Ball Don't Lie - NBA

NBA players are usually so tall that the smallest ones -- men who in any other context would just be normal people -- are often considered to be adorable little scamps who use their minor physical gifts to stay relevant in a league of giants. Never mind that they're unbelievable athletes with physical tools that most 25-year-olds would kill for -- at the highest level of basketball, they look like the closest thing to that crafty dude that wins with his tricks at the local gym.

This is ludicrous, because these men lead lives that we could only dream of. For instance, diminutive Mavericks guard J.J. Barea(notes) has a pretty impressive girlfriend. From Jeff Caplan for

Listed graciously by the Mavs as 6-feet tall, but really pushing 5-10, Barea already has beaten the odds on the hardwood in his fifth NBA season. And now he's got a good thing going with fellow Puerto Rico native Zuleyka Rivera, who is Miss Universe 2006. For competition purposes, she's listed at 5-9.

"She has NBA League Pass now," Barea said, smiling. "She watches our games. It's pretty good, man." [...]

How does one go about contacting Miss Universe?

"Text message," said Barea, who did his own reconnaissance work to obtain her phone number. "I sent her a message to say hi, something simple like hope you're doing good."

Congratulations to Barea, who as you can see from the photo above is dating a very attractive woman. Reacting to that fact by stating, "It's pretty good, man" is perhaps the most blatant case of understatement in NBA history, even more than that one time Eddy Curry(notes) said he was pleased with the Knicks' postgame spread in the locker room.

Miss Rivera stands 5-foot-9 according to her Wikipedia page, so in high heels she is presumably several inches taller than Barea. This would be a source of embarrassment for the guard, except that he's used to being dwarfed in his professional life and probably doesn't have to deal with the shame of dating a taller woman when she is Miss Universe. When she's on his arm, there is very little reason to feel like he's not measuring up.

Everyone at BDL wishes the best of luck to the happy couple. For Rivera's sake, we can only hope that Mark Cuban does not hang out around her awkwardly at home games.

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