Isaiah Canaan: The best noodles are in China

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Isaiah Canaan traveled through half of the world to join UNICS. In the first interview he said where are the best noodles and what is another passion except basketball.

How long was your trip to Kazan?

It took me about two days to get here. I flew from Huston, Texas to Chicago. From Chicago to Istanbul, from Istanbul to Moscow and from Moscow to Kazan. So about two days travel.

So, you spent two days in airports?

We had 9 hours lay over in Istanbul. We walked around the airport, we had a good friend, we went to good restaurant, get some lunch. We found a nice aria and took a nap about 5-6 hours. It was long travel

Can you remember another long travel in your life like this one?

The first time I can remember then I got drafted to the Huston rockets. We took a flight to Philippines. That was about 15-16 hours flight. I took my last year flight to Schengen, Chine. It was very long travel as well. This is probably my third longest flight in my life.

I see you are ready for long flights.

Not ready for, but I was able to do it.

I would like to ask about China. I think it is unique experience, culture. What do you remember most from this travel?

Really I was amazed about how many people were in the city. They had a bunch Americana’s things, like they have some nice restaurants, they have some brand new malls, that were just built. In the city I really enjoyed these noodles. I really believe that China has best the best noodles on the planet. I really enjoyed food, people and aria because it is place where I’ve never been before. Never been on that side of the country. It was a great experience.

As much as I remember Chinese people don’t speak English much

Yeah, the language barrier was definitely tough, nobody can understand me, I had to use my translator in my phone to get my point across, for them to understand that I was saying.

Actually it was interesting my teammates had American’s names to make it easier. They had it easier for me to understand. They had kind of nicknames, it wasn’t real names, of course.

What about basketball in China?

Well, it is different. There are a lot Americans to score a lot of points. They ask Americans a lot to do. It is very physical league, a lot of score. It is very different from NBA, Europe. I look at euro basketball like very organized, everything is done in order and with a purpose. China is more who has best scoreres. It is more entertainment. Who can score a lot of points and put a show for the crowd.


Do you watch NBA play-off? Which teams do you support?

I have a lot of friends in NBA, I played 7 years in NBA.. How they doing things. They doing great job keeping everything organized, keeping everybody safe. They are going on their plan

I just support all my friends. They are still in play-off. They compete in high level and try to win championship. I’m trying to figure out how I can watch games from here in English. I pay attention to all my friends.

Who are they?

Some of my friends in the playoffs right now are Troy Daniels (Denver Nuggets) Jeremy Grant (Denver Nuggets) Rajon Rondo (Lakers) Jarad Dudley (Lakers) Dwight Howard (Lakers) Kuzma (Lakers) Jimmy Butler (Heat) Gordan Haywood (Celtics) Gabe Vicent (Heat) lol I’ve played 7yrs NBA so a lot of people know me.

Which team can win this unique season?*

The hardest team for me right now in play offs is Miami hits. They play on high level. I really think Clippers have a good chance to win the finals. But you never can’t count Lebron out as well. He is going always to have his team to play on high level.

*-the conversation was in the middle of conference semifinals

During your NBA career you played against Aleksey Shved. He is in Khimki now. And maybe Kirilenko. He is the head of the Russian basketball federation. Do you remember them?

I was teammates briefly with Aleksey Shved when I got drafted to the Houston Rockets my rookie year and played against him when he played for the Knicks... Kirilenko I think was finishing his career when I was joining the NBA but I do remember him being good shooter with Utah Jazz.

Also, you've played with Mike James who is CSKA now.

Yes I played a short time with Mike James when we both was on Phoenix Suns.

Do you have friends, who already play in Europe?

I have a lot of friends that play in Europe as well but they are spread all over.

What was most difficult for you when you recover from an injury?

The most difficult about me being injured was not being able to walk and play the game that I loved to play... it had me down for about 8/9 months but I’m very blessed to be able to come back from the injury better than before the injury!

What was the most important game of your career?

Most important games of my career was when I had my 1st, 2nd and 3rd career playoff start against the #1 seen Boston Celtics when I played in Chicago with Dwade, Jimmy Butler and Rajon Rondo.

It was important because playoffs are most important games of the year and we were playing the #1 seed and I was starting PG. another important game was in my career high game scoring vs the Oklahoma City Thunder (36 points).

Who was the toughest player to defense against?

Toughest player to guard has been Stephen Curry, lol.

How do you think we will play upcoming season, keeping in mind all this COVID – 19 situation?

It is going to be new dynamic. It might be not as many fans. So without the fans we have to create our own energy. We have to create that energy with team, we have to come here and compete, play on high level. Hopefully, the season go on, slowly but surely get more fans on the stands. Whole city Kazan come and support us. Couse we are looking forward this season. This year we have good guys. Veteran guys like Jamar Smith. He’s been here for four years. Coaches, all new guys like myself, Nate Wolters, John Holland, JB, Jordan Morgan. All new guys, bring them all together with some guys have been here before. We are really looking forward to go out there and doing big things.

When did you start to play basketball? How did you develop your shooting skill?

Started playing basketball at the age of 6. My Father helped me develop my shooting skills because he was a very good shooter.

I’ve seen on your Instagram one post, where you says “ I’m hyena since everyone is goat”. What do you mean?

I like that words, because everybody want to say that they are goat, everybody wants to say that they are the best. Hyenas eat goats. So everybody wants to be goat, I am bit different, I’m hyena, I try to do things that has never been done. I’m here for purpose, I want to leave my name, I want everybody remember me. In good fashion, as a good player. Good person. Someone come here to live on the line every night. I really like that since everybody want to be the best, I just want to make next step, I want to be a little bit better.

I like your Instagram. Does someone help you to run it? Is it important for you?

Being a professional athlete a lot of people love to follow you journey. And I love people who follow my journey and embrace my journey. I travel across the world, people don’t have those opportunities. So I try to use my social media to bring those opportunities to them. Let them see things that I might see before, let them experience things that I might experience before. I love ideas. Wherever I go I try to show them nice things that I vision. I love art. And if someone catch my eye like I said. It’s like recording movie. I try to let them to see what I see. Whatever I see they see, whatever I like I hope they like. Just embrace their journey. It is like to bring people along with me. So I use my social media to bring all my fans to show them things that I might see before.

All pictures on your Instagram are made by yourself?

Yes, I run it. Some written things I see cause I like it. That means a lot to me. I take a picture that I like and I put a coupe with it. Try bring it to life. Every coupe has a meaning behind it. If I can touch somebodies they have down if I can speech to live them up that is what I always try to do. Try to put a smile on somebody face.    

I would like to speak a little bit about your brand. When did you create it? How did you come up this idea?

When COVID happened, I had always a lot ideas, which I wanted to do outside basketball. I am professional basketball player, ceo of my own brand. So that says I’m manager, the head guy, ceo. I just want to brand myself a little bit better. Nobody knows me here. Everybody loves clothes, fashion. So the idea was try to produce the clothes line, athletic wear, also, if you want to wear it as everyday clothes you can.


Did you create by yourself this logo or someone helped you?

Yean, my little brother create the logo. I like to keep things in family. If I have an artist in my family, I give him my idea and try to let them draw it up. So my little brother create it, had a lot of friends, pitching. We came up with pretty cool logo.

Do people like it?

Yes, people support me from all over the world. I started it about three mouths. So I tried to get it out. Every time when I post it I make sure that my logo is there. And hopefully during the season slowly can get bunch more fans to go online, have website, where you can go and order. I have all sizes. I know it is cold in Kazan and I have hoodies, I have sweaters. So, whatever they need, they can go on website. Hopefully, one day we can be like amazon. And it get there in a couple days. When COVID going on it takes week or two to get everything here.

Do you like shopping, fancy clothes?

Well, I’m not really big just on fancy-fancy, I like nice things, but I like to keep it simple. I like to wear Nike things, I go to store to get some nice clothes, some designer things, like Balenciaga or Balmain, Off White. Those type of clothes to keep it simple. I don’t like to be flashy, I try to bland it.

What did you think when you receive an offer from Russia?

When I got a call about my agent ask me how felt about going to Russia. I said Russia??? I’ve never been there; I see things a lot on tv. I had no idea what to expect. So I came here I blinded. It is new journey, new experience. Let’s go see. when I got here I was surprised. It was not as bad I may have told personally. I thought it just cold, terrible. I know it gets cold, but the city is beautiful. I see a lot of good thing what I didn’t expect to see here. Really looking forward to learn about the city.

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The last question. What do you think about the team?

We have been work hard with this group of guys through the circumstances. But I don’t want to make any excuses. Coaches prepared us well. Guys work well individually and in the groups. Each day slowly but surely we get all chemistry together. We have bright future.