St. Croix Tidemaster fishing rod: $190.
Orange Fishbites Fish'n Strips: $7.99.
Emergency all-weather poncho you hope to have no use for: $1.49.
Roy Hibbert finally broke out of his offensive and rebounding slump Wednesday night, registering 28 points and nine rebounds in Indiana's 86-82 victory over the Washington Wizards. It was the first time in nearly two months he eclipsed the 15-point plateau.
Afterward, Hibbert credited George for his long-awaited and much-needed revival, per Pacers.com's Mark Montieth:
Yesterday after practice, he invited me out on his boat and we fished for about two hours, and just relaxed and didn’t talk about basketball. We just talked about life and trying to catch some bass. He reached out and got my mind off things. Hopefully it’s something I can build on, and he’s a great teammate, so I really do appreciate him reaching out because he didn’t have to.
It's like they always say: Teammates who fish together, go from playing utterly unsightly basketball to basically watchable hoops together.
(People—as in NBA stars who moonlight as fishing enthusiasts—say that, right?)
This fishing trip, which also included guard George Hill, took place on the heels of a report released by BallerAlert.com that alleged George was romantically involved with Hibbert's fiancee. George responded to the accusations by posting a photo on his Instagram account.
"These rumors have got to stop!" the caption read. "Its getting [sic] old now and all you that believe them are ignorant! #Brothers."
Somewhat ironically, Hibbert's Game 2 resurgence also coincided with the Pacers releasing Andrew Bynum. Although Bynum appeared in just two games for the team, Indiana's decision to bring him on at all has been considered a mental barrier Hibbert couldn't bust through.
While it sounds silly to think an injury-prone big man who rarely played could have such an adverse impact on a two-time All-Star, Bynum has a tendency to leave trails of broken dynamics in his wake. Eye on Basketball's Matt Moore elaborates:
There's been a... suspicious trend with Bynum since about 2011. Every team he's been signed to has suffered locker room dysfunction and on-court disaster. You can't reasonably blame Bynum for Hibbert's struggles... but I mean... Lakers... Sixers... Cavaliers... the dude has left more disaster in his wake than Godzilla.
Whatever it was that snapped Hibbert out of his funk doesn't really matter. It happened. And the Pacers needed it to happen.
Hibbert has become so much of a liability lately, head coach Frank Vogel has been forced to curb his playing time. The Pacers aren't going to advance past the Wizards, let alone contend for the Eastern Conference crown, with Hibbert vanishing for games at a time. For them to regain the swagger that helped them secure the East's best regular-season record, they need Hibbert. All 7'2" of him. They won't get very far without him being productive.
So let this be a lesson to us all if Hibbert's renascence sticks: The path to solidarity, self-confidence and an uptick in rebounding totals is a long, winding and sometimes painful road. Rather than walk, take George's boat.