My wife and I went out for our friend's birthday this weekend. We got her a tres leches cake from a bakery in Sunset Park, had them write her name on it and then ate it at a bar between rounds of Jenga. It was a pretty cool way to celebrate someone's birthday, I thought.
And then Richard Hamilton's friends had to go and one-up me by buying the 35-years-young Chicago Bulls guard a cake featuring four versions of him playing poker at a table next to outsized representations of his iconic accessories and career achievements:
Kind of makes "Happy Birthday, Amanda" seem crummy by comparison.
If you're surprised by the level of detail and intricacy here, you're not alone — Rip himself seemed taken aback by the confectionary present:
— Rip Hamilton (@ripcityhamilton) February 24, 2013
(As an aside: "Can you believe that everything you see is cake?" sounds like a Patton Oswalt punchline.)
It's difficult to figure out which part of this cake — which, person-type figure-wise, calls to mind the treat commemorating the playoff posterization delivered by Hamilton's Chi-town teammate, Taj Gibson, on Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade two postseasons ago — is my favorite. The representations of Hamilton throughout his basketball journey — from his college days at UConn (top of the photo) to his brief tenure with Michael Jordan's Washington Wizards (lower left) to his prime years with the Detroit Pistons (upper left) to his present-day period with the Bulls (right) — are all great, especially given the attention to detail in differentiating Hamilton's look and hairstyle from each era. (I'd forgotten about the taped wrist at Connecticut.)
The box holding a replica of Hamilton's ring from the Pistons' 2003-04 title run is a very nice touch; the box propping up a crisp, clean Air Jordan, which Rip has rocked religiously over the years, is cool, too. And considering he's been wearing it since the '03-'04 championship season, it'd be sacrilege to have a Rip overview that didn't feature his signature face mask. On the sneak, though, the small plaque commemorating the highest-scoring game of his 14-year NBA career — hanging 51 on the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 22, 2006, a triple-OT affair that the Pistons lost, but in which Rip played out of his mind — might be the coolest, because everyone wants to be reminded of putting half a hundred on somebody.
Wait, no — I'm overthinking this. The best part of this cake is that it is all cake. Delicious, edible cake. Hopefully Rip took some leftovers home with him; he could probably use something sweet to clear the sour taste of a 30-point Sunday night beatdown at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder in which the Bulls shot just 29.1 percent from the floor and he missed five of his seven field-goal attempts. After a night like that, a bit of dessert comfort's in order.