More Reviewing of the Rocky Mountain Revue
Pichi Campana Aguanta fearlessly heads back to the RMR, venturing even deeper into the innard of summer league basketball. The occasion speaks for itself.
I was a bit bored on the way into my third night at the Revue, so I transitioned a bit from taking paparazzi pictures to trying to talk to anyone who would be of interest to the FD world. Conversations of note:
Pavel Podkolzin, clad (him, not me) in jean shorts and a great shirt courtesy of Marithé + François Girbaud. He spoke better English than I expected and was very nice, in a 7 foot 5 kind of way. Highlights of the conversation: He's only met Kirilenko on the court; they don't know each other nor hang out, which I found very disappointing. The thought of Podkolzin and Kirilenko listening to Masha's latest hit was appealing to me. The shame of the conversation (other than the fact that I went totally blank and couldn't think of any interesting questions), was that my Russian-speaking buddy who usually comes to the games couldn't make it last night. So we'll never know how that conversation would have gone down.
Pavel Podkolzin with Popeye Jones and another Dallas coach. I think Dallas coaches outnumber the players. Pavel's shirt is the first Girbaud sighting since my jeans in the 8th grade. Popeye Jones was very cool and surprisingly coach-esque.
An agent who is none other than Mike Vranes, former D1 player who was mentioned in the comments of my Vegas post. He was freakishly athletic in his playing days, which were cut short by injury. If this were a LEAGUE OF POTENTIAL I would call him very FD, but apparently Capt Caveman gets the final say on that. And nobody can deny that he's 7th on the Utah HS list for Scoring: most points, state tourney, total (120 Michael Vranes, Taylorsville, 1996 5A playoffs)
NBA Director of Officials Ronnie Nunn, quite possibly the nicest-guy-who-didn't-need-to-be in the history of the world. I asked him how it felt to be named the player of the decade in Mexico for the 1970s. He said it was great, and that he would have played longer than his two seasons but they kicked him out of the country because he had hepatitis. I didn't make that up. He also trod upon the FD "Euro Confusion" territory by clarifying to me that he was in Mexico as a "North American, not a Mexican." It wasn't my place to split geographic hairs so I let it slide.
Ronnie Nunn explains the finer points of fixing a game. Actually it was very interesting to listen to his feedback to the refs during each timeout. He notices and remembers every detail.
Hot Rod Hundley, the Voice of the Jazz, and West Virginia's finest. Since fellow Mountaineer and All-Name Team member Kevin Pittsnoggle is at the Revue with Dallas, I asked if he'd given him any advice. He responded by singing a few bars of the WV fight song: "It's West Virginia, It's West Virginia, The Pride of every Mountaineer..." and jokingly told me that he turns his mic off and sings it when Pittsnoggle is at the line for free throws.
He was nice enough to pose with two kids in vintage John Stockton jerseys. I wish I could send a copy of this to these kids because that's one for the ages. Even with a DUI Hot Rod can do no wrong in Utah.
A very tall kid from Senegal, who from all I could gather is part of the entourage of Mouhamed Saer Sene of the Sonics. And speaking of the Sonics, unfortunately Detlef Schrempf was nowhere to be found so I didn't have a chance to ask him awkward questions in which I conflated his career with that of Sarunas Marciulionis.
I also discovered that "All Access" really means All Access, so I went down in the tunnel and wandered around with the NBA TV crew but passed on the media buffet. Stood next to the Jazz team huddle as they got hyped to go out for the start of the game and found myself very excited for the Dee Brown Era. I also resisted the temptation to ask Robert Whaley if he thought "Bobby Williams" and "Torry Ellis" had a chance to make the team.
C.J. Miles gets ready to run out of the tunnel. The fans love C.J. and this whole Jazz RMR squad is fun to watch.
Robert Whaley and Dee Brown get ready to rumble. The little kid lives a charmed life.
The Dee Brown Era in Utah is going to be great.
It was a great night at the Revue. I kept thinking about Paul Shirley's incredibly depressing ruminations on his life in the NBA and couldn't help wondering what's wrong with him. Because I'm a 6'2" white guy who looks like he just walked out of the Gap, with very modest athletic skills, and virtually nothing in common with most of the players trying to get into the league, and I had no problem engaging players in interesting conversation. Most of them were very cool and easy to talk to. Of course, I'm not gunning for their jobs.
And lastly, I need to give credit out to the Revue crowd at SLCC. That place was packed with straight up basketball junkies. When the ball was in play people were paying attention like there was going to be a quiz later. I don't think I've seen anything like it. Definitely a cool atmosphere with a lot of energy in a non-LETS GET READY TO RUMBLE kind of way that you usually don't see.
BONUS SHOTS FROM EARLIER IN THE WEEK:
Ike Austin & Co holding it down in the crowd earlier this week. Ike could have been a legend in Utah but he didn't get it together until he got his confidence by tearing up a Euro league. Now he's apparently buying an NBDL team in Anaheim.
Avery Johnson and some other guy I should probably know. Avery's pants were strangely pegged, and i'm realizing that a lot of these guys are stuck in about 1988. I only included it because he's so nondescript; even the people around him were uninspired to make any attempts at conversation.
One more shot of Ronnie Nunn. He looks short in the photo because my friends are 6-4 and 6-0.