"Basically," Giants tight end Martellus Bennett told Sam Borden of the New York Times in a long and hugely enjoyable profile, "I like cool stuff that becomes cooler when you make it a ninja."
In this Bennett is surely not alone, in general and particularly among the weird and weirdly large subset of adult professional athletes who seem not to feel weird about watching and re-watching Kung Fu Panda with a frequency and intensity that would shame many 7-year-olds. This is in no way a criticism of those millionaire kidults. It's not my job to tell anyone, let alone Brook Lopez, how to live, and while Dwight Howard certainly seems exasperatingly vain and mostly unlikable, his suspended tweenagerhood is pretty easily the most human thing about him. Given how narrow professional athletes have to make their worlds and how much their drive takes from them and how much the sour, slap-happy sports media punishes off-message oddness, any residual humanness that remains—up to and including Lamar Odom power-eating Starbursts—is welcome.
But over the course of the profile, Bennett reveals himself as something more and weirder than the usual kid-case athlete. He carries and distributes business cards identifying himself as a "Visionary Architect." He has weird ideas for children's books and a social networking site (better than Facebook, he promises, which is maybe aiming low) and famously described himself as "a black unicorn" and is married to a Sarah Lawrence graduate. What we are dealing with, here, is someone more like a bona-fide self-assured weird person like Bill Lee than the usual candy-fried sports goofus. Because Sam Borden is a really good writer, he manages to make Bennett's embrace of New York City feel like a sort of spritual homecoming: a long-awaited arrival of an interesting, difficult-to-classify person in a city that, for all its queasy transition into a luxury brand and all that it demands from people who live here, thankfully still does not demand rigid classification from its residents.
So, yeah, it's a good piece, and a good introduction to an interesting player who seems intent on remaining interesting on what is arguably the most poker-faced and stubbornly uninteresting organization in football. But it does another good thing, too. It introduces readers not just to Martellus Bennett the person, but Martellus Bennett the musical cereal critic. It's hard to know what to say about Bennett's ode to Cap'N Crunch—"My favorite kind of lunch," he Waka Flockishly rhymes—except that it is obviously heartfelt, and totally freaking wonderful. The opposite of Jeremy Shockey is here, and he definitely fucks with the Crunch Berries. Stay on the run eating, Marty B.