Have you ever looked in the mirror and just had one of those Office Space kicking and beating up the typewriter moments in your mind? I just sit around sometimes picturing myself sizing up a basketball with a bat while “Ghetto Boys” theme music is playing. Then I get to stompin’ that biyatch. Then after the poor inanimate object is deflated, I throw the bat away and get to pounding that Spalding face into the ground until my hands are bloody. I suppose you have to watch the movie to appreciate the humor in that scene.
Trust me, stranger scenes would come to you if you were doing what I’m doing where I’m doing it. God! How often can one man really be wrong? Apparently a whole hell of a lot. So many things happen here in China, you can’t even complain. People will start to say things. I just need a reality show following me around cause, like I said, the things I go through on a daily basis, people will just never believe.
When Bonzi Wells came to China, forgive me Bonzi, the first thing that came to my head is… No way. I didn’t mean it in a bad way. I meant “no way” as in, “he’ll see. No way he tolerates this.” Now, I defy you to say it’s only me and ask him what he saw. He came here for 14 games, went home for vacation and said, “Thanks but no thanks.”
He might experience the same colon conundrum as myself in that people will automatically say, “It must be him.”
Don’t get me wrong some guys do just fine. (Here we go) The guys that do fine out here feel they are lucky to play for money. Although they make far more out here than they would make anywhere else, these guys got nothing better to do and would play for food. And maybe I might be looked at as one of those guys, but I’m simply not. I remember teams and agents offering me what they believe to be so much money for a player with my name and giving me the “you idiot” face when I turn it down.
“He’ll take (this much)” they say, “he’s bluffing.” All I ever say is offer it and see if I’m bluffing. I just won’t go to play somewhere for less than I feel I’m worth. Especially an uncomfortable place. Because every time I go somewhere and start playing I get the same question, “Why have you played in Asia so long?” I’ve heard it all about what I make being too much. So the guys making three times what I make in basketball living on a European beach are three times better than me and are accurately paid? I don’t care if someone makes a million dollars a month and I care even less if he’s worth it. If he got it, he’s worth it. So don’t be upset if I get what I get. I challenge anyone to get accustomed to China Basketball and say you’re not underpaid just for getting through it. Details to come later.
Funniest thing is, I make very little more out here than what I made at Tau Ceramica! So Tau obviously felt I was good. I find myself thinking about Spain a lot and how I utterly cut my own nose off with that situation.
Just to clear it up… It was completely my fault I didn’t finish at Tau. I took bad advice rather than just signing what was offered. At the time, I didn’t see it. But now I know not accepting a good deal from a team older in basketball tradition than me is insulting. So for that, mala mia Vitoria. And now look, they’re even better after the Spanish Championship (that I missed) and Euroleague Final Four (that I also missed) than last year.
I asked a former teammate a serious question and I pose it to everyone: Who the hell can beat them? I have heard it in the past and it’s been an exaggeration most of the time but today I believe it whole-heartedly. This year’s Tau team would make the playoffs in the NBA. If not, they are at worst the best European team I’ve seen since Manu Ginobili‘s Bologna team. Which brings me to what I think the most about while playing here in China… Pablo Prigioni.
I bet people are trippin’ how I’m actually talking about basketball. I know, I’m lamenting it. But I am in China and there’s not much else you’d probably get away with talking about. I’m always up to date in the policies of the countries I play in. Anyway, why Pablo? OK. I am a scorer primarily. I am a sneaky rebounder and grit defender secondarily. But one thing I can do, anywhere on any level, is score.
BTW, I’ve read some of the snide remarks about my scoring tirade in Orlando Summer league being a farce. How is a 30-point performance lucky? 20 points I can see. But 31 points? Just for those people and no other reason, wait until Vegas ’09. Ever seen a black moon? I’m speeding up, not slowing down.
So I’m out here in China and I literally can’t help myself from stopping because I feel embarrassed to lose every damn game and score 40 points. I hate it. I had a game I had 48 in the beginning of the fourth quarter and despite everyone cheering for me to score 50, I refused to shoot. We were down by 30 the whole game, for goodness sake.
I already hear it… “He probably shoots every time he gets it.” Well in the Top 10 guys in scoring in China (me being Number 1) who do you think shoots the most? I’ll better you… I shoot the least. Look it up. It’s a fact. I shoot a little more than 20 shots a game. The second leading scorer shoots 33 times a game. Wait for it… 33 (thirty-three) shot attempts a game. If I shot that many times, I’d average 50. Why? Because of the one stat I take the most pride in, I make more free-throws than everyone else attempts. I am simply a difficult cover. But enough about me.
This is about PP. Point guardo Perfecto. Passador al Publico. Professor Periferal. (See how much time I have on my hands to make up new Spanish words?) He comes to mind because of how hard it is for me to score here efficiently. On a lower-level team, all the other teams do here is meet me 10 feet from the three-point line and sag everyone else in. I don’t care where you play, that’s hard to score against. They aren’t kids out here and I’m never even close to to tallest player on the court. When at Tau, Pablo made it very very easy to score. I never had to worry about anyone being near me. Pablo could get anyone an open shot when and where he wanted. I didn’t understand him when I first got there but I learned quickly… Don’t call for the ball or ask him to tell you where to go, just listen to his finger. And if his finger didn’t talk, you were in the right place so just wait. Boom! Dunk. Why do you think the best shooter in Europe (Mirza Teletovic) is always open for three? Have you seen Tiago, Pete, Will and Igor‘s FG%?
It’s ridiculous! It’s like they are playing alone. Pablo is 31 years old and he was the only one I stared at while working out in the weight room. I thought I was dedicated. Lil’ dude is from Argentina but looks like a Mafia hitman in the weight room. He could start on any caliber NBA team. He’s that good. NBA has surely come a calling but he may be one of those guys America never gets to see.
It gets so hard to keep getting beat up over here, I remember being wide open and getting hit in the nose with the ball. Man. I haven’t shot an open shot in… How long I been here?
Excuse this uncharacteristically short blog. It’s hard typing with one hand (injured it and I’m about a couple weeks from being back in action). However, enjoy this ever-so-rare international basketball schpiel. In all likelihood, it probably won’t happen again anytime soon. I’d much rather talk about real things that will affect my sovereign state of mind and consciousness much longer after basketball is over with. Things like the consistent whoring of Africa. Like how every non-African country, because of the selfish lack of insight of many African leaders, are being allowed to use unnatural mechanisms of fishing like bombing in African waters. Which in turn is depleting crustacean and other aquatic life to a point which is making the ecosystem unrecognizable (which affects us all). Not to mention taking all the fish we eat to foreign countries for profit.
Or how I’ve been going crazy trying to deprogam myself to accept the high possibility that a majority of what I have been taught (by supposed learned people) to believe is just a lie.
Now all I want to do is travel verywhere to see for myself what the truth is. I’m going to Nigeria this summer for more than just a FIBA African Championship. I want that too, but I want more. So I can’t have my Office Space moment on some unsuspecting Spalding court spawn, yet. But when I’m 35, you tell Spalding I’m looking for him and if he sees me run. Sure he’s taken me to find new avenues to discover more of self than just number 21, 6-foot-7 forward. And even taken me to experience basketball ecstacy in Spain and economic ecstacy in Korea. But you’ve also taken me places I won’t forgive you for. It’s for that that I’m whoopin’ your ass, that sick sense of humor. Laugh it up for now, Elmer. I’ll have the gun again.