We've discussed Rashad McCants and his strange eloquence before, but never have we actually had the opportunity to read the poetry he told Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl he is writing all the time. Apparently, he's been putting in work, with plans to release a book before the season is over. Below is a poem that he wrote about KG's mentorship. Etan Thomas, watch your back!

he came to me with open arms, like a hawk embracing his young,
and he fed me food out his mouth but I was starving for knowledge.
the type of knowledge that can't be fed by hand or voice, but by heart.
so when he spoke he touched my soul, and my soul would smack me if I didn't listen
the words he spoke weren't for the ears to hear.
because his words were real, it's hard to hear the truth when lies are so loud.
I put my earphones on so I can hear nothing and see everything.
lies could never steal my attention when he …
he … spoke.

The eyes never lie. and when he spoke he wore no glasses.
he wanted me to see the truth, which was? that everyone wears glasses to protect lies,
truth? glasses? lies?
sounds like earth, sounds like humans, sounds like America.
but if that's so where is he from? not from here, he has no glasses!
there was an aura, a light, a truth, about him.
special? never. different? maybe. human? impossible. so I asked him one question to expect one answer
when you walk and talk and teach how come everyone can stare at your light, your aura, your truth?
because we are the same.


At 9/20/2006 2:58 PM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

let's take tom verlaine off the top 10 list and add mccants.

At 9/20/2006 3:36 PM, Anonymous Corey V. said...

I'm afraid I'd have to deny getting a list from you at all and delete it from the site if that were to happen. Sorry. I know you understand.

At 9/20/2006 4:49 PM, Anonymous seezmeezy said...

i found alipour's condescending attitude toward mccants' piece unwarranted/rome-esque at best, ignorant/spiteful at worst. the kid actually puts some flavor to his poem, whereas many other hoopsters/wordsmiths seem to get a free pass on garbage compositions because expectations are low.

i remember reading redick's "poetry" and wanting to barf because half-ass raps with no originality are not poetry, they're half-ass raps with no originality. don't get me wrong, mccants' piece is not particularly moving, but at least he is willing to try a relatively unusual format for nba PF's (poetic failures.)

the free verse approach reveals the depths of mccants' personality: his eccentric world-perspective is filtered through his novice-level writing skills without shame or timidity, much like a talented but unrefined young unblushing hoopster throwing down monster jams but missing free-throws by the bushel. hopefully, he will keep honing his off-court craft and one day have the voice to match his fascinating point of view.

At 9/20/2006 5:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Lawyer IndianChief said...

seezmeezy (is that an alias for sean may?) just killed it.

At 9/20/2006 5:07 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

oh also there is nothing more played or condascending than white people saying/writing "word" to jokingly indicate that something black just happened. like someone passed gas or someone's fly is down.

At 9/20/2006 5:14 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

speaking of writing and know-nots, while looking for web mentions of this great part i stumbled upon the following:

Certainly, I read some idiotic things in this category as I trawl the internets, and the rambling or masturbatory or useless (try freedarko.com for former two – someone sent the link my way a couple years back because of my interest in hoops - ick) writing I run into makes me want to run far away.

I draw this to you attention not because I care, but because I never cease to be amused by "smart" people who think that they're flexing intellect by dismissing the style. preach on, chirpies. the ancient art of persuasin rests sweetly upon your saintly palms.

At 9/20/2006 6:28 PM, Anonymous J.E. Skeets said...

"It's just the disadvantage of being me."

Ch’eng-Huang, I love that...

At 9/20/2006 8:32 PM, Anonymous Torgo said...

I actually kind of like the poem. It's raw, and could probably use a bit of reflection/revision that nearly every written piece could. He definitely has a unique perspective on glasses, and I find the stress he puts on it kind of fascinating.

Still, from reading it, this seems like it's more made for listening to, spoken word style. The words have nice weight to them, and I'd be interested to hear how and what parts he'd stress.

Pretty gutsy for a young athlete to work on stuff like this. I'm impressed.

At 9/20/2006 9:46 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

skeets, i did some google research and still have no idea why you referenced the chinese deity that protects a village

torgo, very heartfelt and accurate remarks, though i can't get over "he definitely has a unique perspective on glasses"

At 9/20/2006 9:56 PM, Anonymous Torgo said...

I'll admit my wording was a bit, well, trite, but I've never come across a connection between glasses and obscuring the truth/lying before. Shades, yes, but never glasses. As someone with lousy eyesight, and an aversion to contacts, it took me by surprise.

unless I miss your point. Care to expand on that? This could be an annex, The Free Darko Institute of Discussion of Athletic Literature. No ghost written biographies, though...

At 9/20/2006 11:11 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

i just liked the sound of it.

did anyone else notice that the elton brand follows him to the premier of the herzog movie he produced? that said, nothing of note really happens in it.

At 9/21/2006 9:40 AM, Blogger Vegan Viking said...

When I am about to read a contemporary poem on the internet, I expect confessional gushing of a middle-school quality.

But...that was kind of good!

Isn't there a little ambiguity? Are you supposed to think "he" is great, or is there the possibility that "he" is not so great as expected?

"special? never. different? maybe. human? impossible."

A little tension and mystery in the poem to suggest perhaps we should have mixed feelings about this person giving advice.

At 9/21/2006 10:07 AM, Blogger Vegan Viking said...

Does that poem have a title?

At 9/21/2006 10:24 AM, Anonymous J.E. Skeets said...

Shoals: No reason. I just think moats and walls are underrated. (But the fact that you even tried searching for a link . . . man, you never cease to amaze me.)

Pacifist Viking: I'm with you, especially re: that one line: “special? never. different? maybe. human? impossible.” . . . is nothing, Rashad?

At 9/21/2006 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you whisper songs of life to me
you make my heart soar and my spirit
without you
I am nothing
I am a pathetic shell of slovenly despair
shuffling aimlessly
adrift in the swells that promise height after height
only to roll ever on
and I find myself
in the depths

April is

April is
the name of my bicycle
(her name is tatooed in a sweet glittery sticker on her sky blue frame)

At 9/21/2006 12:49 PM, Anonymous pyrex chapman said...

this is the complete wrong place to broach this subject, but what are people who played fantasy basketball at hoops.sports.ws doing this year? their point-per-minute scoring system was brilliant. i'm not relishing the idea of returning to rotisserie or weeklong head-to-head leagues. sorry for interrupting the slam poetry session. get it, SLAM POETRY!

At 9/21/2006 1:34 PM, Blogger GentleWhoadie9000 said...

biguppance here:
"oh also there is nothing more played or condascending than white people saying/writing "word" to jokingly indicate that something black just happened. like someone passed gas or someone's fly is down."

i'm just glad nobody outside of Pittsburgh's East End knows what "nephs" means.

At 9/21/2006 3:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had classes with McCants in college....either that is not his work or he dictated to someone....he can't spell nearly that well....

At 9/21/2006 3:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This poem is an absolute turd. Cliche. Wordy. 7th gradey.

At 9/21/2006 5:02 PM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

if you want to pass critical judgment on something, esp. for its being immature, maybe try avoiding the word "turd"

At 9/21/2006 9:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks is a NOT a horrible poem is severely under read.

Of course, most of this country is severely under read, including McCants’ himself; any poet worth his salt wouldn’t write such tripe, banal junk if he had actually read some good poetry.

And trust me, it’s out there.

At 9/21/2006 10:44 PM, Anonymous cephalapod said...

first stanza is too sappy and earnest. if you read the second stanza alone its decent poem, more mysterious--less about the thing and more about many things. impressive.

At 9/21/2006 11:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Impressive? Hardly.

I guess it's all relative though to what you've read in the past.


At 9/22/2006 2:21 AM, Blogger Bethlehem Shoals said...

anon, it's written by a basketball player. we've all probably heard of whatever poetry books you've got on your shelf; wrong set of standards to apply here. lower the bar and recognize the difference in idiom, and maybe you'll see why people are pleasantly surprised by mccants' offering.

more to the point, if you think we're holding this up as absolute poetic achievement and you're here to reveal our cosmic error, ease up a little. there is such a thing as levity, even regarding Poetry.

At 9/22/2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Brown Recluse, Esq. said...

shoals - word.

(yes, i'm being ironic.)

At 9/22/2006 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The poem showed promise, but Alipour was right. Rashad plays in the NBA because he's in the top .01 percent of all people in this nation who can play basketball professionally. His poetry was great, just like my ability to play NBA Live 2006 is great, but I am not about to quit my day job to pursue it.

At 9/22/2006 4:58 PM, Blogger Boom Boom said...


Straight from the get too many logical inconsistencies litter the opening lines...and it never recovers.

he came to me with open arms, like a hawk embracing his young,
and he fed me food out his mouth but I was starving for knowledge.

1. Hawks have no arms, they have wings
2. I'm just guessing here, but I'd imagine that "fed me out his mouth" doesn't work since it's probably female hawks that rear their young
3. "But" does not mean the same thing as "because"...

That being said, McCants' metaphor (from the link in the blog piece) about him being the big black book in the library with no writing on the cover is one of the illest things I've ever heard a NBA'er say.



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