Meet the Weirdos of the NBA Bench Mobs
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NBA players might be bigger, faster, stronger and more athletically gifted than your average human being.
But deep down, some of them are still a little bit strange.
Aren't we all, though? I know I certainly have my quirks. And I've been called a weirdo on more than one occasion, absolutely. If you flip back through your own memory banks, you'll probably find some similar experiences.
When NBA players are stuck on the bench for prolonged periods of time, kooky things can happen. A gigantic man may find himself becoming just another weirdo on an NBA bench mob.
There are plenty of guys who immediately spring to mind in this category, and I'd certainly encourage you to submit your own suggestions, ideally with links to prove your points. But these guys simply take the cake.
They're the strangest of the strange. The craziest of the crazy. The true weirdos of the Association.
Chris Andersen, Miami Heat
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It takes a certain level of weirdness to be Chris Andersen. Dedication is also a must.
Not many people have the chutzpah to tattoo their arms in technicolor sleeves. Fewer still feel the need to complete the look with a multicolored, block-lettered "Free Bird" running right across their neck. And, of course, the look has to be topped off with the always-spiky mohawk protruding from the top of Birdman's skull.
There are certain things you can't un-see, so be careful before clicking on this link.
It'll show you an ink-covered version of Andersen in 2010 right next to the 2001 version of Birdman with only three visible pieces of artwork in significantly less-noticeable areas than below the chin. Seeing Andersen without tattoos is almost as unthinkable as viewing a clean-shaven James Harden.
The Miami Heat big man isn't on this list solely for his decisions in the tattoo parlor, though. What people do with their own image is up to them, so while it's one factor, it's not enough on its own.
Andersen makes this list because of how well he's embraced his nickname.
How many times have we seen Birdman fly high in the air, swat away a shot or throw down a thunderous slam, then flap his wings as he soars back down the court to the other end?
I'm convinced that this 34-year-old actually thinks of his arms as wings.
Kent Bazemore, Golden State Warriors
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If you've heard of Kent Bazemore, it's most likely because of his ridiculous celebrations on the Golden State Warriors bench.
He's playing only 4.4 minutes per game during his first season out of Old Dominion, posting per-game averages of 2.1 points, 0.4 rebounds and 0.3 assists. So trust me, you're excused if you thought he was just a celebratory figure on the pine at this stage of his young NBA career.
Bazemore, though, is already a legendary figure on that bench.
When you watch this video, keep your eyes firmly affixed on the Dubs' sideline. Don't even bother paying attention to the players on the court, because nothing they do can possibly top Bazemore's exuberance.
My personal favorite comes 45 seconds in, when the former Monarch takes the Tiger Woods fist pump to a ridiculous extreme—and Tiger already took that celebration to an extreme during his red-clad glory days, so that's saying something.
Nothing I can write will top what Carl Landry said about his rookie teammate, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle's Rusty Simmons:
The Golden State Warriors don't have a mascot, do they?...He's part-time player, part-time mascot. Maybe we should find a way to get him some extra dollars, because he's working two jobs.
Given all he's done on the bench for the Dubs, I can't wait to see what Bazemore does if he ever produces his own highlight out on the court.
Ivan Johnson, Atlanta Hawks
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Ivan Johnson didn't make it to the NBA until he was 27 years old, but he's already left an indelible impression upon fans around the Association. We Atlanta Hawks supporters in particular can't help but love him, even if he absolutely terrifies us at the same time.
Trust me, every time Ivan does something crazy out on the hardwood, I immediately get texts and Facebook messages that just say, "IVANNNNNNN."*
So, what took Johnson so long to make it to the sport's highest level?
Well the answer is quite simple. He was too busy playing college ball at Los Angeles Southwest Junior College, Cisco Junior College, Cal State San Bernardino and Oregon. Needless to say, he never made it to the Final Four.
Anger management issues ended his career with the Ducks, but Ivan Johnson didn't end his career with anger management issues.
He was banned for life from playing basketball in South Korea because of his temper. He bounced around a few different countries, as well as the D-League and, somehow, found the time and money to put a diamond grill in his mouth before managing to land in Atlanta.
During his long journey to stardom—please don't tell me Ivan isn't a star, because I'll put my fingers in my ears and refuse to listen to you—Johnson didn't exactly familiarize himself with other NBA stars.
My thing is, I don’t really watch basketball so I don’t know who anybody is...So when I match up against them, they are a regular player. I know the major players like LeBron [James], Kobe [Bryant], [Dwyane] Wade but all the extra ones I don’t know. Even if I did know them, I’m not going to be afraid. We are playing basketball.
That's right. Ivan is only familiar with three players in the NBA. No one else.
Just as Larry Drew said later in that same article, I'm very intrigued by this guy.
*The number of "Ns" vary, depending on who's sending the text or message.
JaVale McGee, Denver Nuggets
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I'll be completely honest here. I have absolutely no idea how to sum up JaVale McGee's weirdness in only one slide. Realistically, it just can't be done.
Is it the "Pierre" nickname that he bestowed upon himself? Maybe it's just me, but McGee doesn't exactly look like a Pierre.
Is it his Twitter feed? Does anyone but McGee send out every tweet with caps lock on and format it so that it looks like he's retweeting himself?
McGee's Twitter profile currently displays the following gem as the blurb about himself:
Pierre=Alter Ego 5th year in NBA for the Denver Nuggets Innovator of the self RT and of the finger stache! IG:JaValeMcGee_34 #JUGLIFE
WAY UP HERE
If that's not it, is it his zany play on the basketball court?
Maybe it's just that he's JaVale McGee, and we're not.
Robert Sacre, Los Angeles Lakers
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The only player in the NBA who can outcelebrate Kent Bazemore is Robert Sacre. Hopefully, the two will be battling it out for the crown for a long time to come.
At the end of the 2012 NBA draft, the Gonzaga product was picked by the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 60, and he was considered a long shot to make any noise in the NBA. Well, that late draft position is now irrelevant, because Sacre has made somewhat of a name for himself.
He's one of the best shooters out there, despite his height and limited range.
In case you didn't realize it right off the bat, I'm referring to his gun imitations while celebrating, not his ability to put the ball in the basket.
Sacre has bounced back and forth between the purple-and-gold-clad squad and its D-League affiliate, so, sadly, his celebrations haven't always been easily viewed by the general public.
Even with a shortened time to make an impact during his rookie season, the 7-footer has already asserted himself as a lock for this list.