Blazers’ CJ McCollum takes budding journalists behind the mic with CJ’s Press Pass

Blazers' CJ McCollum takes budding journalists behind the mic with CJ’s Press Pass
Blazers' CJ McCollum takes budding journalists behind the mic with CJ’s Press Pass(KPTV)
Updated: Mar. 18, 2018 at 7:50 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - The streaking Trail Blazers have rewritten their story this season and one of their stars has given an all-access pass to budding journalists in the Rose City.

CJ McCollum has grown quite a lot in his five seasons in Rip City, and one thing that has remained constant is his interest away from the court in the game of journalism.

From his annual interviews with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver for The Players’ Tribune to stepping behind the radio mic for his weekly radio show Friday nights on JAM’N 107.5, McCollum has been more than just a host to his “CJ’s Press Pass” kids.

“From day one to now, I am night and day. Night and day difference. I would like to say I was good but I don’t know. The first couple of shows were rough. Reps is key,” McCollum said.

You’ve got to get your shots up – for both CJ the DJ and the 18 kids from Portland Public schools, the Beaverton School District and the Portland Boys & Girls Club that took part in the third season of CJ’s Press Pass.

“It was insane,” said Lena Tinker, a freshman at Cleveland High School. “It’s just weird going from just hearing about it and seeing this player on the court, watching him, and then talking with him and being in there and broadcasting a radio show with him. It was a really cool experience.”

Tinker was the chosen one to guest host CJ’s weekly radio show, Playlist, on JAM’N 107.5.

“In a way, I was hoping not to win because I thought I was going to be stressed out going on the radio,” she said.

But there was no deadline stress for the 15-year-old who earned a signed jersey for her narrative style writing for the Press Pass program.

“I just felt like her piece resonated with me the most,” McCollum said. “I think she did a tremendous job, they were all great. Honestly, they were all unique and independent in their own ways.”

This is the third year of CJ assisting teens in Rip City to chase that journalism bug.

“He was sort of helping us figure out if we were interested in it at all, and I have been wondering if I should commit to this as a career because I am like, OK, you have to commit to this, you have to start getting things published. You have to start now,” Tinker said.

A journalism major at Lehigh University, McCollum found his gift of gab after taking public speaking while in high school back home in Canton, Ohio.

“I realized I like to talk a lot,” he said.

Talking sure seemed like a higher percentage shot than say, economics.

“When I studied for my first econ exam, that is when I developed the bug for journalism right away because I felt like that was a different world for me,” McCollum said.

Tinker said, “They told us it wasn’t all glamorous but I like all of it.”

It’s a glamour gig for sure.

“I think it is important that they get to see everything that goes on in to production and becoming a journalist so they can decide what they like and what they don’t like,” McCollum said. “As an athlete who plays in the NBA, I have a platform so I try to take advantage of it.”

Last month, the kids got an all-access pass on covering the Blazers and Warriors game.

You can tune in to CJ’s radio show, Playlist, with co-host Cool Nutz and Producer Geoff on Friday nights from 10 p.m. to midnight on JAM’N 107.5.