Every summer, the NBA marshals its rookies together for an epic publicity photo shoot, and every summer, the pictures get a little more awkward. (I mean, who can forget 2006's intimidating brick wall pose? Patrick O'Bryant has never looked so tough!)
This year, I was fortunate enough to join esteemed bloggers Henry Abbott and Dave McMenamin at the MSG Training Center in New York. (Not really. This is fake.) I decided to leave the scoops and interviews to the pros, and instead concentrated on the direction photographers were shouting at the rookies. Their words of encouragement, after the jump.
"All right, Joey Dorsey is angry. Joey Dorsey is as angry as a hornet! *click* That's it, that's it. *click, click* Oh, you're angry, Joey Dorsey. Argh! You're so angry. *click* I just stole your rebound, Joey Dorsey. What are you going to do about it? *click, click* That's it, show us the guns. *click, click* C'mon, angrier, give your best Artest after a rough nap ..."
"OK, OJ Mayo, I'm all aboard your mind train. Where we goin', boss? *click* Oh, we're getting philosophical, are we? *click, click* Nice, nice. We're dreaming big. *click* Where we headed, OJ? Talk to me, tell me with those eyes. *click* Are we going to the future? *click, click* Are we in the future, OJ? Do you own a small country? *click, click* Oh, nice, two small countries! *click* Nice ..."
"Lopez, right here, right here. *click, click* That's it, that's it, we're in the clouds, boys. *click* We're in the clouds, but we're not impressed. *click, click* We're in the clouds, but who cares, right? Clouds are stupid. *click, click* Love that smirk, Brook, love it. So nonchalant. You've obviously flown before. *click, click* OK, now, Brook, rest your arm ever so gently on Varejao's shoulder there ..."
"Ryan Anderson, lookin' at the camera on three ... *click* OK, we got it. Thanks. Yep. That's it."
"I love it, DeAndre Jordan. So zany, so wild. Keep it going. *click, click* Ha, yes, you're a goof ball. Excellent, excellent. *click, click* Wait, DeAndre, hold that face. Tony, Tony, get this kid a second basketball. He's too wild for one ball. Catch, DeAndre. *click, click* Ha, yes, that was it. That's what we were missing! *click, click* We had to get you another ball to balance out the wackiness ..."
"Here we go, Roy Hibbert. *click, click *Nice, stretch it out. *click* Whoa, you're a tall drink of water. *click, click* OK, c'mon, Roy, give me some Jackie Moon. Give me that love the camera sexy. *click* That's it, let's get sweaty, Roy. *click* Oh, we're talking rain forest sweaty now. Give me swamp sweaty. *click, click* Nice, the chicks are going to love this ..."
"All right, Joe, look: I'm getting hungry and I could really go for a smoke. So give me a quick Harlem Globetrotter goth, and let's get the hell out of here. *click, click* That's it. Perfect. *click, click* You're a natural, kid.
"I'm coming in nice and close for this one, CDR. No, no, you're OK, you're OK, stay there. *click, click* Nice, nice, I'm not even here. You don't even know I'm here. *click, click* It's just you and the basketball. *click* You and you're buddy there. *click* No, no, keep looking at it. *click, click* You're on an island, CDR. Make that baby your Wilson ..."
"Well, well, look at this little firecracker. *click, click* Were you born in a Kodak lab? *click, click* Because that's really weird if you were. *click, click* Big smile for mom at home. *click, click* They didn't give you a real jersey and yet you're still taking the best pictures of the day! *click, click* OK, big finish, Russell. I want you to zip the ball at Kosta Koufos over there. Really try and take his head off ..."
"Yes, that's it, Anthony. *click, click* Just like The Truman Show ..."