Everyone has a favorite player, but does everyone have a favorite version of a player? Probably not. People probably don’t even think in this way, but I do. I don’t just see players, I see different types of that same player, almost as if they were bipolar, or schizophrenic, or whatever. For example, there’s a difference between Klay Thompson, and 3rd quarter Klay Thompson or Lonzo Ball and versus Eric Bledsoe Lonzo Ball. Get the idea? Good. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.
First and foremost…
Like I Give a Fuck (LIGAF) Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is one of the rising stars in the NBA, face of The Process, and arguably the best center in the East (He is the best, but I gotta say arguably to not piss off people). But over the years, we’ve seen multiple versions of Embiid. There’s been Draft Embiid, who looked like he was about to put his head into a wall after being drafted by the Sixers. There’s been injured Embiid, who many worried would never see the NBA floor in his lifetime. Then briefly at the beginning of this season there was Cornrow Embiid, but that didn’t really work out. Sixers actually won their first game after he got rid of the cornrows, so doubt we’ll see Cornrow Embiid any time in the future. But finally, we have Like I Give A Fuck Embiid, or LIGAF Embiid, for short. LIGAF Embiid is a version of Joel who really could care less how he acts or what people think of him. This Embiid is a master of trash talk and messing with people on social media. Famous examples being when he made fun of Kevin Durant’s 2nd Twitter account, asking Ben Simmons to dunk so hard on Lonzo Ball that his daddy comes to save him, and one of my personal favorites, making fun of Willie Reed so much it carried from on the court to off the court on Instagram, pretending he had no idea who Willie Reed even was (He honestly might not have actually known). The great thing about this Embiid is quite often LIGAF Embiid is not only a fiend off the court, but on the court as well. In order to measure LIGAF Embiid’s stats, let me first introduce a stat to you: a Don’t Give a Fuck (DGF) game. A DGF game is one in which the player has messed with his opponents either before, during, or after the games in a manner that seems as though the player does not care what happens as a result. Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant have a multitude of these games. This season, Joel Embiid has played in about 5 DGF games, surprisingly all coming in a row besides the Detroit game. In these five games, Joel Embiid and the Sixers are 3-2, with Embiid averaging 28.2 ppg, 11 rpg, 3 apg, all on 56% shooting, including a career game vs. the Clippers, scoring 46 points, grabbing 15 boards, 7 assists, and 7 blocks (Note: These stats were calculated before Embiid Processed Donovan Mitchell when they played the Jazz on Monday). LIGAF Embiid is not to be fucked with.
I feel like no one appreciates Ricky Rubio more than my dad. My father has supported Ricky Rubio since the beginning. Never has his allegiance to the Spaniard wavered. When he heard that Rubio had gotten traded for a broken washing machine, he was a bit disappointed in the Timberwolves, and so was I. Rubio seemed like a great PG to have working alongside Jimmy Butler, Andrew Wiggins, and Karl Anthony-Towns. But alas, the Timberwolves did not agree with me. They figured Jeff Teague would be their guy, which is a sentence I’m pretty sure hasn’t been said since 2014. Now don’t get me wrong, Teague ain’t bad, but he ain’t Ricky Rubio. Like my father, I have come to have a man-crush on Ricky Rubio. And can you blame me? Have you seen what Utah has done to him? He’s a golden god. The man’s got flowing locks, a glorious beard, and even got tatted up. The man’s a bad boy now. Those Mormons really know how to do makeovers. Now to be quite honest, Utah Rubio isn’t as good as he is in my mind. In fact, I don’t even think he’s improved since he got to Utah, but he just looks better, not only physically, but in his play. Sure, he’s shooting 37% from the field and averaging barely over 13 a game, but it just looks like he’s scoring so much more. He’s also not passing as much as he used to. In fact, he actually finished with 3 or less assists in a game six times this season already. Not a good stat coming from your starting point guard. But I’m loyal. I’m not gonna let some stats keep me from loving my Ricky. I’m Lucy for God’s sake!
Oh boy. This one’s intense. If you’re familiar with basketball, then you’ve probably heard Hoodie Melo be referenced before. If you haven’t, it’s basically offseason and practice Carmelo Anthony wearing a hoodie. There are infamous clips of Melo going absolutely berserk on people during scrimmages in the offseason. It’s videos like that that keep me up at night. I’ve just thanked my lucky stars Hoodie Melo never materialized in a regulation game when Melo was with the Knicks. I’ve seen Melo go off on my Sixers, so I can only imagine what he’d do if he were allowed to wear a hoodie in a game. But now that he’s out West, I pray to god Adam Silver comes to his senses one day. Melo would be putting up 50 night in and night out. And I feel like we were so close to getting Hoodie Melo too. Over the years, Carmelo Anthony had evolved to being more and more clothed. He started off his career in Denver wearing just an arm sleeve and a headband. Then he got to New York and added a second arm sleeve. Then he added compression pants, and then he added an undershirt, which made him practically fully clothed by the time he left New York. Who knows, maybe in a year or two we would’ve seen him wearing a hoodie if he had stayed in New York. Just another thought to keep me up at night.
Ah, Neon Dion. He may not be the original, but I still love him. Born in 2016 and going strong ever since. Dion Waiters is one of those players that people expected to break out. Experts originally thought it would happen Cleveland, the place he was drafted, but that didn’t ever pan out, leading him to be shipped out to OKC, where people then thought “Okay, maybe it’ll happen now.” But alas, that hope washed away quicker than a baby down a greased up slide. People began to give on Dion. They no longer thought Dion had it in him to be a star. But then he was off to Miami, and boy did he shine. Miami was looking rough at the beginning of last season. They were looking bad. Real bad. Then Dion decided “Fuck it. Imma make a playoff run,” and a playoff run commenced. The Miami Heat won 13 in a row in January and February, and thus Neon Dion was born. Miami was looking like they were gonna make the playoffs, then Dion comes down with a sprained ankle, sidelining him for a while. Miami’s streak stopped dead in its tracks. They thought they could persevere without Waiters, but he proved more valuable than they realized. Miami could not break the .500 threshold and ended up missing out on the playoffs. This season, Waiters is putting up pretty average numbers, but it’s the mentality that he holds and the crazy shots he makes every now and then. Dion once quoted Kobe Bryant stating “I’d rather go 0 for 30 than 0 for 9 because you go 0 for 9 that means you stopped shooting.” It’s that type of thinking that makes me love and appreciate Neon Dion.
Jimmer Fredette was a college phenom in BYU, and performed at a high enough level to earn him the 10th overall selection in the 2011 NBA draft. I have always been a huge fan of Jimmer because of his crazy confidence from behind the three-point line, sometimes pulling up from just after half-court, and because he comes from Upstate New York, like myself. I had high hopes for Jimmer. I thought he was going to be the next J.J. Redick, and boy was I wrong. I don’t know what it was, but Jimmer could not find playing time as he bounced around the league, and didn’t play too well when he did find floor time. Jimmer just could not find his spot, even going down to the D-League (now G-League) for a bit. When Jimmer got cut by the Spurs, I knew it was over for him. If Popovich couldn’t save him, no one could. So Jimmer now found himself out of the league, so he turned to the place all outcasts turn: China. Jimmer joined the Shanghai Sharks in 2016 and took off like a bullet. Jimmer ended up winning MVP for the season, averaging a whopping 37.5 ppg. He then signed back with the Shanghai Sharks for 2 years on a deal worth $1.8 million and hasn’t looked back. So far this season Jimmer is averaging 40 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 5.6 apg, 2.1 spg and a fight with Stephon Marbury in nine games so far this season. Jimmer is a beast over in China and I absolutely love it. If he continues to prosper, the man is going to be a legend in China and in my heart.
And last but certainly not least…
I saved this one for last simply because he’s the most terrifying. If any of the player versions listed above went toe to toe with Angry LeBron, they’d be dead before they hit the ground. Angry LeBron is a beast that is not awoken too often, but when it is…look out. I’m not sure why people continue to piss off LeBron, but they clearly have not gotten the message or seen the body count. I don’t know how stupid a person can be, but clearly players still think they can poke the dragon and not get scorched to a piece of toast. This season’s victims are Enes Kanter and the New York Knicks, and the Charlotte Hornets. The Murder of the New York Knicks was a grand and epic one. It was also one in which LeBron may have arguably started the conflict. Usually people go after LeBron simply because he’s LeBron, but in this case, LeBron made a statement about drafting choices by the Knicks and Enes Kanter and others responded after being offended by LeBron’s remarks. This tension between the two sides carried over into their game in New York and the conflict became visible in the 1st quarter of the game. LeBron dunked it and as he was going upcourt, him and Frank Ntilikina bumped into each other, and LeBron continued to stand and get in Ntilikina’s way as the rookie tried to get the ball. Ntilikina then shoved LeBron causing a bit of an argument with neither side backing down, and Enes Kanter then getting involved. Kanter and LeBron exchanged words before the two sides were separated. Afterwards, the Knicks took control of the game and began to dominate. Everyone thought the Knicks had won this one, but Angry LeBron wasn’t having it. LeBron went on to slash 23/9/12 for the game, including a LeFuckyou 3 in the face of Kristaps Porzingis late in the 4th quarter to cap off a hell of a comeback. Afterwards, LeBron posted on Instagram, referring to himself as the king of New York, which made Enes Kanter mad again, but the damage was done. Angry LeBron had triumphed once again. Then, not two days later, the city of Charlotte itself tried messing with LeBron, with this tweet.I don’t get why they think that taunting LeBron is a good idea at all. I really don’t. LeBron proceeded to drop 31 on Charlotte including this emphatic dunk to seal the win. Angry LeBron is just too good to be taken lightly. If I was an NBA player I would treat LeBron like the king he is when he comes to town and pray to god that he treats you with mercy.