Feeding the big man in New Orleans

Tue, Jan 5

NEW ORLEANS -- Emeka Okafor sits on a hallway table inside the Alario Center on a late Wednesday morning. The New Orleans Hornets have just finished practice following their 110-102 victory over the Clippers the night before. But Okafor is still in motion, dangling his long legs off the table and gesticulating in large circles as he talks. He is patient in answering questions but also appears antsy. After all, this break -- before his requisite stretching and after the post-practice meal -- isn't part of his usual pattern. And routines are instrumental to Okafor, as his new teammates have noticed.

"Anytime I see him other than on the court, he's stretching," Hilton Armstrong (also a collegiate teammate of Okafor's) says. "In the morning, he wakes up and stretches. He gets here and stretches. After the game, he stretches. He never sits still."

Then there's his appetite. "Emeka eats once a day -- all day," Morris Peterson laughs. "I think that's the biggest thing about him," point guard Chris Paul adds. "I've never seen anything like it. We went to dinner at training camp and he ordered three appetizers and three main courses. I don't know what it is, maybe he has an extra stomach, but I told him I'll never go to dinner with him and pay for it."

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