With the new Euroleague season approaching and the number of player-bloggers in Europe increasing, I will give you a (more or less) regular roundup about interesting stories these writers have to share with us.
Let’s start with the only “official” Euroleague blogger so far, Davor Kus. The Cibona guard describes why he and some other top Croatian players have returned to Cibona; it’s all about pride.
We will try to come together as soon as possible, because togetherness will have to be the identity of this team. It’s all connected with Croatian pride and the very important step we took at the Olympics. We had as our biggest strength a really good connection between the players, and now we have to do same thing in Cibona. The atmosphere is good, the fans are more interested than ever. It’s a good base to start from, but of course we have to prove it on court. We are all hungry now to accomplish something big with Cibona.
Well, it is all nice and interesting what Davor has to tell us, but it is greatly different from the problems Gabe Muoneke had to handle. The Nigerian forward was signed this summer by French team ASVEL but in the meantime has already been replaced by Amara Sy.
Rather, I’ll just tell you what my old agent (we’re still friends) and all my close friends said when I told them I was considering France (normally for young upcoming careers not really established, but my family in Francafone-ish and well… the money) and this is what they’re offering. Everyone I asked said the exact same thing, “Check the contract again. France doesn’t pay like that.”
What do I know? I’m a Euro neophyte. The echoing statement was, for that much they will give you such a hard time and if you don’t play like Kobe Bryant they will look for a way out of it. Ignorance is bliss my tailpipe. If I had known, they could’ve offered a million.
It began when I got there. “Wow, you’ve lost a lot of weight.”
Normally, club officials are afraid that the players arrive with too much weight and unprepared after the summer holidays. But here it was different. You know why?
They said I’m not the player that played for Nigeria vs. France in 2006. 2006. Well, they got me on that one. I’m not the player I was in 2006, I’m the player I was six months ago with Tau … in 2008. I left the dumbbells in Japan.
Wow, this looks like nice scouting by the French organization. A quick search on Google would have helped them avoid the weight surprise.
Gabe Muoneke in 2006
Gabe Muoneke in 2008
Another neophyte to Europe is one of the most famous US bloggers, Rod Benson. The athletic power forward signed recently with the French Euroleague team SLUC Nancy (hey, France again). And the least one can say is that Rod has adapted quickly to the French nightlife.
There was only one drink left on the table. Clearly it belonged to me and everyone looked at me like I had been informed of the rules, now it was time to play the game. I started shaking my head as I saw the teeth marks on the birthday boys finger. I told them I didn’t need my finger bitten to kill my drink. I kill drinks like lions kill gazelles.
The sweet old restaurant owner was suddenly not so sweet or old. He reached for my hand and I tucked it away. Suddenly, there were four people fighting for my hand — a fight I could not win. Teeth plunged into my index finger and I knew that my only way out was to drink the drink. I took that bad boy like I was Frank The Tank. As soon as the glass was empty, my hand was once again mine.
Nice drinking games that they have there in Nancy. And it really seems that Rod is not as familiar with the French habitudes.
After the game, there was the official French National Team after-party, which was actually my first nightlife experience in France. Right off the bat I realized that arriving at 11 p.m. meant that I was arriving way too early. All the French guys arrived at like 1 a.m. I later realized that the fact that I can’t speak French, coupled with loud music and noise, means that there is almost zero reason for me to open my mouth at a club. I did a lot of talking to myself, dancing with myself, and kickin’ it — with myself. It was kinda awkward being the only person who knew, and danced, the entire Soulja Boy “Crank That” song.
The D.J. started playing some Snoop Dogg and Tupac and soon enough I was the only person C-Walking, too. I kind of felt like I was a mime. I said no words, I made no eye contact, I just moved around by myself while many people drank and watched.
Finally, a woman walked up to me who spoke pretty good English.
“Do you play for the Nancy basket team?” she asked.
“As a matter of fact I do,” I responded proudly.
I felt like I was finally going to get a little recognition. It was about coddamn time, too.
“Can you help me meet Tony Parker?” she asked.
“My English is poor. Can you meet me to Tony Parker?”
Well, we wish Rod good luck in his “adventures” in France. And even if today is not July 14th, we’ll stay in the Hexagon as we come to a true hip hop expert: Stephen Brun. The PF who looks more like a young Johnny Halliday than an author of The Source is presenting on a regular basis his new discoveries on “intelligent” hip hop. In his current post, he talks about the MC and Producer Jay Electronica, unfortunately for our international readers only in French.