and try to do what I saw on tv.
When did you first realize that basketball was going to be more than just a game for you?
I would say leaving middle school and entering high school, it was just something about the game of basketball I couldn’t resist and I wanted to take it further than anybody expected me to.
After Elon University in NC what were your expectations? And can you tell us how did you end up playing in Spain for La Rioja, your first experience overseas? Was it a tough decision to make? Were there other opportunities and what made you decide for Spain?
Of course most players that play on the collegiate level have ambitions of playing in the NBA, myself included, but I always knew if I wasn’t able to make it to the League I’d play overseas. I made the transition from Elon to Spain with the help of an agent, who I signed with after I graduated from college. The decision to go to Spain wasn’t tough, but the experience of being that far from home was tough. The 1st offer I received was from a Spanish club and I didn’t hesitate in accepting.
Was it difficult to adapt from College ball to European style of play and can you tell us the aspects, both on and off the court, that you had to adapt to?
Yes it was a struggle adapting to the European style of play and culture. Looking back I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be, with that said I struggled on and off the court. It was very hard to focus on basketball because I spent so much time and energy missing home.
After the year in Spain you played in Japan in the BJ-League and this year you're playing in Austria. It's like two different worlds. Again, can you make a comparison between Japanese basketball and European one and which is the one that fits your style of play the most and why?
Yeah two very different styles of play, in Japan its more of a up and down game, as opposed to here in Europe where you see more half court offense. I’ve always been a good player in the open court so the Japanese style of play suited me, but as I’ve gotten older my game has grown and I’m becoming a more well rounded player. So my 1st year out in Spain I really struggled because I rarely got out in transition and wasn’t able to be effective in the half court.
At 25 you are still learning the game or do you feel you're ready to take your game to the next level?
I think I’m very close to showing a lot people how well I can play, I actually sat out all last year. That was a good and bad thing because I hated not playing but I had a year to prepare myself to comeback stronger than ever. But I think within the next couple of years I’ll be playing at a very high level.
Tell us a bit about yourself, who's LeVonn Jordan off the court? What do you do during the season in places like Japan or Austria and how's your summer like when you're at home.
I’m pretty low key off the court, while im overseas I usually just play xbox, watch movies, and talk too family and friends on skype. When we have off days I usually try to get out and explore, just viewing the culture and scenery. Summers are usually hectic because you're gone for so long you wanna get as much as possible done before it's time to head back cross the water. So I try to spend time with my mom and grandmother and just enjoying being home.
Thank you so much, LeVonn and best of luck for you and your season with the Bulls!