Skip to main content

Behind the Body: Orlando Magic Forward Aaron Gordon

Not many college freshmen are 6-9 and have the explosiveness to jump above the rim, the skills to sink the shot, and the poise to describe how the play made him feel afterward. But top NBA draft prospect Aaron Gordon has it all—the brains and the brawn. Now, he also has a contract with the Magic, which chose the former Arizona forward as the fourth overall pick at Barclays Center last week. “It wasn’t so much of a surprise because I feel like it’s a great fit for me,” the 18-year-old Gordon said the day after the draft. “I had a good workout when I was in Orlando, and I really connected with [general manager] Rob Hennigan and Coach Vaughn. It’s good basketball.”

One of the first things Gordon will do in Orlando? Start working on his diet, says the former Archbishop Mitty High star. With 3 percent body fat, Gordon says he has trouble keeping on weight, even if it means a permanent eight-pack. “I constantly have abs,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what I eat or do, I have abs.” To learn which unusual workout he does to tone his abs, along with the rest of the muscles in his body, keep reading.




18 years old


225 lbs.

Training grounds: Orlando and San Jose or Santa Barbara

Nickname: A.G.

Body fat: 3 percent

Hours spent training per day: Up to five

Days spent training per week: Six. “On the seventh day, it’ll just be like free throws or jumpers.”

Hours spent in the weight room per week: Three

Go-to workout: Supersets in the weight room. “Deadlifts, pull-ups, bench press, and Pilates or abs—it’s a little bit of everything. Anything I feel like I need to do.”

Secret workout: Underwater pool walking. “I get a giant kettlebell, pick it up, and walk across the bottom of a 12-foot pool. That’s what I’m going to be doing [the Saturday after the draft]. It helps with mental toughness and overall body strength.”

SI Recommends

Biggest physical challenge: Tightness. “I’m so tight in my joints, shoulders, hips, and ankles. It keeps me explosive, but at the same time, I could probably be more explosive if I had more give in my ankles and hips.”

Behind the Body: Boston Celtics Guard Marcus Smart

Best recovery tip: Cryotherapy (cold-temperature immersion). “It’s amazing for my body. And then I’ll drink a gallon a water, try to eat right away, and I’ll foam-roll if I feel like I need to.”

Calories consumed per day:“I don’t know. I still have to work on my diet. My diet will definitely improve when I get my apartment [in Orlando].”

Pre-game meal: Pasta with shrimp, chicken, and a Caesar salad. “It’s got carbs and a little protein, and the Caesar salad helps expand my stomach so I’m not so hungry during the game.”

Typical recovery meal: Anything with protein. “I’ll make eggs with sausage or go to Chipotle. And I’ll definitely have a protein shake, too.”

Celebration meal:“After the draft, I had a steak with mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, calamari, shrimp, sweet potatoes … Oh, yeah, and crab legs. I love food. All kinds of food.”

Biggest dietary vice: Anything with sugar. “I have a ridiculous sweet tooth. Chocolate, candy, cake, ice cream, cookies, M&Ms—if it has sugar in it, I love it.”

What he was thinking while waiting for his name to be called at the draft:“I’m pretty sure I had an empty mind. I think it was anxiety. And I didn’t quite know what I was thinking.”

On playing for the Magic: “I couldn’t think ofa  better spot to be in. It’s a great young team with a lot of talent and competitiveness. It’s an honor to be drafted so high and have my dream come true.”

On moving to Florida: “I’ve been on the West Coast my entire life, so to get the Florida and be in an East Coast state with tropical weather will be nice.”

What he thinks about his newfound fame: “I played basketball my whole life, and I’m going to continue to play basketball. I’m going to try my hardest not to change at all. One of my goals is to stay the same person I was at 17 or 18 when I’m 45—just a little wiser.”