For all of you hoop dreamers out there, here's the inside scoop on how to make Rick Carlisle's Dallas Mavericks roster.
You have to play the game with an insatiable defensive energy. You must be willing to make the hustle plays that change the outcome of a game. And you have to be willing to get some ink on your eyelids.
Apparently, if you're a fan of Ace Hood, that's an added bonus.
Renaldo Balkman, the No. 20 pick in 2006, is searching for an NBA home after spending last season in the Philippines, Venezuela and Puerto Rico. He's working on a non-guaranteed contract with the Mavericks, leaving a steep climb ahead of him since Dallas already has 15 guaranteed contracts on the payroll.
But the 29-year-old has caught Carlisle's eye and not just for his energetic play. Carlisle told Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News that he appreciates Balkman's colorful look, which includes the words "hustle harder" tattooed on his eyelids:
I like his hairdo. And I like his tattoos a lot. There's a lot of storytelling going on there. You know he's got a high pain tolerance if he's got tattoos on his eyelids. All that stuff impresses me before we even start talking about his game.
Balkman's game has been largely hidden this preseason. He's played less than 23 minutes over the first two games.
But the simple fact that he's getting a chance to showcase his game at all is a bit of a miracle.
His hoops career appeared to be on its last leg when he suffered an ugly breakdown during a game in the Phillipines last season. Upset over what he felt was a bad foul call, he shoved an official, argued with his coaches and wound up choking one of his teammates.
He'll have to impress his coaches to the point that he can unseat one of those guaranteed players.
Luckily, it sounds like he already has Carlisle in his corner. And to think, all it took was a little eyelid ink.
NBA hopefuls, it's probably time to fire up those tattoo guns and buy a one-way ticket to Dallas.