After three-plus tumultuous years in the nation's capital as a member of the Washington Wizards, JaVale McGee is looking to put down roots in his new home, the Mile High city of Denver, where the 24-year-old center will ply his trade for the next four seasons. Though he's only spent about six months as a Coloradan since a three-team deadline deal sent him to the Rockies, McGee will be paid handsomely to man the middle for the Denver Nuggets for the next four years — like, "$44 million" handsomely — and he wants to endear himself to the local populace, lest his unique and awe-inspiring combination of athletic brilliance and on-court boneheadery once again make him persona non grata with fans and employers.
The surest way for McGee to earn a place in Nuggets fans' hearts will be to fulfill the promise that no less a pivot-play authority than Hakeem Olajuwon sees in him, becoming a dominant center that leads a go-go Denver team deep into the postseason year in and year out. That, however, will take time. The fastest way to their hearts is, as always, through their stomachs, which is why Pierre's alter ego tried to show 10 fans that, economists be damned, there is such a thing as a free lunch.
Unfortunately, as Mile High Sports tells it, things didn't work out so well:
Unlike Dwight Howard, McGee appears in public without a cape and comes to the aid of Denver citizens by offering them free Chipotle burritos, via his Twitter account.
McGee posted on his official twitter page [on Monday]: "1st 10 people who meet me at chipotle in 5 mins get free meals! #OMM the one in Denver on 16th!"
It appears only one person showed to McGee's burrito party, posting [a] picture with fan Andy Mathisen.
Mathisen was grateful, tweeting back, "Just met one of my favorite @denvernuggets at chipotle. Thanks for the burrito @JaValeMcGee34 you're the man!"
McGee has since deleted the photo, which seems kind of odd, because even if he didn't meet his goal of feeding 10 Coloradans, we'd all still think it's very nice that he hooked Mathisen up. Then again, maybe the camera snapped at an inopportune moment and he was in the middle of blinking or had a boog hangin'. Nobody wants photos of bats in their belfry hanging around Twitter. (UPDATE: Young Mr. Mathisen has kindly shared the shot — no boogs or nothin'. Curiouser and curiouser.)
Still, you can understand McGee feeling a bit of frustration. He just wants to share some of his newfound wealth with the fans who have adopted him as one of their own, and despite offering that most enticing of commodities — a free burrito — he was only 10 percent successful. That's the kind of bummer that might put the kibosh on a lesser man's future food-based philanthropic efforts.
Luckily, we learned Tuesday that JaVale McGee is not a lesser man.
Three things about this are great:
1. That one day after falling short of his goal, McGee got right back on the horse and resumed pushing for his goal — hooking people in Denver up with free lunch. JaVale's showing persistence, which all Nuggets fans should regard as a positive sign.
2. That he switched his style up, changing locations from the unsuccessful Chipotle to a new venue, Noodles & Company, and making sure to leave more time on the clock — on Monday, he told fans to meet him in five minutes, but on Tuesday, he gave his followers several hours of lead time, increasing the likelihood that they'd be able to get into the area to take JaVale up on his offer. This shows that JaVale has learned from working with "The Dream" the importance of searching for an effective counter-move when his initial offensive attempt is rebuffed.
Plus, Noodles & Company promises "a warm, welcoming environment for relaxing between meetings, or while waiting to pick-up after the kids' youth sports practice," making it the "perfect stop-over for a satisfying lunch or dinner." JaVale's showing that he's family-friendly, which is important for ingratiating yourself with both the children of Colorado and their often skittish parents, who don't want to let li'l Johnny and Janie open up their hearts to an athlete who could be gone at the next trade deadline.
Right next door. Smart. Stay within yourself, JaVale, and play your game — a game that, apparently, extends the length of 16th Street, but no further.
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