When the Phoenix Suns draft big lanky Arizona lad Deandre Ayton with the No. 1 overall pick on Thursday, as they are expected to do, they will also receive Josh, Eric, and Alejandro. Those aren’t members of Ayton’s entourage or family, but three distinct personalities that inhabit the very large body of Deandre Ayton.
To a certain extent, cultivating Josh and Eric and Alejandro mirrors something that other, smaller, people do in terms of trying on different personas in different situations for comic effect. On the other hand, though, Ayton might just be kind of a weird dude. Yaron Weitzman, in his May cover story for SLAM Magazine explains the nature of Ayton’s headmates better than I ever could:
First there’s Josh. Josh’s voice is that of a generic white dude and he makes appearances when DeAndre is forced to do interviews. Josh has one purpose in life: to help the world see how fabulous a guy DeAndre is.
So there’s Josh, and then there’s Eric, whose voice, not surprisingly, is nearly identical to Josh’s. Eric is new and DeAndre is still trying to carve out his character. At the moment, it boils down to a collection of hobbies—like playing NBA2K and Fortnite, lots and lots of Fortnite—which, coincidentally, DeAndre happens to share.
So there’s Josh and Eric. And then there’s Alejandro. Alejandro is DeAndre’s favorite of the trio. He’s been around the longest and appears most frequently. “If I don’t want to do something I have to, I’ll just make fun of it,” Ayton says. Certain questions “bring out Alejandro.” This, Ayton proudly adds, often “shocks” whomever he is speaking to. I ask Ayton if he has an example he can share. He does. Over the past year, he says, Alejandro would often come out if and when Ayton attended a University of Arizona frat party.
The inspiration for Ayton’s multiple personalities seems to come from the greatest superhero movie of all time, and more specifically quite possibly the best superhero villain of all time. Per The Arizona Republic, it was the Green Goblin who taught Deandre Ayton it was okay to be weird.
“When I was younger I watched Spiderman and they had the Green Goblin and before the Green Goblin died he told Spiderman that it wasn’t him, it was the Green Goblin that was killing all those people,” Ayton said. “I thought, ‘Hmm, I should try to change my personality sometimes when it comes to interviews.’”
Keep in mind, our big lad here is just 19 years old, so when he’s talking about things like the Green Goblin it can mean one of two things: Willem Dafoe’s manic turn as the villain in 2002's Spider-Man, or Dane DeHaan’s probably more insane and Nicolas Cage-adjacent performance in 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The scene Ayton describes syncs up much more closely with the Dafoe-Goblin’s death in Spider-Man, so we can only assume he saw the classic original at some point after its release—which was just before his fourth birthday.
It’s extremely heartening that 19-year-olds are still referring to Tobey Maguire Spider-Man movies as the Spider-Man of record, despite the emergence of Tom Holland, who is good but not MY Spider-Man. Ideally, all of this could one day amount to Ayton growling at his teammates shit like “BACK TO FORMULA?” or im-pressive in the locker room and during warm-ups, if he wants to take this Green Goblin bit to its logical extreme.
I for one am excited for this weird fellow to be in the NBA.