MJ Lenderman Does Not Have Mamba Mentality

What’s an example of some good advice she’s given you?

The song “Catholic Priest,” that very last line, she told me to add to it there. The third repetition of “I tried to make you laugh,” that was her doing. That really made this song really tie together.

I know you’re a big basketball guy. How often do you get a chance to play?

I would shoot around a lot during COVID, but not really play competitively. I have some friends who do a pickup game. I’m a little nervous to get back into shape, but I just love shooting so much. That’s my favorite thing to do.

How’s your 3 pointer?

That was kind of my thing, I was killer at that in middle school and high school. I hit a couple of game winners. The best game I had, I think it was nine or ten threes in one game. I was good at shooting but I couldn’t play defense. I was too scared out there. I don’t have the Mamba Mentality.

Do you have a favorite team?

Not really. I just like shooters, mostly. In the NBA they have teams that I like, but we grew up watching college ball. My parents went to UVA, so we’re mostly fans of them. And that’s been exciting because they were like, they were really bad for a long time. And when Tony Bennet started coaching there, they finally became a good team and won a natty championship.

Do you think you’ll write more basketball songs?

I don’t know! If it happens. It wasn’t really something that I set out to do. It was, I guess, on my mind at the time when I was writing the ones that are basketball tunes.

Were you watching the ESPN Jordan doc when you wrote “Hangover Game”?

Pretty much. I had seen that. And then I was talking to a friend about it, and he told me about the hangover theory. I ran with that, and the song is kind of funny because there’s no evidence, no facts, not really well researched. But it sounds cool.

A hunch is better than research sometimes. Who are some other players might make good subjects for songs?

Maybe Dennis Rodman?

You’re an Iverson guy, right?

[Ed note: Here Lenderman swells with enthusiasm. He is clearly a BIG Iverson fan.] Oh my god. Yeah. Good story—Bruce Hornsby was pretty vital in getting Allen Iverson out of jail.


Yeah. Just kind of a tangent, but [Hornsby’s] son played at UNC Asheville. The first season he played with them, [UNC Asheville] were opening up their new stadium at the time, and to do that they had UNC come in and just destroy them. But Bruce Hornsby played the national anthem. And me and my dad, we sat a couple feet behind Bruce. My dad was really freaking out about that. But yeah, Hornsby’s really tall. And he’s best friends with Phil Jackson.

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