Andray Blatche means well, or at least, he seems to mean well. I’m not sure you could find many people to argue with that.
But somehow, he just kept finding his way into ridiculous stories during his seven years in Washington, which ended Tuesday afternoon with the news that the Wizards would amnesty him.
This is by no means a comprehensive list, but here are 12 Blatche stories I’ll likely never forget. They provide a window into how a nice enough young kid became one of D.C.’s most booed athletes of the past decade.
12. Seven-Day Dray
In the summer of 2009, after four years in the NBA, Andray Blatche changed his number. He did so while playing in the Vegas Summer League, which is odd to begin with for a four-year veteran. He chose the No. 7.
“It’s time for me to change my whole style, my whole mentality,” Blatche told me. “I’m wearing 7, and that means seven days [a week] of hard work, seven days of being focused. I’m all about business, and I’ve got a big opportunity I’m gonna take advantage of.”
His coaches, even then, were more measured.
“I told him, the one thing that’s preventing him from being a great player is just making sure he gets in phenomenal shape,” Flip Saunders said.
Which brings us to...
11. The Muscles
In January of 2011, Blatche called into Mike Wise’s radio show to defend his work ethic and various other parts of his game. Like his body.
“I’m far from soft,” he told Wise. “When I do lift, I’m the type of person, I don’t see results at all. I mean, I tried everything, man. I got a chef so I could start getting as healthy as I could eat. I don’t know what it is, man. I’m trying.”
As the type of person who can lift weights and not look like an NBA player, I sympathize. But man.
Anyhow, then came...
10. NWT - Conditioning
First the Wizards announced they would not be using Blatche this past Spring as he worked on his conditioning. Then, they crafted one of the great all-time box score lines during a trip to New Jersey, putting “NWT-Conditioning” next to Blatche’s name.
That same week, Blatche announced “Let’s get it” on his Twitter account at 3:32 a.m.
One of his friends wrote five minutes later that he and Blatche had “just left gym” and got “good work in.” Blatche subsequently retweeted this information. Later that season, he told reporters “I cut my hair. That’s five pounds right there.”
9. Lapdance Tuesday
Speaking of the early-morning hours, Blatche was linked to far too many clubs during his time in D.C. The most infamous, of course, was the South Florida nightspot that listed him as a host for “Lapdance Tuesday.”
“Pullin up to cameo n a sec we bout to go hard n the paint,” he wrote on the Tuesday in question.
As mentioned, he’s not soft.
About a year later, he was listed as a host for a Wizards Grand Finale party after the team finished with the league’s second-worst record.
8. The Poopy Shoe
Not his fault. Not his fault. Not his fault.
But people still joke about the shoe Gilbert Arenas may or may not have pooped in. Part of the legacy.
People “read the funny stuff, like me taking a crap in Andray Blatche’s shoes,” Arenas once told Sports Illustrated. “But nobody is going to ask what Andray did to deserve it.”
What did he do to deserve it? Arenas later told local blogger Kyle Weidie that some teammates had cut up Blatche’s suit, and Blatche assumed it was Arenas, so he then threw all Arenas’s clothes in the Jacuzzi, so Arenas retaliated.
“It never ends with him,” Arenas said. “It’s just one big ol’ prank war.”
But people still call him Baltche. Part of the legacy.
“I apologize to our fans and to Andray,” Ted Leonsis wrote on his blog after Blatche took the floor in a Baltche jersey. “And I will make sure something like this never happens again.”
6. Support From Ownership
Which brings us to Ted’s blog. Over the past few years, Leonsis called Blatche “in shape,” “a vocal leader,” “a top young big forward in the NBA,” and “a tough player.”
Most memorably, Leonsis wrote a lengthy explanation of why they extended Blatche’s contract in November of 2011.
“We extended Andray Blatche to show him our confidence in him,” Leonsis wrote. “We didn’t want Andray to focus on individual stats and to be playing for a contract. We wanted him to become part of a young core that is focused on teamwork and winning. A fresh beginning....I have spent quality one on one time with this young man and I like him. I believe in him.”
“Washington Wizards forward Andray Blatche, who was arrested Aug. 2 in an undercover sting, agreed today to attend a day-long seminar offered by prosecutors for men who solicit prostitutes.”
4. Keeping It Real
Long ago, when the Wizards were nothing but fun, Blatche promised a vlog in which he would discuss when keeping it real goes wrong. Like, what happens when an NBA player fouls out of a game?
“The right way to go is to go sit on the bench and cheer your team on,” Blatche said. “When keepin’ it real goes wrong, is you go up to the ref and cuss the ref out, like [$^#&#@ $&# $#@&*], then get another tech and get thrown out of the game for real. You know what I’m saying? There’s a right thing to do and the bad thing to do.”
Two-and-a-half years later, there was Blatche, on the bench, refusing to re-enter a game.
“We had coaches go up to him three different times, they said he didn’t want to play,” Flip Saunders said. “Fifteen years, never seen anything like it.”
Keeping it real had gone wrong.
3. The Triple Double Effort
Before JaVale McGee’s manic attempt for a triple double, there was Andray Blatche’s manic attempt for a triple double, which included jumping in frustration at a foul call, and throwing up his arms in agony when Cartier Martin rebounded a missed shot he wanted.
“The ball’s coming to him; your instinct is to catch it,” Phil Chenier said, as Blatche grimaced. “I like getting stats, but I hate to see players play for stats. He’s just standing there, the ball’s coming right to him. What is he supposed to do, let it go by him?...If Andray’s the leader you want him to be, go over, pat Martin on the back, and say don’t worry about it.”
Instead, Blatche attempted to race the length of the floor in 4 seconds to rebound his own missed shot.”
2. This is Your Captain
Starting the first home game of what would be his final season in Washington, Blatche grabbed the mic and said “This is your captain, Andray Blatche.”
By the end of the night, he was complaining about his role.
“You can’t keep having me pick and pop and shooting jumpshots,” he said then. “Gimme the ball in the paint. That’s where I’m most effective at. I’ve been saying that since training camp.”
1. Fake Andray Blatche
This one goes in the “only Andray Blatche” category.
“I swear people hate us just because we’re beautiful,” wrote the fake account, which is devoted entirely to making fun of Blatche.
“Tell me about it,” real Blatche responded.
Was he joking? Did that really happen? Was the entire thing a put-on? As with so much of the Andray Blatche experience, we may never know.