Prior to being drafted fifth overall in the 2017 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings, De’Aaron Fox signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike.
If Fox was your typical lottery pick, that would likely be the last deal he’d ink before signing on the dotted line with an NBA team. But De’Aaron Fox is a gamer, quite literally, on and off the basketball court.
His next move was inking a sponsorship deal with HyperX, a gaming headset company that’s helping him build a custom game room in his new crib in Sacramento, where he’s going to live stream his favorite games – Call of Duty, Need for Speed and Dragon Ball – among them, on Twitch.
Nike even sent him a pair of custom-made Dragon Ball Z-themed shoes. Look for them when he’s coming off the bench behind George Hill, the veteran among a group of young guns headlined by Fox.
“It felt good,” he says, of his NBA debut, a victory against the San Antonio Spurs. “I know it’s just the preseason, but this is my dream, and it felt good to finally live it out.” Fox went 7-of-8 from the field and scored 16 points. Rolling Stone caught up with Fox – equal parts accounting whiz and fast-food provocateur – after the game.
What was the first thing you bought when you signed your contract?
I don’t know, I don’t make huge purchases. I guess you could say a car. I needed a car out here, so that’d probably be the first. I got a Tesla.
Was it because you just like the Tesla or was it an environmentally conscious decision?
No. Well, all I know is I’ll die before this earth is uninhabitable, so it isn’t about about the environment. [Laughs]
You’re from New Orleans, which was struck by Hurricane Katrina. And then you move to Houston and Hurricane Harvey hits. What’s it like to see the place you live be hit like that two times now?
When Katrina happened, I actually wasn’t living there anymore. It was a little bit different. In Houston, I know people who have had their house flooded, so it’s affected me more with than it did with Katrina.
What’s happening with them?
They’re all fine. A few of them I know, they stayed in a hotel, but they’ve been able to go back home now.. There’s still a few streets flooded but nothing too serious right now for the people that I know.
I saw that you and your teammate, Justin Jackson, are setting up a charity tournament for victims. Any progress on that front?
There’s no time table for that just yet because you have to go through the NBA. They have to sanction everything, so it’ll probably be after the season, just because it’s such a long process.
What’s your biggest goal going into the season?
For myself, just being able to effect the game in every way I can, as a rookie.
Do you think you can win Rookie of the Year?
Of course I do. If you don’t, you just don’t have confidence in yourself.
Do you think you’re the best point guard in the draft?
How do you think LaVar Ball feels about that? Do you still want to shut him up?
[Laughs] …That’s got nothing to do with me.
Plenty of people like to play video games, but you’re really into it. When did you realize it was more than a hobby?
Honestly, it takes me away from basketball and you don’t have to think too much while you do it, so that’s one thing. It’s always just been fun for me. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s an escape – just because I have fun with it – but it keeps me busy. It’s something to do.
Who’s your favorite player to play with in NBA 2K18?
Myself, right now.
With that 77 rating?
Yep. I’ve had triple doubles, 40-pieces. As long as I know how to play with him, that’s alright.
Is it a life-like comparison to how you play?
Yeah. It’s pretty close to the way I play. No video game will ever be perfect, as far as sports, just because you can’t just put someone in the game and expect them to do it all, but it’s pretty good.
What ranking do you think you should get next season?
I’m not sure. Just all depends on how I play this season. I’m hoping I can be, like, an 85, if I play well.
You were taking some classes over the summer. Do you plan on graduating?
I do plan on graduating at some time. No time table for that of course because I’m so busy but I do want to get my degree. When I went to college, I kinda knew I was only going to be there for a year, so I didn’t pick a major, but coming out of high school, if basketball wasn’t an option, I probably would have majored in business. But as of right now, I don’t know, because things can always change. I’m just better with numbers and math. I took accounting in high school. That’s why I probably would have majored in business.
I heard you’re really into breakfast food. Have you found your favorite brunch spot in Sacramento yet?
Yeah, but I can’t tell you because then people are going to meet me there. All I gotta say, you can tell everybody that lives in the state of California this: In-N-Out is not good.
What’s your beef with In-N-Out Burger?
Their burgers are overrated. They’re OK.
Even Animal Style?
Yes. People always say, you haven’t tried this. You haven’t tried that. I’m like, “Yeah, I looked up the secret menu. I’ve tried it all. It’s just not good.”
That’s controversial. What’s the best fast food spot then?
Honestly, for me, I don’t count Chick-fil-A, because it’s way too good to be considered fast food. So I’m gonna say Wendy’s. Fat Burger in L.A. is better than In-N-Out. My fans know I keep it real. I’ve told so many people I hate In-N-Out, it’s funny. Now everyone can read about it.