NBA Nonsense Notebook

Southern hospitality, sticky questions and Jerry Stackhouse's second career as a fisherman.
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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.

Joe Johnson Is Doing Nothing for Arkansas Tourism

Joe Johnson is laid back.

On the court, he’s laid back: “I’m so laid back, and just kind of chill.”

At home, he’s laid back: “When I’m at home, at these point in times, I’m laying down sleeping or playing video games. I care not to even leave the house. I basically just sit at the home, man, just chill, relax and just enjoy, just kind of relaxing.”

Got it. Joe Johnson is liable to chill. That’s probably why he likes Little Rock, Arkansas. Just don’t get any vacation ideas, carpetbaggers.

Joe: “It’s pretty mellow, not a whole lot going on but it’s home for me. That’s why I love going back there. So if you wasn’t from there, of course you probably wouldn’t have the greatest time.”

Me: “So you wouldn’t suggest I take a trip?”

Joe: “Nah, not unless you really know somebody down there.”

Well, I didn’t—except now I that I’ve met Joe …

“You hear of Southern hospitality,” Johnson said. “I’m a great guy to be around, hang out with. Even if I don’t know you, man, I’ll still show you mad love, mad respect. That’s just a tribute to where I come from, my family and how I was raised.”

I know, by the way, that he wasn’t inviting me. But if I showed up this summer with some John Daniels and a PS3…

Brandon Knight Gets Wet

Brandon Knight shot 3-for-13 against the Wizards on Monday, but he also hurdled the Pistons bench, crashing into a Gatorade cooler and soaking himself with sports drink. (No doubt you saw the video.) So reporters milled about as he got dressed, waiting to talk about one of the notable moments in an otherwise ugly, forgettable game*. The gist: “Sure, yes the game -- BUT WHAT ABOUT THE GATORADE SHOWER!”

*Lawrence Frank: "The NBA called. They were about to throw both of us out of the building."

So, has Knight ever made a leap like that?

“Uh, not that I can remember,” he said. “Nothing like that. Just a situation where I was trying to save the ball and that’s about it.”

We, the reporters, will be the judge of that, Brandon. I ask, “Do you have time to think about where you’re going to land when you start jump?”

“Not really, you just don’t wanna clip nothing, make you fall on your face. You want to try and land on your feet or try to make sure you’re not landing on the upper part of your body.”

Good, good. “How wet did you get?” I continued. “You spilled quite a bit of liquid …”

“Oh yeah, I have no clue,” he said. “I just know I got up drenched. Felt like I was sweating a lot, so ...”

It could end there, but of course it doesn’t. And at this point, Greg Monroe, now dressed, is peering over the scrum, waiting to leave with Brandon and eyeing the scene.

“Was it water or Gatorade?” another report asked.

“I mean, I guess it was a combination of both,” Knight replied. “Like I said, I was...”

“Was it sticky?” the reporter interjected. PAUSE. That’s when Greg Monroe scrunches his face and raises an eyebrow. That’s, um, a new one.

“Nah, I didn’t feel sticky.”

Mercifully, that was where it ended. Sort of. Knight took it to the people directly after the game.

Jerry Stackhouse Has a 33 Grady-White, Is Happy to Talk About It

Jerry Stackhouse told me he was going to be successful whether it was in basketball or another career and I believe him. But he admitted the finer things do come with the life of being a professional athlete.

“Everybody have their different vices,” he said. “I got boats, know what I’m saying?”

I didn’t really. What was he saying?

“I love fishing,” he continued. “My 33 Grady-White. That’s big on my list. I got a 33 Grady-White, with a center console.”

“Oh,” I said. “I don’t even know what that is.”

“A fisherman would,” he said.

Man, was I letting Jerry Stackhouse down.

He went on: “So, those are the things I appreciate. Before that I was on a pontoon. When you do what I’ve been doing for long you can afford yourself the ability to go out and get a brand new Grady-White when you want to.

“Now I get out in the water and do it. I used to just sit on the bank with my dad—with a cane poll!—when I was this high.” He indicated a height equivalent to roughly one half a Jerry Stackhouse. “So fishing’s always been a part of what I love to do, and like I said, this game has afforded me to expound on it.”

The biggest fish he ever caught?

“I caught a 48 pound wahoo, right off the coast of North Carolina.” Jerry Stackhouse is awesome.

Old Ben Wallace Is Old

“Heck, Ben had two dunks today!” — Lawrence Frank praising Ben Wallace’s energy after Pistons 79-77 win against the Wizards on Monday, March 26.

Ben Wallace is 37 years old now, but it’s hard to believe he’s too old for the league when his biceps are a foot from your face. Still, Ben feels old.

“Block always feels better than dunk,” he said. “Dunks come a dime a dozen. Blocks don’t happen that often.”

Wallace used to terrify opponents. Now he acts like he doesn’t know where his next meal (of delicious blocks) is coming from.

“I used to know,” he said. “I don’t know what it feels like anymore since I ain’t blocking no shots now.”

But come one, he still gets a few...

“Well,” Wallace said, “you play basketball long enough you’ll get a few. I mean, you a shot blocker.”

Stay young as long as you can, kids ...

Michael Phelps

Oh, so I ran into Michael Phelps in the bowels of the Verizon Center. They showed him on the jumbotron so I knew he was there, even if I didn’t understand what would possess Michael Phelps to attend a Pistons-Wizards game, you know with the Olympics being this summer and the Wizards being the Wizards and all.

But he was—this orange hoodie-wearing American hero—doing an impromptu promotional spot for Comcast Sportsnet. He appears to be waiting around to leave but offers animated iterations of “Thank YOU, America!” and other stuff Phelps has said a million times with a gold medal around his neck and in Subway commercials.

He seemed very interested in getting out of the building unrecognized consider no one was really around to ask him for autographs, etc. I guess when you’re Michael Phelps people generally want to use you for an interview or picture or TV spot.

Having done the promotional work required of Michael Phelps, Michael Phelps pulled basically this exact hat low over his eyes, tucks his hoodie over his head and disappeared.

One security guard posits that he has gills instead of lungs. Another says he could outswim a fish!

(While you were caught up in that imagery, I pulled a cap over my eyes and dipped out of here. Until next time, friends.)

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