[Photo by Hype Harrison]
JP Macura is the kind of professional athlete we can relate to.
If it weren't for his 6-foot-5 frame, you’d probably never know he was a professional basketball player. Off the court, JP is an easygoing guy who spends his free time playing video games and practicing yoga. He even unabashedly and unironically wears Crocs.
But on the court, he's a fierce competitor who's known for getting under opponents' skin. His blue-collar work ethic has carried him all the way to the NBA. He's currently on a two-way contract with the Charlotte Hornets and their G League affiliate the Greensboro Swarm. In college, he starred at Xavier where he led the Musketeers to four NCAA Tournament berths, including two Sweet Sixteen appearances and one trip to the Elite Eight.
Myles CEO, Adam Sidney, recently talked with JP about how to stay focused on a goal, training tips, and what it’s like to get the middle finger from dozens of people at once.
Adam: A lot of people have this goal (to make the NBA). I wanted to play for the Trailblazers when I was a kid. The dream died early on when my coach said, “You may be small, but you sure are slow!" I got the message. Did you have to overcome a lot of naysayers? Or was it always more realistic because you’re 6-foot-5?
JP: Yeah, I think every player has to deal with people that don’t believe in you, regardless of your size. For me, I was never super tall when I was growing up, and I was skinny. It wasn’t until I got to high school and everyone else stopped growing, and I kept growing to around 6-foot-5. But I think the style of basketball I play—being extremely competitive with a chip on my shoulder—is based on those people who never believed in me, combined with me believing in myself. Whether it was when I was a kid or right now, I still have people that don’t believe in me, and it’s up to me to prove them wrong.
What was it like to play in the NCAA Tournament? Was it a lifelong dream? What would you say to players that are experiencing their first March Madness?
It was always a life-long dream of mine! I think it’s a dream of any youth basketball player. March Madness has always been fun for me, and the month of March always stood for playoffs and postseason. So, when I saw “Xavier” in the tournament and I was able to step on the court for the first time, it was very surreal.
I would tell all players who are playing in the tournament for their first time to just enjoy the experience. Obviously, you have to focus on the game in front of you, but it’s one of those opportunities that might only come around once in your entire life. It will forever be one of the most memorable experiences for me.
Talk to me about this amazing photo where you are walking off the court against Wisconsin in front of no fewer than 25 middle fingers pointed in your direction. What did that feel like? Exhilarating? Intimidating? Honestly, it’s such an incredible photo. I’d probably frame that and put it in my living room, if I were you.
That’s probably my favorite photo from my time at Xavier, for sure. The atmosphere in Wisconsin is crazy. Their fan section from the moment we walked in were throwing some fun four-letter words my direction, and a crowd like that fires me up even more. When I knew we had the game won, I had to get back at the fan section somehow after such a high energy and emotional game. I picked the gator chomp (Wisconsin had lost to Florida the previous year in the Sweet Sixteen) and in return a received a few birds! We still got the W though.
I see you're a huge Crocs fan. To be honest, as someone leading a fashion-apparel brand, this gave me pause. But, I do think the best style is whatever makes people feel comfortable and confident. What’s the story with Crocs? Do you take heat from your friends or teammates about it? I heard actually you’ve converted a few folks to the cause.
For sure! I love Crocs. Right away some guys on the team made fun of me and I definitely have heard my fair share of, “What are those?”. But they’re so comfortable. And yeah, when I finally got some of the guys to try them on they ended up buying a few pairs themselves!
I’ve been wearing them since high school and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon. It was pretty cool, they actually noticed and sent me a care package of products a few weeks ago.
Talk to me about Myles. You’ve got some of our Everyday Shorts, the Weekend Joggers, a Momentum Tee, and an Everyday Hoodie, right? What do you like about the brand? What got you excited about our stuff? What's your favorite item?
Similar to why I like Crocs, when I was introduced to the Myles brand and clothing, it was simple and different. The clothing is something I can wear to work out or to throw on and run to the store. To me, I like clothing that fits my everyday lifestyle where I don’t have to think about it too much, but I’m confident when I put it on that it’s comfortable and durable and looks cool. I’d say my favorite product that I have are the Everyday Shorts.
Are you mostly working out in it or lounging around? We design this stuff “for all the miles you do.” So, I like to say that's true whether it's 0 miles or 100.
I love that motto. Right now, I am mostly wearing the product for lounging around, running to get food, etc. Like I said, the reason I like the products so much are they’re comfortable and sleek. I’m sure in the offseason I will use more Myles products to workout.
[Photo by Hype Harrison]
What kind of cross training do you do in the offseason? And how does your exercise routine change during the season? I’d guess less weightlifting, more flexibility and quickness management, right? What are your favorite exercises? What do you think has changed your body or performance the most, for the better?
Yes, you’re right. During the season it’s more about recovery and keeping my body healthy. I do a lot of work in the training room with our training staff. In the offseason, it’s more about gaining the right type of strength, and for me personally, working on my quickness and agility.
Most people don’t know, but I’m a big yoga guy and I do yoga during the season and during the offseason. I’d say that’s my favorite form of exercise, too. It’s an underrated thing to do as an athlete, but it’s changed the way my body feels and my ability to compete. I’d definitely recommend getting into it.
What’s game day like? Food? Pregame rituals?
I NEED about a 1-2 hour nap on game days. That’s a must. I usually eat Jimmy Johns before each game, and then I’ll get in a few games of Fortnite. Pretty normal, nothing too crazy. I guess the weirdest ritual I have is I always put my socks and shoes on the same way before the game. And the at halftime, I always take my shoes and socks off. And then before we run out for the second half, I’ll put them back on the exact same way.
What’s it been like playing in the G League? It seems that the NBA has invested a lot into building this into something more like an AAA baseball system. For me, that’s extremely exciting. It will keep more American talent here versus abroad. But, more importantly, it creates these amazing stories like yours. We love stories about hard work and perseverance and finally validation with a shot on the big stage. Like Shea Serrano says, “shooting your shot.”
It's definitely a different atmosphere than college. All of these guys are fighting for a spot on an NBA roster. I’m blessed to be on a 2-way contract, so I’ve already got one foot in the door on the Hornets. But that just makes me more motivated to accomplish that goal. I think what the NBA is doing with the G-League is great. Keeping top talent in the U.S. from guys who leave college would be awesome for the basketball community.