In the latest installment of the Sunday Sit Down, SI.com chats with Iowa State forward Georges Niang about his unconventional celebrity crush, LeBron vs. Kobe and more.
He’s one of the best all-around players in the Big 12, he scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds in Iowa State’s 79-59 win over West Virginia on Saturday and, according to himself, he's entertaining on and off the floor. Cyclones junior forward Georges Niang is our latest guest for the Sunday Sit Down.
SI.com: Just FYI, I’ve been told you have oodles of personality, so I’m expecting that to come out in this conversation.
Georges Niang: Oh, don’t worry. I’m pretty funny.
SI.com: O.K. then. Eight seconds left, game on the line—which current college basketball player do you want taking the big shot? You can’t pick a teammate.
SI.com: Who do you want defending the big shot? Again, can’t pick a teammate.
SI.com: Why is your team better than people think?
Niang: I think it’s because of the amount of freedom and passion we play with. All of our guys get along, play for each other and play the right way.
SI.com: What one weird thing do you keep in your backpack or basketball bag?
Niang: It’d probably be my dog tag. It’s a gift I was given that I don’t play with, but I keep it in my backpack when we go on the road to play.
SI.com: Who’s your favorite follow on Twitter?
Niang: This has to be appropriate, huh?
SI.com: Haha. Well, your choice. All about public perception.
Niang: I’ll say Bill Clinton.
SI.com: Who’s your celebrity crush?
Niang: I have two. One I’ve had for awhile is Shawn Johnson, the former Olympic gymnast who’s from Iowa. And my other one would be Niykee Heaton, she’s a singer.
SI.com: Shawn Johnson is an unconventional choice.
Niang: I’m a little different.
SI.com: What’s the best dunk you’ve done or seen live?
SI.com: Favorite March Madness memory?
SI.com: You’re an NBA GM with the first pick in the 2015 draft—who are you taking and why?
SI.com: In their primes, are you taking LeBron or Kobe?
Niang: Oh boy. I’m gonna have to go with LeBron. I didn’t understand basketball as much as I do now when I was watching Kobe in his prime. I do have a ton of respect for Kobe and what he does, but I think LeBron is doing it all and he’s really impressive to watch. We’re all witnesses to something great and something we may never see again.
SI.com: What’s the dumbest mistake you’ve ever made on a basketball court?
Niang: Hold on, let me ask some of my teammates. (Muffled sounds.) That is not true! O.K., the dumbest thing I’ve done is this year, we were at West Virginia, up one and there were 54 seconds left. Coach told us we had three timeouts. I was inbounding the ball and I leaned over to the ref to call timeout, and for some reason I saw a zero on the board that said we had no timeouts, so I threw the ball in and they stole it. (Editor’s note: Iowa State escaped with a 74-72 win.)
SI.com: What is Coach Hoiberg’s favorite phrase to yell in practice?
Niang: He makes this weird face where he sorta bites his lip, and I’ll just say he says “Pick it up!” but there’s obviously an expletive in that phrase.
SI.com: Which venue do you most want to play in?
Niang: Either the Carrier Dome or Rupp Arena.
SI.com: Who on your team would make the best coach someday and why?
Niang: Monte Morris, Matt Thomas or Naz Long. Naz because he’s always positive, Monte because he has a vast knowledge of the game and Matt because we all feel like he’s the next coming of Fred Hoiberg.
SI.com: Which teammate are you singing a karaoke duet with, and what’s your song of choice?
Niang: Probably Abdel Nader and the song of choice would probably be something from the Spice Girls.
SI.com: Oh wow, interesting. Do you have a personal favorite from their greatest hits album?
Niang: It goes like (starts singing) “Oh, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want …”
SI.com: And now my day is made.
Niang: Hey, I’m here for you.