Check checkmate props like the micro chip founder

It's cool enough that people read the site and actually seem to like it, but when readers spread the gospel to actual NBA players, well, shit, that's going above and beyond the call of duty. Back in December, Henry Abbott told our hero himself about the site, and now a dedicated reader from Michland has informed us that he put fellow wanderer Paul Shirley onto FreeDarko. The part about the 16 year old girls yelling, "Free Darko!" is kinda awesome, too. We'll let him tell the story.

[Oh yeah, dude, you totally won the FD T-shirt contest.]

Klondike Masters,

This story is of little consequence... but then again, any weird brush with fame (however minor) freedarko encounters... I guess it seems I'd rather send it than not.

I play in a fairly unheard of band (anathallo... see what I mean... but a google news search proves we played sxsw... along with the rest of the world... and myspace and wikipedia can prove our slight existence)... anyways. We spent last month on tour with a band called The Format and that took us through a weekend in LA... the night before, our manager called to let us know that some ex-NBA pro-turned-blogger loved The Format and wanted to be on the guest list. Paul Shirley. Pretty much a musical taste kiss of death, right? But. I knew there was a near seven foot man coming to see us play and I knew it called for my t-shirt (a christmas present) of a seven foot man in chains.

Thought process:
Paul writes a blog.
Free Darko is a blog.
Paul is tall.
Darko is tall.
This will all add up to me having something to say.

So I wore the shirt and surprisingly... it was popular with The Format crowd. That is. Sixteen year old girls were yelling at me, "yeah!" and "free darko!" I also received three fists in the air (of acknowledgment?) from the college crowd... guys nodding in agreement. I don't know how exactly what that means. But I nodded back.

Anyways. After the show. I see two giants in the back... I walk up. I find out later they had already hung out with The Format in the back... questions of importance answered: does Steve Nash smoke pot? (yes) is Joe Johnson a good guy? (yes, but he's shy) what kind of teammate is Amare? (he has absolutely no clue what he's doing on defense - it's all athleticism), what about Q? (he loves his numbers).

Anyways. I talk to Paul. I tell him about freedarko... I can't tell if he understands. ("so its a real site?" "Yes." "and its your blog?" "No." "and its about freeing darko?" "Not really... at all.") Despite my inability to explain, though, he was actually a good guy. Put up with some opening bands basketball fan who wanted to talk. And his tall friend (I wish I remembered his name) looks over:

"That shirt is fucking rad."

Me: (who are you??) "Thanks."

Him: "I actually share the same agent as Darko."

Me: (because I am a freak) "YOUR AGENT IS MARC CORNSTEIN???"

Him: (slightly thrown off?) "How do you know Marc?!"

Me: (having lost all sense of pretending to have it together) "YOU KNOW MARC AND NATASHA CORNSTEIN?!?!"

---That's right. I knew Darko's agent's wife's name.---

So that completely startled Tall-Shirely-Friend... but it also led to a conversation. It turns out he had played ball in Serbia and was actually there when Darko was discovered. Like. Cornstein's European contact had asked him what he thought of Darko, whether he should sign him.

The response? "The kid is 16... nearly 7 foot... and can shoot the 3. I don't see what you have to lose."

So. The conversation eventually ended - Shirley nodding to his right, "we should probably get back to talking to these girls."

But the Euro Champ... "does Darko know about these shirts?" (me: a shrug, "I have no idea") and a handshake, followed by, "I'll tell Marc you say hey."

Re-reading what I just wrote... I'm not really sure if there's a point. Darko's agent might know who I am now... or who you are, if he visited the site... and that's pretty bizarre. And the encounter in general... it just seems like it fits some odd narrative arc of what (along with the other random stories I'm sure you receive) was supposed to spawn from your website. Overzealous basketball fan wears shirt, spreads site, learns the story of website's namesakes entry to America.

There. That's it. Maybe I have played my part.

Keep writing. At our shows, a lot of bands have their t-mobile sidekicks out... checking their e-mail, talking on aim. Me? I am sitting in the back of most venues... refreshing playoff scores and the freedarko comments section.

It's a way to live.

(Nobody has mentioned yet... and I would be interested to read... who would be the NBA's Prometheus... in a way... I almost want to say Phil Knight)

Thanks and bye.


At 5/03/2006 3:54 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

my awe at this story is all-consuming. therefore, all i can manage to remind viewers that one will leitch came in a now-distant second in this super-exclusive contest.

please, resume your mass wonderment.

At 5/03/2006 4:09 PM, Blogger Vegan Viking said...

My favorite part:

"and its about freeing darko?" "Not really... at all."

At 5/03/2006 4:24 PM, Blogger mutoni said...

that story was treeeeeee-mendous.

And there's absolutely no better way to answer the questiono to whether or not this blog is about actually freeing Darko Milicic than to say : "Not really... at all."


At 5/03/2006 4:44 PM, Blogger T. said...

If I could get away with wearing one at work, I would until a certain 7'6" guy came through.

I do like how the story tied in Paul Shirley and obscure bands though.

Related to nothing (or one could argue, to everything)


Player School Height Status
Akbar Abdul-Ahad Idaho State 6-0 Junior
Arron Afflalo UCLA 6-5 Sophomore
LaMarcus Aldridge Texas 6-10 Sophomore
Morris Almond Rice 6-6 Junior
Renaldo Balkman South Carolina 6-8 Junior
Larry Blair Liberty 6-1 Junior
Will Blalock Iowa State 5-11 Junior
Jahsha Bluntt Delaware State 6-6 Junior
Josh Boone Connecticut 6-10 Junior
Ronnie Brewer Arkansas 6-6 Junior
Bobby Brown Cal State-Fullerton 6-1 Junior
Shannon Brown Michigan State 6-4 Junior
Derek Burditt Blinn College (TX) 6-7 Sophomore
LeRoy Dawson Emporia State (KS) 6-2 Junior
Travis DeGroot Delta State 6-4 Junior
Guillermo Diaz Miami (FL) 6-2 Junior
Cem Dinc Indiana 6-10 Freshman
Quincy Douby Rutgers 6-3 Junior
Mike Efevberha Cal-State Northridge 6-5 Junior
Carl Elliott George Washington 6-4 Junior
Jordan Farmar UCLA 6-2 Sophomore
Nick Fazekas Nevada 6-11 Junior
Thomas Gardner Missouri 6-5 Junior
Rudy Gay Connecticut 6-8 Sophomore
Reggie George Robert Morris College (IL) 6-10 Junior
Daniel Gibson Texas 6-2 Sophomore
Aaron Gray Pittsburgh 7-0 Junior
LeShawn Hammett St. Francis (PA) 6-0 Junior
Brandon Heath San Diego State 6-3 Junior
Tedric Hill Gulf Coast CC (FL) 6-10 Sophomore
Clarence Holloway IMG Academy (FL) 7-0 Post-Graduate
Ekene Ibekwe Maryland 6-8 Junior
Donald Jeffes Roxbury CC (MA) 6-8 Sophomore
Alexander Johnson Florida State 6-9 Junior
David Johnson Clinton JC (SC) 6-7 Sophomore
Trey Johnson Jackson State 6-5 Junior
Coby Karl Boise State 6-4 Junior
Mark Konecny Lambuth University (TN) 6-10 Junior
Kyle Lowry Villanova 6-0 Sophomore
Aleks Maric Nebraska 6-11 Sophomore
Japhet McNeil East Carolina 5-10 Junior
Paul Millsap Louisiana Tech 6-8 Junior
Matt Mitchell Southern University-New Orleans 6-0 Junior
Adam Morrison Gonzaga 6-8 Junior
Patrick O'Bryant Bradley 7-0 Sophomore
Evan Patterson Texas Wesleyan 6-7 Junior
Danilo (J.R.) Pinnock George Washington 6-5 Junior
Leon Powe California 6-8 Sophomore
Richard Roby Colorado 6-6 Sophomore
Rajon Rondo Kentucky 6-2 Sophomore
Blake Schilb Loyola University (IL) 6-7 Junior
Mustafa Shakur Arizona 6-3 Junior
Cedric Simmons North Carolina State 6-9 Sophomore
Marcus Slaughter San Diego State 6-8 Junior
Curtis Stinson Iowa State 6-3 Junior
Tyrus Thomas LSU 6-9 Freshman
P.J. Tucker Texas 6-5 Junior
Jontae Vinson Cal State-Los Angeles 6-4 Junior
Ian Vouyoukas St. Louis 6-10 Junior
Darius Washington Jr. Memphis 6-2 Sophomore
Albert Weber Connors State 6-3 Sophomore
Marcus Williams Connecticut 6-3 Junior
Shawne Williams Memphis 6-9 Freshman

The following is the list of international players who have applied for early entry into the 2006 NBA Draft:

Player Team/Country Height Status
Andriy Agafonov Khimik (Ukraine) 6-8 1986 DOB
Nemanja Aleksandrov FMP Zeleznik (Serb. & Mont.) 7-0 1987 DOB
Pape-Philippe Amagou Le Mans (France) 6-0 1985 DOB
Andrea Bargnani Benetton Treviso (Italy) 6-10 1985 DOB
Yannick Bokolo Le Mans (France) 6-2 1985 DOB
Carlos Cedeno Guaiqueries (Venezuela) 6-5 1985 DOB
Tadija Dragicevic Crvena Zvezda (Serb. & Mont.) 6-8 1986 DOB
Lior Eliyahu Hapoel Galil Elyon (Israel) 6-9 1985 DOB
Rudy Fernandez DKV Joventut (Spain) 6-5 1985 DOB
Kyrylo Fesenko Mariupol (Ukraine) 6-11 1986 DOB
Rafael Hettsheimeier Akasvayu Vic (Spain) 6-10 1986 DOB
Marko Lekic Atlas (Serbia-Montenegro) 6-10 1985 DOB
Damir Markota Cibona (Croatia) 6-10 1985 DOB
Mickael Mokongo Chalon (France) 5-11 1986 DOB
Brad Newley Townsville (Australia) 6-7 1985 DOB
Oleksiy Pecherov Paris Basket Racing (France) 7-0 1985 DOB
Hrvoje Peric Split (Croatia) 6-8 1985 DOB
Kosta Perovic Partizan (Serbia & Mont.) 7-2 1985 DOB
Giorgos Printezis Olympiacos (Greece) 6-9 1985 DOB
Milovan Rakovic Atlas (Serbia-Montenegro) 6-10 1985 DOB
Aleksandar Rindin Gala Baku (Azerbaijan) 7-5 1985 DOB
Sergio Rodriguez Adecco Estudiantes (Spain) 6-3 1986 DOB
Dusan Sakota Panathinaikos (Greece) 6-10 1986 DOB
Renaldas Seibutis Olympiacos (Greece) 6-5 1985 DOB
Saer Sene Verviers-Pepinster (Belgium) 7-0 1986 DOB
Sidiki Sidibe Levallois (France) 7-0 1985 DOB
Sun Yue Beijing Aoshen Olympians (ABA) 6-9 1985 DOB
Tiago Splitter Tau Ceramica (Spain) 6-11 1985 DOB
Ali Traore Roanne (France) 6-9 1985 DOB
Ejike Ugboaja Union Bank Lagos (Nigeria) 6-9 1985 DOB

At 5/03/2006 5:48 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...


i feel more human knowing there are people out there who know the name of darko's agent's wife.

and of course Q loves his numbers.

really fucking well done, Mr. Anathallo. clap it up.

At 5/03/2006 6:07 PM, Anonymous bobduck said...

Great story.

Re: Prometheus
Prometheus, as we all remember, was punished by Zeus for bringing fire to mankind.

Therefore, Dr. J would make the perfect Prometheus: he brought insane, high-flying acrobatics into the L, but spent his NBA career with knee troubles, never winning a championship until he had Moses. Insert religious meaning into that last clause as you will.

At 5/03/2006 10:32 PM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

When I was six i met Tony Danza, but freedarko didn't exist then. If it did, I probably would have worn a t-shirt from my blog. Scratch that, a neon colored logo-imprinted windbreaker from my blog. Anyway, Tony Danza has no fucking idea this exists.

At 5/03/2006 10:35 PM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

By the way, did anybody have a clue that Raja Bell was so fucking angry? Why was he so on edge? Did he get pranked? I think somebody short-sheeted his bed or fed his dog short ribs so it got gas.

At 5/03/2006 10:42 PM, Anonymous Carlos Destrroyo said...

JVG just said that players should not be able to foul out, citing that people "do not pay to see LeBron James sit on the bench." Then he was surprised when the boring guy (whoever's doing play-by-play) thought it was a terrible idea. Obviously, he never watched Mike Dunleavy try to coach against the Pistons by fouling Ben Wallace every trip down.

People don't pay to watch LeBron on the bench, but they pay even less to see a free-throw contest.

Also, I met Grant Hill the day after he was drafted. If I had a time machine, I'd go tell him about the site so he could tell Darko about it now. But that would be weird.

At 5/03/2006 11:52 PM, Anonymous aug said...

The immortal Greg Kite's identical twin daughters went to my elementary school. Melissa had a crush on my best friend. We always got the best B list magic players to come to our carnival days. All the Anthony Bowie, Greg Kite, Donald Royal and Tom Tolberts you could ask for, and then some.

At 5/04/2006 12:11 AM, Blogger mutoni said...


I feel terrible for Gilbert because he played like a man tonight, but what can you do when facing something as celestial as the young King?

At 5/04/2006 9:53 AM, Anonymous Micah said...

Small-world comment: guy, you're in anathallo? I know Danny, from said band. That has to be the first of 6 steps from me to darko.

At 6/08/2006 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey aug, this is one of Greg's daughters. I was just wondering who you are and who's your friend that Melissa had a crush on?


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