Anima and Animccants
I've noted before how weirdly thoughtful Rashad McCants often sounds in interviews. As B-Shoals said, "He does post-game interviews like he's on Oprah." However, unlike Kobe Bryant, who is perhaps the most thoughtful NBA player I've ever seen interviewed, McCants isn't saying what he thinks you want to hear. He really is that introspective, and even if he were trying to say the right things, he obviously has no idea what those are. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that a player who has repeatedly been accused of playing selfishly on the court would be so reflective and self-analytical off it.
Yet, despite his almost extreme willingness to analyze himself, the proud McCants has a complex relationship with the field of psychology. In his epic interview with SI's Grant Wahl, McCants remarked that he wished he had majored in pysch, but then called the time former coach Matt Doherty arranged an appointment for him with a sports psychologist "the most embarrassing moment of my life." McCants didn't really mind talking to the guy, but he was incensed that anyone would think he needed to see a shrink: "I felt like I was too smart for someone to pick at my brain." Someone other than himself, that is.
After being ejected from Sunday night's contest with the Nuggets for two taunting technicals--the second of which coming after this beastly jam over Marcus Camby--McCants said: "It's just the disadvantage of being me. What I did [Sunday] night was who I am." It's never been easy for McCants to be who he is. While in Chapel Hill, Doherty did not approve of McCants', er, enthusiasm on the court and tried to get him to bottle it up. I'll let the man speak for himself, since his unique way with words is really the inspiration for this post: "I felt like he took a part of my life and just put it in a box....and locked it up and said I don't want you to use this....And the more I wanted to be this junkyard dog, the more I was turned into this laid-back grocery-bagger." What we saw after that Camby dunk the other night was the JYD unleashed.
Kevin Garnett, never one to hold in emotion, has wisely encouraged McCants to continue to foster the JYD attitude if he wants to become a star, as he so clearly desires. After a game against the Lakers, in which Kobe repeatedly posted up McCants, KG commented: "A baby calf comes in, a lion sees it, he attacks it. That's just the mentality. In this situation, McCants, to me, is not an average calf. He's a calf who is going to come right back at him. He's feisty and he's a threat, too." KG realizes that as much as the NBA is a League of Style, if you want to win, it must also be a League of Heart. Few moments in the past fifteen years of the NBA can match AI carrying the Sixers on his tiny back to the NBA Finals or seeing Jordan rolling on the floor in tears, clutching the Larry O'Brien trophy. That's heart, that's JYD. So, at the moment, the future looks brighter for McCants than for his former teammate Marvin Williams--who, incidentally, did work as a grocery-bagger in high school--who is being criticized in Atlanta for not showing emotion and being too laid back.
Put down the groceries, be feisty, break the chains, unleash the beast.
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