Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some NBA Players Do Smart Stuff, Like Read Books

That's downright unmanly.

And naturally, it's most of the damned foreigners who are littering the locker rooms with reams of pulpy paper awash in impractical ink. (Ink should only be used to make posters of chicks with big knockers bending over in front of hot rods).

From a paper I'm embarrassed to admit I read, the Wall St. Journal:

[SP_NBAREAD1] Ariel Zambelich for The Wall Street Journal

Emeka Okafor of the Hornets recently finished Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road.'

Russian forward Andrei Kirilenko of the Utah Jazz and his Ukranian teammate, Kyrylo Fesenko, don't always get along. In fact, they can often be heard screaming at each other in the locker room.

But the nature of these arguments isn't what you'd expect from a pair of millionaire athletes: Their fights usually center around the boxloads of science-fiction books and classic Russian novels Mr. Kirilenko's family ships to him from Moscow. "It's always, 'who's got the new one?' and 'why did you start that one—I'm supposed to finish it,' " Mr. Kirilenko says.

As the NBA prepares for Sunday's All-Star Game, international players are becoming an increasingly prominent force on the court. The number of players born outside the U.S. who have cracked the top 40 in scoring and minutes played this season is more than double the number a decade ago. This season, foreign-born players have nabbed five of the top 15 spots on the NBA's highest-paid list.

As their numbers grow, these players are also bringing a different sensibility to the locker room. While many of their American-born counterparts fill their down time with laptops, phones, DVD players, videogame consoles and iPods, these NBA imports like to kick it old school. They don't just read books, they often read the sorts of weighty tomes you may not associate with professional athletes.

The Cleveland Cavaliers say Zydrunas Ilgauskas, a Lithuanian center who is obsessed with military history, often reads right up until tip-off. Orlando Magic center Adonal Foyle, who was raised on an island in the Grenadines with no electricity, says he's the only player he knows who stocks up on hardcovers before every road trip. Mr. Foyle started a book club recently with some nonbasketball friends and acquaintances and hosts discussions during the off-season at his home in Orinda, Calif.

New Orleans Hornets center Emeka Okafor, whose parents both hail from Nigeria, is one of the league's most accomplished fans of literature. He has finished six books this season, including "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy, "Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz's "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao." He says the reading binge is meant to make up for all the time he spent last year watching DVDs. "I had to get my book game back up," he says.

Many of the NBA's 83 foreign-born players say reading was always the main form of entertainment in their home countries. Cleveland's Mr. Ilgauskas says he grew up with no videogames and a TV that had only two channels. Nenad Krstic of the Oklahoma City Thunder says his basketball coaches in Serbia probably gave him as many books to read as his schoolteachers did when he was a child. "People are just brought up with more technology here," says Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut, who grew up in Australia. (Mr. Bogut says he's such a bookworm he can't bring himself to use a Kindle. "I get more of a thrill out of going through the actual book like you're supposed to," he says.)

Ok, I admit it. I read too the occasional book too. It's just I think these guys are warriors, you know? They ought to be men of action. Even when they are on their team jet, it seems to me they ought to be beating each other senseless in the aisles, or hijacking the plane, or something manly for God's sake.

But, reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road? That's a friggin' Oprah Book Club selection. That pacifist Viggio Mortensen played the lead in it. It's a book about the apocalypse and not a single bomb explodes in the whole thing.


If you're gonna read yourself some Cormac McCarthy, pick up Blood Meridian. That's a book for a man.

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Blogger The Fu2rman said...

Actually this makes perfect sense, and the article eluded to it...These players come from third world backwards places like Nigeria, Russia, Ukraine and Australia(?). They don't have DVD's and video games!

I bet that Canadian Steve Nash does a lot of reading. Freakin' foreigners!

What is next Little Women?

The NBA is getting pussified now too, such a shame...

1:35 AM  
Blogger Peter Dengler said...

You know what? I really fucking hate Canadians. We ought to shut down the northern border.

And, now that I've given it some more thought, we oughta block their access to our TV and Radio stations too. Let 'em watch the shit they produce up there for a change, those damned Canadian meatheads.

8:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Canadian, I'm proud to say I can travel anywhere in the world and not be spit on or despised.

How about you pig-headed, self-centered morons called Americans?

Clean up your character, read a book and fix your corrupt, warring nation before you bad mouth another one.

10:04 PM  
Blogger Pastorius said...

What are you talking about it you faggy canuck? I'm gonna kill you, you friggin' Molson-drinking motherfucker.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yea we drink fucking molson and were fucking proud of it. its better than your poor ass bud lite

12:46 PM  

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