7.10.2006

Vegas League Memories

I feel confident that anyone reading FreeDarko on the daily wishes, on some level, that he could spend these simmering months hanging out in half-empty gyms and watching lottery picks drop thirty. Luckily, one brave reader dared to crossed the abyss separating fantasy from reality, and sent us the pictures and captions to prove it. Without any question asked, here is Pichi Campana Aguanta's photo diary from the NBA's outskirts, as edited by yours truly to contain almost zero basketball action:

Most of my pics from the trip turned out all sighting-of-the-yeti blurry, and even though it makes me sad, it kind of perpetuated the legend of potential. I mean, would we even care about Bigfoot if we had nice clear snapshots of him relaxing with friends?



Out of all the coaches/legends in the building, Eddie Jordan had the most presence. He was nice enough to pose for the picture and I almost asked him for life advice because he seemed so wise.



Van Gundy's head with Fred Hoiberg in the background. For some reason no one was sitting anywhere near Van Gundy. He seems like a nice enough guy when he does broadcasts, so I couldn't understand why there was no one within 15 seats of him. But some Knicks fans filmed the back of his head for the whole game, so that put a hop in my step.

Also, JVG was sitting behind McHale and Hoiberg and the rest of the Minnesota people, and some tall, old European guy (who I can only assume is some famous scout) came in the door and had the whole TWolves front office standing up and shouting strange inside jokes at him, to which he replied with some odd reply in broken English that made no sense. Strange all the way around, and JVG seemed legitimately annoyed at the whole scene.



Elgin Baylor must really enjoy not being the laughingstock of the league anymore. He was getting mobbed for autographs.



Dunleavy spent the whole game trying to avoid small talk with the chatty father and brother of, I think, Andris Biedrins



Chris Mullin actually looked great, but perhaps the camera saw something I missed. He was wearing some vintage 1984 short shorts too. So was Dunleavy for that matter. Very strange.



D'Antoni has all kinds of Italian mannerisms. When he started drawing up a play on a piece of scrap paper for this guy (who looks like I should know who he is but all I come up with is Jud Buechler), I tried to see what the play looked like but the crowd pushed me out of the way. Insert your own joke here about what the play was.



Kaman spent the whole day on press row for some reason. He was also nice to the huge fat kid on the front row who kept shouting encouragement at him as he took stats.



This is just for the requisite Amare sighting, but also to give some love out to Britton Johnson, one of the finest high school players to come out of the great state of Utah. Good to see him keeping the dream alive.



Isiah and Vinny Del Negro, with Isiah fighting off a crazy middle aged white guy who is shouting "Isiah, you my boy, you gotta fix da Kicks, you my boy."

Anyway, it was a great weekend all the way around. I have to agree with Simmons on one thing, though: more C-list NBA players need to date C-list celebrities. Even the dudes making the 400k minimum ought to be able to pull something better than some of the arm candy they were trotting around. And overall, I was surprised at how family-oriented a lot of the players are. I mean, it's gotta be hard to pull chicks with your mom and an uncle hanging on your everywhere you go.

21 Comments:

At 7/10/2006 4:52 PM, Blogger japaja said...

i enjoyed this, thanks

 
At 7/10/2006 4:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

isn't that bryan colangelo with d'antoni?

 
At 7/10/2006 5:14 PM, Anonymous Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

Yeah, I think it is Colangelo, but it illustrates what it's like to walk around in a gym full of faces you've never met but have seen somewhere before.

There was also a scout for the bulls who I kept staring at because I couldn't figure out who he was. And Pavel Podkolzin is the largest human being in the history of the world.

 
At 7/10/2006 7:10 PM, Anonymous Harold Miner said...

ginobili is the next del negro

 
At 7/10/2006 8:05 PM, Anonymous mr exposition said...

"When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe"

 
At 7/10/2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous dddoyle said...

has no one else spotted the del negro/ginobili parallel?

 
At 7/11/2006 5:10 AM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Ginobili/Del Negro parallel? They look a little bit similar, but that's about it in my opinion. Different style of play, totally different relevance/significance for the league.

And off topic, since several people were fascinated by the Zidane head-butt, here's the game that goes along with it:

http://tonaz.altervista.org/zidane.html

 
At 7/11/2006 8:13 AM, Blogger Sparkles*_* said...

Let me be the first to make the requisite "uh-oh, looks like Mullin's off the wagon again" tasteless joke.

And thus balance was restored to the universe.

 
At 7/11/2006 10:36 AM, Anonymous Pacerslut said...

a brilliant piece of sports journalism! freedarko: nobody does it better.

 
At 7/11/2006 10:47 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

thank PCA. . .all i did was edit.

WV: uerbfln (flan made by an uber-herb)

 
At 7/11/2006 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dig the love for B. Johnson. I used to play pick-up games with him, his older brother Jeff (same game, five inches shorter) and Mike Vranes of BYU and T-Ville High fame.

They're a lot better than me.

 
At 7/11/2006 12:24 PM, Blogger coach said...

too bad , nba tv does not carry the summer games or does it ? it rather show the lame ruckers league.

 
At 7/11/2006 12:44 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

i think NBAtv is going to carry a lot of summer league games, but they haven't started yet. in the meantime, today they're showing the WNBA "Dribble, Dish & Swish Skills Challenge." it's fantastic!

 
At 7/11/2006 5:00 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Apparently you can catch the Heat vs. the Nets live on NBA.com right now. My connection is too slow, all I got was freez frames. Maybe you have better luck.

 
At 7/11/2006 5:03 PM, Anonymous Kaifa said...

Also just read that:

Pacers fans with a high-speed computer modem can catch the team's entry in the Orlando summer league on the Internet this week.
All games can be viewed via a Webcam, with no audio commentary, at www.orlandomagic.com.

Watch J.J. sit around live!

 
At 7/11/2006 7:58 PM, Anonymous dbeezy said...

"There was also a scout for the bulls who I kept staring at because I couldn't figure out who he was. And Pavel Podkolzin is the largest human being in the history of the world."


give chad ford credit for unearthing this absolute gem of a player.

remember when he had him slated as a top-5 pick? and even speculated whether he shouldn't be taken first overall? ahhh yes, in the world of basketball scouting the inmates really do seem to run the asylum.

that doesn't change the fact that i'd like to see him person, just to see what a mawfukka that big looks like. and ask him, innocently and with a heavy dose of irony, if he plays basketball. the funny part about that is up until quite recently - relatively speaking - the answer would have been 'no.' nba draft !! holla !!!

 
At 7/11/2006 8:07 PM, Anonymous Harold Miner said...

I was trying to equate Vinny and Manu in the following sense: offensive-minded off guards with flair and unpredictability that rely on an (almost) dominant big to clear the road. But you're right Kaifa: Vinny was really just a gunner, wasn't he? In terms of flair, he was more like Jennifer Aniston in Office Space: minimalist. By comparison Manu is that random tool who works with Jen: practically *covered* with flair.

Off to win more slam dunk competitions.

 
At 7/12/2006 8:11 AM, Anonymous White People Don't Know said...

A little off topic, but I don't think we'll have out side shooting problems in the next olympics.

arenas: "I’ve been working out on the international three -- it’s like a free throw now."

http://www.insidehoops.com/arenas-interview-071106.shtml

Discounting Nash, I don't know if there's an american(ish) player as suited for international competition as Gilly.

 
At 7/12/2006 10:10 AM, Anonymous Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

Speaking of Podkolzin, seeing him in person was one of the most unexpected things I've ever experienced. Not only is he 7-5, he's filled out and has a shaved head and an iron jaw that would make Mother Russia proud. My only explanation was that he's a product of the unholy union of Ivan Drago and the bride of Frankenstein.

But the craziest thing is that he's like the Ray Lewis (without the skills) of that Mavs summer team. He started and picked up 4 fouls in 4 minutes and then went to the bench where he screamed and waved towels and shouted at the refs while the other players sat on the bench and looked disinterested.

And at every timeout he was slapping everybody on the back and yelling incomprehensible motivational phrases at his teammates. Most of them looked scared, probably because they aren't used to seeing human beings who look and talk like Strong Sad.

 
At 7/12/2006 10:15 AM, Anonymous Pichi Campana Aguanta said...

and how much Red Bull does it take to get a body that size hopped up?

 
At 7/13/2006 7:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and just for the record, Podkolzin = Strong MAD, not Strong Sad

 

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