July 28, 2008
After ten days in Vegas, I managed to play just about 10 minutes. My MCL sprain was not really that bad; it was just poorly timed and just effective enough to erase me from the Vegas Summer League stat-books. I hate being a stat-book no-show.
It's not just that I sat out of games that I felt would be my final step to the NBA, but there were other factors that made it tough. My mom came out to Vegas for the whole week-and-a-half and only got to watch me consume post-game In-N-Out burgers. My boys came up for a week and never saw me take a shot. Well, they never saw me take one in the gym.
Still, I really did enjoy myself, and I learned many things while out in the desert heat. Vegas was about more than the Palms pool that had clear blue water filled with beautiful people at noon, and murky, swamp-like water filled with people overly determined to keep the party going by 6. (Or so I've been told.) It was about more than the buffet that Deji Akindele, Coleman Collins, C.J. Giles, and four UFC fighters (Silva vs. Irwin was at the Palms last Friday) swore was the best value they had ever encountered. To quote Deji: "Rod, I just won $25 on roulette, which I'm now using for my lunch at the buffet. I did it yesterday and I'm gonna do it tomorrow. The buffet is so good. Why eat anywhere else?"
I enjoyed myself because I actually learned some things while I was out there.
I learned that Coach Sam Mitchell is a funny dude. Seriously. For example, he doesn't believe in ADD, he just thinks there are "dumb people." What he really means is "pay attention when I tell you how to defend the ball screen." I was actually talking to him one time and he just cut off my sentence to bet me that I wouldn't go talk to a girl that walked by. Of course I said I would and I followed her for a few steps, only to see her walk over to Jamie Foxx and give him a big hug and kiss. I walked back over to Coach and told him that I, in fact, could not do it. Another one of my teammates said he didn't care who she was talking to, and went over to her. Alas, Jamie's security did care. I'll stop that right there.
I learned that Ryan Hollis is a little cold to me ever since the SLAM article came out. Yeah, I said I used to give you buckets, but hey, Ryan, who's talking now?
I learned that maids in Las Vegas NEVER question the things they find in your room while cleaning in the morning. They may look at you funny, but they always understand. Ahem, once again, so I've been told.
While Joey Graham is still on my mind, I learned that one elbow from him can make you hurt so badly that you don't even notice when you sprain your MCL.
I learned that the D-League is 90% of the Summer League and 10% of the NBA.
I learned that Nathan Jawai, easily one of the largest humans on the planet, and clearly the largest on my summer league team, sounds a heck of a lot like Mickey Mouse when he calls for the ball. "Joey! Joey! I'm open Joey!"
Most importantly, I learned that while I may have sealed my fate with an MCL sprain, there are still numerous people who support me and The Movement. My mom, friends, and Boom Tho t-Shirt wearing brethren were in attendance all week to cheer on the only guy on the bench with less responsibility than the towel boy. For that I am thankful.
The next step for me is unclear right now, but I'm not too worried about it. My knee is fine now and I know that whatever happens, it's time to get paid, baby! Boom.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who played for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. When he's not busy grabbing rebounds, he blogs one or two times a week on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.