Now that his service for the Argentina men's national basketball team at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London is over, point guard Pablo Prigioni can begin focusing on preparing for his next challenge — becoming the oldest rookie in NBA history, a somewhat dubious honor he'll earn when he hits the NBA court as the third-string point guard on the New York Knicks this summer. While it likely struck many Knicks fans as somewhat odd that the franchise made a point of targeting a 35-year-old who's played professionally in Argentina and Spain for the last 17 years, it fit the pattern of many of the team's other offseason acquisitions, which included über-veterans like 39-year-old Jason Kidd, 38-year-old Marcus Camby and 39-year-old Kurt Thomas.
More than any other NBA team, the Knicks have established themselves as collectors of antiques. In this respect, Prigioni ought to fit right in, as he has apparently owned roughly a dozen antique cars and mopeds over the years, fancying himself not only a sharp-eyed collector of classic modes of transportation, but also an able mechanic, choosing to do most of the restorative work on his finds by himself in his own home garage. (Given the injury concerns surrounding hard-driven vehicles like Kidd, Camby, Thomas and Amar'e Stoudemire, this could come in handy in the New York locker room.)
Prigioni discussed his love of antique cars (and mopeds, and typewriters, and other things) with ESPN New York's Jared Zwerling, revealing that the next item on his wish list is either a "1962 or '64 Ford Falcon" (though Zwerling doesn't specify if the point guard's looking for the North American model or the Argentine version). But that wish list is topped by another Ford, one made famous a dozen years ago by the greatest actor of our generation:
Speaking of bigger, [Prigioni] said his dream car is the "Eleanor." It was the 1973 Ford Mustang Mach 1 featured in the 2000 feature film, "Gone in 60 Seconds," starring Nicolas Cage.
"It's wonderful," he said.
Prigioni usually uses different car websites, magazines and TV shows — his favorite is "Overhaulin'" — to discover new cars he wants to buy. But he thinks coming to New York City will give him an easier time to find that rare Ford Falcon. He's also hoping that he gets to meet his idol, Chip Foose, star of "Overhaulin'."
"Maybe I'm a lucky guy and living there I can meet Chip, and he can give me some good ideas," said Prigioni [...] "And maybe one day, I'll buy my 'Eleanor.'"
What a touching, beautiful sentiment. You can't help but pull for Prigioni, hoping against hope that if he looks hard enough and saves up enough, he'll finally find that dream ride.
There is, of course, one problem with this — as any true Cageophile knows, "Eleanor" in the 2000 remake of "Gone in 60 Seconds" was actually a 1967 Shelby Cobra GT 500. The '73 Mustang was the ride in the 1974 H.B. Halicki original. However, considering that Halicki's character was called "Maindrian Pace" (ugh) while Cage's character was called "Memphis Raines" (sweet), and that Halicki himself was called "The Car Crash King" while Cage is called either "The Wicker Man," "Ghost Rider," "The Weather Man," or any of the names from the comments of this Videogum post, it seems like a safe bet to assume that, irrespective of which car he'd prefer, Prigioni is definitely imagining himself as Nic Cage behind the wheel. Wouldn't you be?
The good news for Prigioni is that for the low, low price of $17,000, he can buy his Eleanor today. He can probably afford it, too, since he's going to be making about $1.74 million to play for the Knicks over the next three years. But he's got to get on it, like, right now — that auction closes in about four hours. Hurry, Pablo! The seller even has 100 percent positive feedback — make your dreams come true!
Hat-tip to the excellent Knicks blog Posting and Toasting.