Let us turn our thoughts today to Nick Young and JaVale McGee, two goofballs who are somehow likely to end up with NBA championship rings in a couple of weeks’ time.
The pair overlapped for a memorably mediocre 3 1/2 years with the Wizards in which they endured a 77-210 record together, the ugly fallout of the Gilbert Arenas era and the 2011 NBA lockout.
During such time, Young and McGee developed well-earned reputations as knuckleheads who burned through the shockingly long patience of Washington General Manager Ernie Grunfeld.
In the middle of the lockout, the pair partook in the “cinnamon challenge” Internet meme, in which participants attempt to consume in one mouthful a spoonful of dry cinnamon. The task is disgusting and nearly impossible. It causes brief, humorous respiratory distress.
Young and McGee posted video of the challenge online, and as NBA fans laughed, the two friends cast their lot together as the association’s class clowns. Grunfeld traded them as part of a three-team deal at the 2012 trade deadline. Washington wrote them off as failed experiments.
It was probably an appropriate and cathartic end to that paradigm for Wizards fans — until McGee signed a free agent deal to join 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 ring as a playoff bench warmer. Fine. He still showed up on “Shaqtin’ A Fool” quite often.
But then Young, fresh off the decaying Los Angeles Lakers and fit with that cheesing “Swaggy P” persona, signed with Golden State in July 2017. The Warriors proceeded to advance through the Western Conference again and return to the NBA Finals, where they are heavy favorites to beat Cleveland.
Just how much do oddsmakers like Golden State? Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas opened with the Warriors at -1,000 on the money line, which means you’d have to wager $1,000 on the Warriors to win $100 in return.
How did Young and McGee celebrate making the Finals, you might wonder?
Well, Young played nearly 17 minutes in the Warriors’ Game 7 win at Houston and scored three points. McGee never took his warmups off.
On the plane ride back to California, they led an R&B singalong among teammates.
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