That thing NBA fans have thought about (and Wizards fans have grimaced about) has come to pass.
Charles Barkley. Karl Malone. Patrick Ewing. Allen Iverson. These are basketball legends with fewer NBA championship rings than JaVale McGee and Nick Young.
McGee and Young were once the Wizards’ most bizarre duo, a pair who endured a 77-210 record over 3 1/2 years together and encouraged each other’s frat boy antics.
“The difference was that having fun wasn’t accepted there,” McGee said of Washington in the San Francisco Chronicle. “It was looked at different. We were doing the same things — except certain situations, of course. But we were losing, so it was looked at totally different.”
Yeah, the Wizards were losing, and coincidentally (or not coincidentally?) each played upward of 20 minutes per game. They also tried the “cinnamon challenge,” in which participants attempt to consume in one mouthful a spoonful of dry cinnamon. The task is nearly impossible. It causes brief, humorous respiratory distress.
It’s also a really silly thing for professional athletes to do. When their production for Washington didn’t pick up, Wizards General Manager Ernie Grunfeld traded them to separate teams in the same three-team deal at the 2012 trade deadline.
McGee, after stints in Denver, Philadelphia and Dallas, signed with the Golden State Warriors in 2016. He played in 77 games last season, averaged 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds and won a championship as a lightly used reserve.
Young bounced from the Clippers to the 76ers to the Lakers, where he spent four seasons and in 2016 was the not-so-innocent victim of a prank by then-Lakers rookie D’Angelo Russell in which Russell surreptitiously recorded Young talking about how he cheated on his then-fiancé Iggy Azalea.
Young signed with Golden State in July 2017.
He and McGee both played bench minutes this season and in the playoffs, too, though McGee managed a few shifts with the Warriors’ starters. After four games of minimal contributions during the Finals, they are both NBA champions. Young wasted no time partying and hyping up his “redemption” story.
Kevin Durant, the Finals’ most valuable player, and Stephen Curry, who scored 37 points in Game 4, surely would accept thank-you notes.
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