Image via Flickr user Bridget Samuels.
Image via Flickr user Bridget Samuels.
WASHINGTON — Sometimes I have silly conversations with NBA players. These leftovers have no home in #JOURNALISM, but are far too important to go undocumented. There's more to basketball than basketball. This is for that.
Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton disagree about shoes
Gerald Wallace does not care that I’ve already begun asking Raymond Felton how he had such an easy time getting into the lane against the Wizards.
“First question,” Wallace says over me. “First question. I got the first question though.”
Felton starts to say something about being aggressive but the reporters are now just waiting for him to get to Gerald Wallace, who interjects again: “Where do you get those ugly ass shoes?”
Felton has on some blue suede Adidas.
Felton: “They Adidas man, stop hating. Three stripes.”
Wallace: “Exactly. Adidas suck.” He mumbles something about Jordan Brand. It’s difficult to understand. Wallace has the deepest voice I’ve ever heard.
Felton: “They suck, too! Whatchu mean? I don’t care ‘cause of who he is. Think I care? And he went to Carolina, I don’t care.
“Anyway,” Felton continued. “Next question ...”
Who gets to call ‘Metta World Peace’ Ron?
Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace, but in the most basic and deepest of ways, he’s still very much Ron Artest. You know him. That’s the name of the person who acts like Ron Artest, even if it isn't exactly/actually his name.
So who gets to call him “Ron”? Kobe, for one. But not everyone. Matt Barnes broke it down:
Barnes: "I call him Ron still. It's back and forth. I've called him Ron since the name change. He doesn't mind. He doesn't want some people calling him Ron, but he's OK with me calling him Ron. I don't know, I've heard him say to some people, 'My name's Metta.' I know him as Ron.”
Me: "So how would you advise me to approach him?"
Matt Barnes: "Metta."
OK. So: Matt Barnes and Kobe get to call him Ron. I should call him Metta (as should Jason Kapono and Andrew Goudelock, I’m guessing).
Of course, ultimately he only has so much control over what he’s called. Stupid character limits: on the Verizon Center Jumbotron Wednesday, he was simply "World Pea.”
Is winning boring? It can be, says Metta World Peace
Professional sports, distilled down to its essence, are about winning and losing. Winning is fun. Winning keeps everyone happy. But is winning the only way to have fun? Is winning the most fun?
Metta World Peace went kind of Philosoraptor here, but I think he might be on to something. He explained his experience with individual sacrifice in pursuit of a team goal.
"Before it was a lot more entertaining," he said. "But now it's just wanting to win. When you win there's nothing else after winning. You know? You just win again.
"It's kind of like boring, but it's a fun boring. It's win, win, win. Nothing else after that."
Tristan Thompson sounds Canadian
There's nothing overtly Canadian about Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson. Not that I was expecting him to be drinking Molson in the locker room, but Texas Longhorns point guard Myck Kabongo once told me he got his toughness from playing floor hockey up north. Thompson was just like every other dude.
But there is one thing that sets him apart from his peers.
"Speaking proper English," Thompson said. "Most guys here have a little slang in their vocabulary. I speak proper and I guess it's not what they're used to. It's not the norm.
"They definitely bring it up," he added. "Whenever I meet people for the first time they know I'm not from here because of the way I speak and pronunciate."
Thompson’s Canadian basketball inspirations, too, are markedly different than those of his American teammates.
“The pioneers? Because I’m from Toronto, you got to say Jamaal Magloire. He’s the first-ever guy from Toronto to make it to the NBA. He was drafted first round. He was an All-Star. If anything, he’s probably the guru of Toronto basketball.”
A candid conversation about Cinnabon
Craig Smith was eating an energy bar and drinking bottled water before facing the Wizards. Good eating habits are important in the NBA, but Smith also knows that sometimes you get cravings, and you have to TREAT. YO. SELF.
Like any superhero or man, Craig Smith has a weakness.
Smith: “I think it’s a Cinnabon. I would have to say it’s Cinnabon. That’s just something really delicious.”
Me: “And you’re in airports a lot, and that’s where Cinnabon lives. Is that a problem?”
Smith: “Since we fly private, we’re not able to go in the Cinnabon. So it’s normally when I go back home … [laughter]”
Me: “There’s sort of a law of Cinnabon where if you’re in the airport for X amount of time, you will naturally find your way to a Cinnabon.” [Ed. Note: Brian Phillips created this idea, I think.]
Smith: “Yeah, you will naturally find your way there. I mean, it’s got something in there, man. A spell or something. I don’t know, man. [laughter]”
Because we are discussing Cinnabon, there is no reason to get into Craig Smith’s snowball fighting career at Boston College. “I was able to dodge out, slide, nail some people …” Right, nevermind.
Can’t Wes Matthews get a RT? It’s his birthday
No one has ever asked me for a retweet. But the pestering of celebrities for attention is a staple of Twitter culture.
“I think I’m gonna do that on my birthday,” Wes Matthews said. Turning to Elliot Williams, he continued: “I’m gonna ask you for a retweet on my birthday. That’s what I’m gonna do.”
So, Elliot, can Wes get a birthday retweet?
“Oh, man, definitely!”
NBA and March Madness: Ah, college nostalgia
I asked Wes Matthews what his favorite class was. This was apparently a funny question.
“Favorite class? Pshhh — none?!” Matthews jokes. “I actually had a theatre for non-acting majors class. That was kind of fun.”
He continued, “Joel, what was your favorite class in college?”
Joel Przybilla: “I went one semester, I don’t even remember. ... I was drunk the whole time.”
Wes Matthews: “Coors Light, huh?”
Note: Joel Przybilla actually left Minnesota midway through his sophomore season.
Nate Robinson is so Seattle right now
I had heard people in Seattle don’t carry umbrellas, so I asked south Seattle product Nate Robinson if that was true.
“Umbrellas?” he repeated. "They do, they have them. But I'm sure, like most of the people, I don't ever use them. I mean, for what? Rain is rain."
Hmm: So what is Seattle?
"When I put ranch on my pizza, people say that's a Seattle thing. That's what we do back home. Teriyaki Chicken spots, they don't have those. Makes you miss Seattle. The rain, when we're at other places, makes me miss home. Been growing up with it. Great football weather, so I was cool with it.”
So fuck coffee, Mudhoney, and what you heard. Seattle is ranch on pizza.