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.]
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.
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.