Interviews

LA Clipper Stars Boban Marjanovic and Tobias Harris on Deadlifts, Pre-Game Meals, and 'John Wick: Chapter 3'

“Bobi and Tobi” open up about training, nutrition, and shooting a film with Keanu.

LA Clipper Stars Boban Marjanovic and Tobias Harris on Deadlifts, Pre-Game Meals, and John Wick: Chapter 3
Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Contributor / Getty

Call them the NBA’s odd couple. One is a lovable 7’3” giant from Serbia named Boban Marjanovic. The other is a high-scoring small forward from Long Island, New York, named Tobias Harris. But they share a few things in common: a love of basketball, a talent for good (yet also comedic) dancing, and a fondness for foot-long sandwiches.

So with an assist from a certain fast-casual food chain that prides itself on fresh grub, we recently caught up with the dynamic duo to chat about packing on muscle during the summer, their favorite pre-game meals, and who might be the strongest player in the entire league (their answer may surprise you). Oh, and we ask Boban about his upcoming appearance in John Wick: Chapter 3.

M&F: OK, let’s say you can do only one exercise to train for basketball. What are you doing?

BOBAN: Bench press!

TOBIAS: Is that yours? I would probably have to go with any of the pullups—pullups, chinups, one of those. Just because it’s working the back and arms and engaging the core.

BOBAN: OK, I will change mine. I would do planks. Yeah, I would do planks for sure because they work the whole body—legs, back, shoulders, core.

Which of you guys can hold a plank longer?

BOBAN: I don’t know, we never tried. We never make competition, but Tobias is pretty strong and I think he’d hold it longer. We can find out next week when we have off day.

TOBIAS: Nah, not gonna do that on my off day.

Who’s the strongest player on the Clippers?

BOBAN: Tobias.

TOBIAS: No, no, no. Marcin Gortat.

BOBAN: OK, yeah.

TOBIAS: But pound for pound, it’d be either him, Patrick Beverley, and I would throw myself in that category.

What about league-wide? Who’s the strongest player in the NBA?

TOBIAS: I think Aron Baynes. Aron Baynes is super strong.

That’s an unexpected pick.

TOBIAS: Who would you say?

Hmm. The first thought is LeBron. No?

BOBAN: We say nothing. No opinion for me. I cannot choose because there’s a lot of strong guys. Somebody can be strong in one exercise, somebody can be strong in another exercise. And how somebody is strong, it depends on what you measure. And I think you can never find out who is the strongest because everybody is strong at something.

What about in the off-season, do you guys try to add a little muscle? If so, what do you do?

TOBIAS: Yeah, the off-season is when you get a lot of time to lock in to strength and conditioning programs. Both of us, we do a lot of squatting, deadlifting, bench pressing, and different movements with core just to get stronger. Those are three months where you can really lock in and gain a lot of strength. So we take that serious. And then we do cross-training, too. Boban does MMA boxing.

BOBAN: Yeah. You must work on everything in the off-season. You can do stuff to improve your basketball skills, like ball handling, or strengthen your legs and your core. For example, this summer I gained close to 13 pounds. I gained muscle in the entire body. I gained like six pounds in arms, five or six pounds in legs. And it’s my goal this summer to get even stronger.

We’ve seen some pretty funny videos of you guys taking spin class and dancing. What’s a better form of cardio?

TOBIAS: Spin class.

BOBAN: Spin class. But dancing, I sweat a lot.   

So what are you guys doing with Subway?

BOBAN: We love Subway.

TOBIAS: Yeah, we’re doing the Golden Ticket Sweepstakes, and we’ve been launching that whole campaign. Subway’s giving away these amazing prizes to people who are subscribers on their app and to people who go to Subway. And there are many chances to win—to go to the NBA All-Star Game, NHL All-Star Game, Rose Bowl, Daytona 500. So me and Boban, we’re two close friends that love to bring excitement to people and bring joy to people, and that’s why we thought this would be an awesome thing to be a part of just because we share the same vision of making people feel excited and happy.

What’s your favorite sub?

TOBIAS: Boban is Mr. Chicken Teriyaki. And myself, I do the Veggie Delite and I tell them to scoop out some of the bread.

That’s a good carb-cutting move. Are you a vegetarian, Tobias?

TOBIAS: I don’t eat red meat. But once in a while I’m open to it. During the season I’m very particular with the foods that I put into my body for performance, so I eat a lot of plant-based meals.

BOBAN: That works for him and he scores every night and plays good on the court with this. I eat sometimes with him that type of food.

TOBIAS: Boban doesn’t like my plant-based food.

BOBAN: Yeah, but I support my friends. I can eat anything. And if that food works for him and makes him feel good, sometimes I try and it’s good.

What’s your favorite pre-game meal?

TOBIAS: I have my own chef. He creates so many different dishes. He’ll do a chickpea pasta with pesto sauce and broccoli that’s really good. I love it.

BOBAN: And zucchini.

TOBIAS: No zucchini in there.

Boban, what’s your pre-game go-to?

BOBAN: I’d say pasta with chicken, tomato sauce, and mushroom. And some soup.

TOBIAS: Boban loves soup.

BOBAN: Yeah, Boban loves soup. I like all types. I eat everything. But my favorite: butternut squash.

TOBIAS: He loves it.

Is that your secret weapon?

BOBAN: No, my secret weapon is still secret.

Boban, we hear you’re playing an assassin in John Wick: Chapter 3. Did you have a good time filming that?

BOBAN: Yeah, I am supposed to be in there. Look in May, come see it.

OK. So are you definitely in the movie?

BOBAN: I hope so.

Did you bond with Keanu onset?

BOBAN: Yeah, with Keanu, yeah.

For both of you—if someone were to play you in a movie, who would it be?

BOBAN: Brad Pitt for sure.

TOBIAS: Denzel Washington for me.

BOBAN: For Tobias, Samuel L. Jackson.

TOBIAS: That’s the only black actor he knows, by the way.

Who’s better looking between you two?

BOBAN: Of course Tobias.

TOBIAS: Thank you, appreciate it.

BOBAN: I don’t know why I say that because he still isn’t married, and I’m married.

Who can jump higher?

BOBAN: Tobias.

TOBIAS: Yeah, Boban, he can’t. You can barely slide a paper under him.

BOBAN: I have more blocks than Tobias.

TOBIAS: He does have more blocks and more dunks. He is definitely up there.

What are your tips for someone who wants to improve their vertical jump?

TOBIAS: Squats. You got to squat.

BOBAN: Squats and butternut squash.

TOBIAS: No, you gotta do a lot of power exercises, making everything about explosion and power, and squatting and building up the core. I think those always go hand in hand with improving a vertical leap.

BOBAN: Yeah, I did all of that and it doesn’t work. No, I agree with that.

During the season, you guys are flying all across the country and playing games almost every night. How often are you able to get into the weight room?

TOBIAS: Probably at least four times a week.

BOBAN: Maybe sometimes more for me because I like to spend time there.

TOBIAS: I lift on game days. That’s the big thing that has helped me and my career, and I like to do that.

How important is it for you guys to be the best team in Los Angeles? You know, superior to that purple and yellow squad with the new guy from Cleveland?

TOBIAS: Honestly, we wanna be the best team that we can be in the league. So we're not just focused on one area, we wanna be a playoff team, and we wanna be ready for whoever we're playing against every single night. And so that's like where our mindset is.

Cool. Anything else you want to tell the readers of Muscle & Fitness?

TOBIAS: You can tell them that Boban is 5.2% body fat. He is though, for real. He has no body fat.

Wow. What about you, Tobias?

TOBIAS: 7.9%. Not too shabby for somebody who was a chubby boy as a youngin’.

Do you guys measure your body fat fairly regularly with the Clippers?

TOBIAS: Maybe like once a month. 

Nice. Well, we better head out because we gotta go to Subway and then pick up some butternut squash.

TOBIAS: There you go.

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