February 22, 2008
It was nice to be in warm weather down in New Orleans. I was sick the whole week before, but I felt like a million bucks when I stepped off that plane with all the "PROBATE" on it. Maybe it was the 70-degree temperature change, or maybe it was all in my head, but I felt more ready to go then ever. I had woken up at 4 a.m., with a terrible sickness that nearly kept me out of the previous game and by 10 a.m. I was living the dream. I was ready like spaghetti.
After a very necessary three-hour nap, we headed over to the convention center for the NBA Jam Session. Most of the guys were to compete in skills challenges such as H.O.R.S.E and the 3-point challenge. I was there as a spectator which I enjoyed more than I would have if I had to compete. I got to sit there and watch the entire celebrity game while the other guys had to go get changed and warm up.
The celebrity game was cool except I didn't know half of those guys. Before the game started we walked past all the celebrities and I couldn't recognize anybody. I mean, I did recognize Chris Tucker who, until recently, used to look like he could be my brother (other look-a-likes include Plaxico Burress, Silkk the Shocker, and Chris Taft if Chris Taft looked better). I also recognized Terry Crews and the former athletes (Floyd Mayweather is the only person that can fit into a Power Wheels who terrifies me), but not the actors. I guess I need to watch more Heroes and American Idol if I want to recognize the celebrities on the court next year.
It would actually be better if guys stayed in character for the game, so that instead of wondering if that was that guy from that show I could be like "oh yea there goes HE-MAN on the blue team and The Human Torch on the red team. Personally, I would have liked to see Michaelangelo (ninja turtle obviously) in the paint, Dwight Schrute at the wing and like, McDreamy at the point. That's entertainment value. We all know who they are.
During the celeb game, Shaq walked in and shook hands with some of the D-League guys. I realized that he is just too big time. There was absolutely no spotlight on me whatsoever and I feel like he still stole it from me. Well dressed, outspoken, and literally larger that life, that's Shaq. I realized right then and there are two things that are just untrue. First, Shaq is way too big to ever jockey a horse, but maybe that was part of the joke. Second, a little Vitamin Water bottle is too small anyway. Shaq could drink it by the gallon.
After the celebrity game was over, Bill Simmons came and sat right next to me. He was talking with the coach of the Idaho Stampede for a while before I completely interrupted them. I didn't know exactly what to say, so, remembering what he wrote about last years All-Star weekend, I said "Redbull and vodka is a hell of a drink, huh?"
In retrospect, that was actually really lame of me to say, especially considering the fact that I interrupted one of his sentences and he didn't know who I was. Despite the interruption, he turned around and answered, "Yea, it is."
"I read what you wrote about it last year," I told him. "I completely agree."
He took another long look at me. He still had no clue why he should be talking to me.
"Yea," he finally said. "It's like a heart attack in a glass."
"See, that's why I like them, they nearly kill you, but then they get you hyped up," I told him.
I had his attention for sure, but he still didn't know why. He continued to be polite for a while before asking me what my name was.
"Yea, Rod Benson."
He knew my name already? Hell yea! After that, the confused look went away. We spent the next 30 minutes just talking about the D-League and the NBA while watching the H.O.R.S.E. and 3-point competitions. Guy is solid, real solid. I gotta be honest, if The Sports Guy knows my name, I must be doing something right. I'm gonna start big timing people, it's the obvious next step. I can see it now ...
"Look, Tyra, I already told you, I don't just give out my number. If you wanna hook up have your people call my people and we'll try to pencil you in. Gotta be honest though, Halle and Jenna have this weekend locked up and you know how wild Halle gets."
Sports Guy left to go judge the D-League dunk contest while I stayed in my seat and filmed the entire thing. I'm not quite sure if I'm allowed to post the video on here, so I won't just yet. The NBA contest video I had put up on Wednesday was quickly booted off YouTube for violating NBA copyrights. I think I'm the only player ever to have that happen.
Coming up on Monday, the ACTUAL All-Star game and my SportsCenter NOT top-ten moment.
Oh yea, Boom Tho t-shirt info can be found at TooMuchRodBenson.com. Hollar.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who plays for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. He also blogs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Ball Don't Lie. Read his archive, pay a visit to TooMuchRodBenson.com and always support the Boom Tho movement.