NEW ORLEANS — People who follow the NBA know Jeremy Evans as the 2012 Slam Dunk champion.
It's possible the Utah Jazz player could also win an NBA art contest if that ever becomes an All-Star Weekend event.
"He's an amazing artist," Jazz guard Earl Watson said. "I think that a lot of people don't realize how great he really is, how talented he is off the court as well."
Thanks to Evans' teammate and friend, more people are aware of that now.
Earlier this week, Watson posted a picture of a detailed ink drawing of the Salt Lake Temple that Evans created last summer.
"Before that, nobody knew about it," Evans admitted.
The artistic Evans said it was interesting and tough to draw the 119-year-old edifice of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with all of its arched windows and familiar spires.
"I didn't want to mess up. It's their temple," said Evans, who's drawn the Utah landmark multiple times. "I had fun doing it. After I got done, I was proud of it."
Now, to answer two questions the artistic athlete knows you might have after he drew a world-renowned building that's awed onlookers since its 40-year-long construction concluded in 1893.
"A lot of people ask me if I'm LDS," he said, without being asked about his religious beliefs. "But I'm not."
So what inspired him to draw it?
"I just figured when people want something that's what you do," Evans said. "I figure there's a lot of LDS in Salt Lake, so why not draw the temple to, I guess, draw their attention, show what they want?"
Evans, whose non-hoops hobbies also include playing the guitar and carving, plans on drawing more LDS temples. As it is, his art collection includes a cherished painting of a lion, an airbrushed Tupac piece and a pastel of Michael Jordan — not to overlook a Jerry Sloan portrait he gave the retired coach.
"I have a good variety," he said. "It's hard to part with sometimes."
Evans has considered making prints of his LDS temples to sell. He intends to branch out with his art to include T-shirts, shoes and hats as his canvas. He even picked up a hat on this trip that he plans on drawing on. He also likes drawing landscapes and his home. The Western Kentucky product said he takes anywhere between about an hour (like for this temple piece) and two days to work on his art.
Most bizarre thing he's drawn?
"I stay away from the weird stuff," he said.
Watson has been thoroughly impressed with Evans' non-weird stuff.
"I think that's a great picture. It's rare for an NBA player to be able to have that ability," Watson said. "I think it's something that he should seriously start doing more in his off time, and just grow as an individual on and off the court."
Watson joked that he posted Evans' drawing because, well, people wouldn't want to see his attempts at art.
"I try to draw something, too, but mine tend to look the same as my 3-year-old daughter's," Watson said. "Hers is a little bit better, so I decided to not tweet (mine) out. I'm not as good as Jeremy. I am his art agent."
Evans has been on the receiving end of multiple eye-popping alley-oop passes from Watson over the years, and he's happy to get this kind of assist.
"Maybe I'll let Earl tweet out the rest of them," he said, smiling. "I've got some pretty good ones."
That goes for his dunks and drawings.
EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org TWITTER: DJJazzyJody
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company