“Why do you wear sunglasses in the locker room after games?” I asked Jordan Crawford on Thursday.
Little did I know that the answer would soon have me listening to Wu-Tang Clan and Gang Starr tracks in the Verizon Center media room. Without headphones, too.
“Oh, that’s just a part of my steez,” Crawford replied.
“Part of your what?” I asked.
“My steelo,” he answered. “My style.”
Now, apparently I slept through the ’90s, because I was familiar with neither steez nor steelo. My kind colleagues, plus some Wizards staffers, attempted to get me up to speed, which is why we later went through the collected works and lyrics of Method Man, the GZA, the 702 and Missy Elliott.
“Style with ease,” I guess, but no one could tell me why it isn’t “steaz,” then. Or “stease.”
Anyhow, I wondered if I was the only one inside the arena so ignorant of ’90s lingo.
“Could you just define the word steez for me,” I asked Randy Wittman.
“Who?” he replied. “Steez? How do you spell it? Spell it for me first.”
“It’s short for steelo,” Sarah told him.
“For steelo? Who the hell is Steelo?” Wittman responded.
“It means style,” Sarah offered.
“Oh, that’s style?” Wittman said. “And it’s called what, steez? I like your steez.”
Then I asked Martell Webster.
“I don’t know what the hell steez means,” he said. “I really don’t. I’m from the Northwest. We don’t talk like that. Steez? You define it. Where are you from?”
I told him I was from Buffalo. Webster walked away.
“You see how I just walked away?” he said, as he walked away.
Then I asked Jan Vesely.
“What? Steez? No,” he said.
See? I’m not the only one.
As for Crawford, I wondered if it was hard to see inside with those glasses.
“The glasses I get is all purpose,” he said. “You can wear ‘em all day. They’re not dark. No prescription. Just steelo.”
I asked if reporters could up their steez by wearing shades in the locker room.
“I don’t know what the reporters should do,” Crawford said. “I’m just worried about my steez.”
Then I asked him about the lens-free dark rims that seem to be NBA staples.
“That’s foolishness,” he said. “Foolishness. We don’t do all that. That’s too much.”