July 24, 2008
(Ed. Note: This is part two of Rod's week in Vegas at Summer League. Click here to read part one.)
I ended up having to sit out the first two games of the Summer League. I expected it so I guess I didn’t feel too weird about sitting on the sidelines while some members of The Movement sat behind me and cheered on the Raptors. I tried to warm up for the second game, but nine minutes of warm-up (all that they have time for) is not nearly enough for my knee to go from "not functional" to "completely mobile." I focused my attention on a scrimmage we were supposed to have on Tuesday of last week. I figured I'd have enough time to get loose and give it a go. Plus we had a day off the next day so it would be a perfect opportunity to gauge my injury.
I learned two things that Tuesday: that it was extremely painful and awkward to warm-up, and that it was even tougher to stay warm. My play ranged from decent, to mediocre, to just plain bad at times. I had no athleticism. Sure I could run, but not fast. I could jump, but not touch the rim. I felt like it was obvious to everyone there what was going on. 30 minutes of warm-up proved to be just enough for me to get to 70% effectiveness. A guy like me needs all 100 of his percentage points.
We now had a couple days before the next contest, so everyone was out in the lobby, bars, and clubs at the Palms. Palms is definitely the hotel of choice for young people. There were lovely ladies all around and many ballers trying to stake their claim. My boy JGant and I went up to the Ghostbar because it was low key and in the same tower as my hotel room. If I got tired, I could easily catch the elevator down to my room and go to bed.
When we got in, this guy at the bar asked me if I had three quarters with me. I told him that I did. He then took his Corona bottle, laid a dollar bill on the top, and placed the quarters on top of the dollar bill, securing it in place. JGant and I had no idea what this was all about. He then asked a girl nearby to try to remove the dollar from its spot, without moving the bottle or the quarters, all while using only one finger. Clearly we all looked at him like he was crazy. After she failed many times, and I failed many times, he whisked his finger past the bill knocking it out and leaving the quarters in their place. It became evident that this was a master pick-up line and that he was good at what he did. All the women in the vicinity were now trying to knock the dollar off of his bottle.
The next day, JGant and I practiced this over and over until we got it exactly right. Then we spent my day off by the pool, asking girls if they could do it. I found a way to entertain the ladies that day without ever having to score a bucket. All it cost me was $1.75.
Although I would gladly have paid anything to be healthy for the next day's game, only time would tell that tale. I still wasn't sure how I would fare with only nine minutes to warm-up. If only quarter tricks got you women and NBA contracts.
Rod Benson is a Cal grad who played for the D-League's Dakota Wizards. When he's not busy channeling David Blaine, 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.