Monday, May 1, 2006
Having conclusively determined that Sideshow Anderson Varejao is the best-coiffed NBA superstar in this series, we next turned our attention to a much more serious matter: the search for the best-dressed NBA superstar in this series.
Certain pretenders, like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, were quickly eliminated.
"He's never ironed," complained Cavs GM Danny Ferry.
In the Cavaliers' locker room, the talk focused on LeBron James, whose style has been celebrated in the pages of GQ, and Damon Jones, whose tastes run to the flamboyant (think teal).
One source close to the Cavaliers' bench, who spoke on the condition of anonymity (seriously), described Jones's wardrobe as "unpredictable, that's the best word I can give you." Jones, perhaps chastened by the media furor he created by calling Brendan Haywood "a baby" before Game 3, declined to discuss his fashion choices and ducked into a training room to eat his pregame meal: a 10-piece order of Chicken McNuggets, a McNormous fries and some barbecue sauce.
Down the hallway, we found Jared Jeffries, the Wizards' resident fashion expert. Although he would not enter himself in the competition -- "I ain't got the money like those boys," he explained -- he identified Caron Butler as Washington's best hope.
"His stuff's official," Jeffries said, which is apparently a good thing. Awvee Storey agreed, calling Butler's look "classic."
Not trusting such locker room partisans, we turned to two unbiased observers. New Orleans Hornets rookie point guard Chris Paul agreed that James, Jones and Butler were the three leading choices but declined to name a winner. So the floor was open for TNT analyst Cheryl Miller, who said Butler and Jones should be the finalists. And the winner?
"I've got to give it to Damon Jones," she said. "He's a man in touch with his feminine side. Very much in touch."
Talking Big: Speaking of simmering feuds, new life was breathed into last year's playoff tete-a-tete between Peter John Ramos and Gheorghe Muresan.
"Does he still play?" Muresan asked of Ramos, who is not on the Wizards' playoff roster.
"He can't even run," Ramos scoffed when asked if he could take down Curious Gheorghe.
In Their Own Words: The award for most ineffectual exchange goes to Ilgauskas and Tarek Ali of the Arabic-language Alhurra TV. Shortly after Ilgauskas finished changing his socks -- the kind of sight that can cause nightmares for weeks -- Ali scored an exclusive interview with Big Z.
"What can you do to get two victories?" Ali asked, we think.
"Win two more games," Big Z answered, we think.
"Simple answer," Ali later said.
Chips a Joy: Gilbert Arenas isn't the only Wizard with a locker room poker habit. Calvin Booth, a key cog of the team's Largely Inconsequential But Unfailingly Polite Six, has been known to play Omaha Hold 'Em on his laptop before games. (In Omaha, players have four cards on the table but can only use two, sort of like the Wizards' strategy of putting five guys on the floor but using only three.)
The soft-spoken Booth counts the soft-spoken Phil Ivey among his poker heroes, which makes sense. He also admires poker badboy Phil Hellmuth, which doesn't. With visions of more simmering feuds dancing in our heads, we asked Booth what would happen if he had a few moments on the green felt with Ivey and Hellmuth.
"Those guys would take money from me," Booth said.
-- Dan Steinberg