I’m finally back up in Sacramento after spending the last two weeks on the road. I’ve done nothing but eat Pizza Hut brand lasagna (apparently, real Italians think it’s better than their own mothers' versions) and watching various movies on my computer. There is always a certain amount of decompression time needed after going to Vegas, and most people only go for a few days at a time. My decompression process is going to take a bit more time after 12 days there and two more in Houston.
I would definitely have to say that the two days in H-Town were two of the toughest days of hoops I’ve had in a long time. I can’t decide if it’s because I played so poorly or if it was all the conditioning we did, but it definitely wasn’t the best of mini-camps. I’m usually a good mini-camp guy, and a summer league factor. Neither were true this time around. I guess I can’t be great all the time.
So, there were 14 days and you just heard the negatives. Well, maybe you didn’t consider the biggest negative, which is that I was in Vegas to play and I wasn’t a factor. That means that I was just as useful as any paying spectator. My agent joked that his finance guy played more than I did. I had no choice but to laugh.
Still, in any situation, I can find the funny, cool and ridiculous things that make it worthwhile. I’ve decided to list my Top 5 Vegas experiences that don’t involve scoring buckets, pulling down rebounds, or eating steaks as Plaxico Burress. Gambling certainly isn’t involved since I stopped when I saw an Antoine Walker(notes) press conference about how much money he owes 'em here. Boom Tho can’t have that happen to him.
5. Finally being able to tell the difference between Joey and Stephen Graham(notes). Having played with both or against both players at some point, I had never been able to tell them apart. Finally, this weekend, I was around both of them at the same time. I took that opportunity to strike up a conversation.
"I don’t want to make this weird," I started, "But I can never tell which of you is which."
As it turns out, the taller one told me that he was Joey. I didn’t have to ask anymore. Joey is the taller one. So, from a distance, if they’re alone, I still won’t be able to tell them apart. But if they get close enough to tell who's six-foot-four and who's six-six, I’ll be good.
4. I just switched over from a BlackBerry to an iPhone and I’ve been adding apps like crazy. Among games like "Tiger Woods," "Doom," and "Assassin’s Creed," I got a simple game called "The Moron Test." It really has nothing to do with intelligence and everything to do with patience and diligence. It took me five tries to beat it, so now I get more enjoyment from trying to beat my best time and from watching other people play.
While on the way from Houston to Vegas, I decided to bet some guys on the team if they could beat it in five tries or less. Chase Budinger(notes) beat it in six, the rest of the guys gave up after five. The best part was watching Joey Dorsey(notes) miss the first question. The first question simply says, "Press the red button to begin." Joey pressed the green one.
3. I don’t particularly like giving out autographs when I’m not playing because I kind of feel like I’m lying to unknowing people by telling them I’m one of the greats. I still do, of course, because I love the fans and they tend to value that stuff way more than I can ever fully fathom. So when a woman comes up to me after one of our games that I didn’t play in to ask me for an autograph, I do it.
I’m sitting in the front row of the stands watching the Grizzlies take on the Knicks at the time and she hands me a book. She flips it open to a picture of her and Darrell Arthur(notes). I start to blindly sign it, but pull the pen up before the ink hits the photo. I look up at her.
"You know that’s not me, right? He’s playing in the game."
I point over to Darrell who is playing defense right in front of me. The woman takes her book and runs away. Brilliant.
2. After our last game, there was a lot of hoopla. It wasn’t about my game, in which I didn’t play, but about my Boom Tho bicycle hat, glasses, and shirt. A photo was taken and Twitpic'd by @blazersedge and RT'd many times. Then I did my first ever post-game TV interview for a game that I didn’t play in, and they asked that I keep my gear on. Solid.
1. The absolute highlight, though, depending how you look at it, lowlight of my trip is that I began to read the "Twilight" series. I started on July 5th, and one week later I had finished all the books.
There were two immediate side effects of my actions. First I became a member of "Team Jacob." If you know "Twilight," then you know what I mean. Second, I found myself narrating the summer league games with a girly, emotional tone. It was bad, but oh so good.
Now is the dead period before everyone decides camp or overseas trips. I think I should take the time to read "Watchmen" again so I can reclaim my manhood.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who last played for the D-League's Reno Bighorns. When he's not busy reading books my girlfriend loves, 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.