American basketball fans are getting new rumors about NBA players going overseas every hour, but it's worth noting just how important these signings are for the local populations. While most Euroleague countries have impressive basketball traditions, they still consider the NBA the best league in the world. Any association with it is an important one.
However, certain players are not worth a demigod's welcome. Take Corey Maggette, 12-season veteran and newest member of PAOK, a Greek club based in the city of Thessaloniki. Maggette has regularly put up impressive stats, but he plays a style that can best described as soul-sucking. He's a black hole, stops offensive flows in its tracks, and often looks like he's more interested in drawing fouls than in getting the best possible shot.
Earlier this week, Maggette arrived in Greece to thunderous cheering. On Thursday, Kelly Dwyer picked out a news report claiming there were hundreds of fans to greet him. But that description does not communicate the sheer excitement present when Maggette first showed himself to his new fans. Based on this reaction, you would think we were dealing with John Stamos or Yanni, the two most popular men in the entire country (note: unconfirmed report).
There are two possible explanations for the joy that greeted Maggette's arrival. First, fans are so impressed with his sculpted physique that he has been heralded as an inheritor of the ancient ideal of athletic greatness. Either that or, through some weird wrangling, Greek basketball now outlaws passing and contact. These are bizarre rules, but sometimes you have to accomodate a star of Maggette's incandescent power.
(Via SB Nation)
- Corey Maggette