Bye bye Spain

Bye bye Spain

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Bye bye Spain

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gabe_muoneke_face_bench_tau.jpgI am sitting here in a Vitoria, Spain condo not even a tenth the size of my house… Packing. What? You thought this would last forever? My three months are up and the young man I came to replace until he recovered, is at 100 percent. It was fun and good experience. I won some games and I lost a few but all in all I must say I did my job and I am looking forward to my next basketball venture… Anybody? Nobody? Hmm. I thought that bovine feces would be a hard sell. Can you blame me for trying? I’m supposed to be PC about these basketball stories even if sometimes it’s like making a colonoscopy seem like sexual fetish from your favorite King Mag model. Breath easy. Don’t struggle or scream. It makes it easier for both parties. Still though, the people were great here. In the end, I really had no choice… Again.

Without going into explicit detail, I’m on my way home from Tau and I’m so confused I’m not even sure whose decision it was. I read in the paper that Tau offered me an “offer not to be refused”. Really? Awesome! Can I have it now? Oh. It’s made of Dark Matter you say? Let me pull out my Dark energy pen and sign on the quasar. But of course, in typical fashion, it had to be portrayed in the media as if I was released and not wanted. Cause God forbid Gabe actually says “no” to a big-time team. Well, secret’s out. I was offered something I couldn’t accept so I said “ciao.” Anyway it was fun; my three-month tryout that is. I prefer to call it a tryout if you don’t mind. My teammates are phenomenal and I got experience on a big name team. I have little complaints. Good for the memory banks. I thought about playing somewhere else but honestly right now, these three months have been so draining, I just don’t know if I want to. I need to hit up Puerto Rico. That place is just a paid vacation. Never for money. Just no stress with all hoops!

Linton Johnson was here replacing James Singleton before I was and he only played something like six games in three months and went home. Then he signed with Phoenix and now he’s with Toronto. The stories I read about his stay here weren’t positive and I was wondering how smart it was for him to approach playing here the way they said he did… Well. Can anyone else hear that Louisiana accent in that laugh? OK, OK… I can laugh too. So a little ha ha at my expense again. No prob, I can take it. Shoot I can see why it’s funny. But remember I said it, when I laugh, it’s really going to be funny.

Sorry folks. It’s not that I have nothing to talk about (as if that were possible) I’m just damn tired and figured I’d drop a line on my last day here before I left. Kinda give the full on Bashitball on the go experience. How come I can’t just win the lottery? Or be a part of a new discovery in nano-technology with Bill Gates? It would be a lot easier and less stressful. Funny thing is though… I’ll get some asinine offer to play basketball in the coming season and I’ll do it again with every expectation of it being a grind to get through. And if it ends up I’m around good guys and nice people, it would be a welcome (unlikely) but welcome surprise. So I do it until I simply don’t want to. Or until I invent a nano-tech bug that can rebuild brain cells. Me first!

My last game was another adventure shrouded in mystery. 11 minutes, 4 points, 2 rebounds. I worked my way up from no respect to playing 20 minutes 5 out of 7 games. There was one stretch I was averaging near 10 ppg. Then all of a sudden, bop! One thing everyone knows though… This globetrotter can play. And if you don’t believe me, try me (at the 3 or the 4). As for Tau, they are on their way to try and win a Euroleague and ACB championship. They have a good chance to do it and I hope they win both. Like it or not, I had something to do with it. 30 games something. Even so… Talk is cheap. I’ve always preferred the look for yourself approach. Watcha say, Bird? “Boy, I’m uh sho ya!” Damn right.

It’s easy for people not to appreciate the non-spectacular no matter how much better it is. My freshman year at Texas I was in the Midnight Madness dunk contest. My first dunk I went in between the legs and dunked the hell out of it when going between the legs was still hard. I think about two students stood up and clapped. Kris Clack noticed my confundi look and told me, “you made it look to easy,” as he patted the young freshman to sit down. It’s happened all my career. I can’t make it look like anyone else’s but I can still do the job damn well. I played for a team overseas that literally gave fits about the contract I wanted. (Excuse the fact I won’t use names or numbers; just trust me and enjoy the point). The amount I wanted wasn’t at all unreasonable and I had proven myself by dominating the league in the past. Anyway I took what was a small fortune to most but a joke to major overseas hoopers, and proceeded to put on a show in shooting and showmanship every game to the delight of the underpaying team. 28 ppg, 10 rpg, 47 3P%. That same team proceeded to pay a “big name” player over three times what they payed me to average a whopping 16 ppg and 8rebs and no playoffs. They gave the guy my salary for the year… In advance.

Now look, it doesn’t bother me he got that money and I didn’t. It costs what you pay, it’s worth what you get. What bothers me is how quickly simple luxuries are ignored. It’s those instances I’ve gone thru that makes me jump out of my seat when I see the simplest fundamental move mastered. My teammates regularly gave me strange looks when I’d see something like Igor Rakocevic walk a guy down with two slow steps, one hard jab, come off a screen full speed, catch the pass, sense the defender cheating, rip the ball through to the left, drive by him, and rather than lay it up, stop after two dribbles for an eight-feet tear drop over the big guy who came to help… And miss. “Oh! Helluva move Rako!” And I get the two-headed look. Those plays are the impressive plays not only because not many can do it, not only because not many even want to do it but because the work it takes to get that shot is more of a talent than making the shot (he makes that shot more often than not, just so you know). You can see why my favorite basketball team to watch is the Spurs. Yes, I’m serious. Then Utah. Then N.O. Then English… Premiere League Soccer. I appreciate the things others ignore and sorry if I play that way. Want detail? No… Not now. I’m packing. Flying out mañana and I just don’t have the time for any stories. But ha ha ha, I will!

I initially just thought about writing a book but after this experience… Wow… I am definitely writing a book. The intricacies of every nook and cranny of this game never cease to befuddle and just tickle my sensories of amazement. Professionalism is not a given. Rather, it is a luxury. So if you are a hooper and blessed to play for a team of professionals be far more thankful for that than the money they give you. And don’t be an asshole when they are professionals. It’s like the people who are most professional are confused with being stupid. If you are looking at someone who is being nothing but professional and is totally in control like he/she is stupid… Who’s the stupid one? I get the same thing. I’ve had to deal with many teams that did things to me because they just felt I was a dumbass because I didn’t say anything. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So I don’t have to say a word. How long do evil men feel they can treat people like dogs and not pay for it?

Quick…

That brings me to something else. To all my friends making tons of money overseas… I believe you are all making a ton. I believe you are all rich. But to the ones that said “I’ve gotten every penny,” from now on… I don’t believe you. No one gets all his money. My second agent told me if you get 90 percent of the money on the contract in Europe, consider it a successful year. Sorry for doubting you, Bill.

Back…

Don’t confuse me as some Saint. I too have been an asshole. (I know, no one ever believes it! But yes, I too Brute.) I am so good at it, it’s only a recollection away to re-enact. So every once in a while, I provide a willing audience to an encore performance. It’s like riding a bike. Onward… But I have seen, you can’t just put on that mask everywhere. I had a coach in an Asian country once. He used to yell at the players as if they understood a word of what he was saying (he was an American.) I initially thought it would be a breath of fresh air to be in a foreign country with a coach I can relate to. But as the season went on it became painfully obvious that I was more comfortable with the local Asian players than the American coach. He talked down to the players, yelled and made no attempt to explain the smallest basketball detail to the players in their language. Rather he was intent on forcing them to speak and understand his English cursing tirade even though the majority of the world speaks the local language (guess that gave away the place and coach… Whatever. Deal with it.)

I had no issues with explaining myself in as much of the language I could pick up and they appreciated it. Just because these people didn’t speak your language didn’t make them stupid. On the contrary they were very much in control and showed it when I went off after one loss (as I felt I was the man and I cold do that… Shiiiiii). As kind and professional as they were they made it clear, lack of reciprocation and civility would not be tolerated. A nice tasty fine made it easy to recognize I was dealing with a boss. However they never pulled my card if I never pulled theirs. That is not a given. I’ve been places where everything is perfect and the team still looks for a card to pull when you’ve dealt the deck. It’s why I love Asia. I was so used to fighting teams, when I came to Asia I couldn’t handle professional teams. It’s so freaking hilarious how the rest of the basketball world looks down on Asian basketball. I assure you, if the Asian season was longer, none of the best players in Europe would play anywhere else. And in the case of Korea, if they let the best players back in, no one, I mean no one would play anywhere but Korea. Listen, the highest paid Korean… Well, I’ll just put it this way, is much happier than the highest paid European player. Do not believe the hype! (I swear I will write a book one day.)

You should hear the question I got the most this year, “Why have you played in Asia so long?” (in a way saying I’m better than that.) Ha! Because I enjoy maintaining sanity while playing basketball. In the KBL, they didn’t make a big deal out of anything. Didn’t look for a reason to fine you. They didn’t kiss your ass either. They were professionals. They were bigger, smarter, stronger and richer than you and they knew it. For that reason, they saw no need to flex their muscles to someone who couldn’t challenge a freaking corporation! Samsung… Hyundai… LG… Should I go on? You got a tech, you paid the fine and moved on. I didn’t appreciate it my first year (21 T’s in 54 games… Beat that Rasheed. I think he actually might have). But by my second year I was well scripted and totally prepared to be a total pro. Too bad they changed all the rules for the foreigners that can now play there. Otherwise… Ang ya as sai oh and kam sah am ni da, bitches.

I think that’s the biggest reason everyone I’ve ever known to have played in Korea likens the level of that league’s professionalism to the NBA. Don’t buy it? Go to www.kbl.or.kr. That is just a very small example of what kind of league they have there. As for the comments, I have no prob hooking you up with any info I have. Just e-mail my homies at HoopsHype. They forward me all the mail. I still see the comments. Did you see the one an NBA player’s mom left me? That couldn’t really be her. You think? Wow. If it was, man I am a jerk, huh? Ma’am you are totally right and my apologies if I offended you. It was simply an unfortunate incident. Talk about ripping your heart out. To the rest of you, if you’re nervous, you should be. I will get my stage. I will show my buttocks and it’ll be a full moon. Test me on the court. I bet you won’t. Don’t let the rough taste fool you. Please excuse the lack of a real story in this blog, I got a plane to catch. But for some reason I just feel a good story in about two weeks. Maybe by then I’d have figured out how to cheat the Texas lottery.

Shalom.

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