Monday, March 26, 2012

That Time I Met: John Lucas III

Did I ever tell you about that time I met John Lucas III?

It was October 3, 2007, and I was in the midst of my super senior year at UT Austin. The Houston Rockets train in Longhorn country to prepare for the regular season, so my friend Lawrence and I knew they were in town.  We just didn’t know exactly where they were staying.

We clocked some time in the R&D lab and blindly guessed that the players would most likely be residing at the Four Seasons.  So that night, we strolled into the hotel lobby trying to look as guest-like as possible, and after a couple minutes, we spotted 6’6” forward Kirk Snyder talking on his cell phone.  We quickly followed him into the elevator and watched as he pushed the button for the 5th floor.  He was still on the phone, but he looked over at us expecting us to push a button for our own floor, so Lawrence hit the 6th floor.

The elevator dinged at the 5, and I gave Kirk a slight head nod as he walked out.  The doors closed behind him, and Lawrence and I looked at each other and giggled with a giddiness that should only be familiar to teenage girls salivating over Justin Bieber.  (And yes, before you ask, this was before I hit the tipping point in my life when I was just as old, if not older, than professional athletes.  That feeling is worse than the no-Santa epiphany.)

Naturally, Lawrence and I made our way back to the 5th floor, and we paced up and down the hallway listening for clues as to which rooms might house T-Mac or Steve Francis.  Finally we decided we don’t want to be rude and/or realized we don’t have the cajones, so we regrouped in the elevator foyer to plot out the next step in our 007 mission.

Cue the entrance of our savior.  The team’s barber walked by, and he inquired if we were looking for autographs.  We sheepishly replied yes, and he informed us to return in the morning before the team gets on the bus for practice.

Fast forward about 10 hours.  We re-entered the hotel lobby with a renewed confidence and immediately observed Bonzi Wells returning from the breakfast buffet.  Insert Bonzi fat joke here.  We asked him for a picture, and he said, “yeah, just let me change first.” Spoiler alert: over five years later, Lawrence and I are still waiting for that picture.

Anyway, we made our way back to the 5th floor elevator lounge and set up camp.  We didn’t care about autographs; we just wanted a few pictures with the Rockets players.  So we stood there waiting, minding our own business, and then we met Carl Landry.  And then Dikembe Mutombo.  And then -- drumroll please -- John Lucas III.

In my humble opinion, JL3 should’ve just been happy that we recognized him, but he somewhat reluctantly took pictures with us before shuffling in the elevator to go downstairs.

A mere 10 minutes later, the elevator bell goes off, and Lawrence and I readied ourselves for the possibility to meet another NBA player.  The doors slid open, and success!  Another (former) NBA player!  It’s none other than -- drumroll please -- John Lucas II.  Also known as JL3’s father.

Next to JL2 is a member of the hotel staff, and she promptly asked us if we have a room at the Four Seasons.  We responded no, and the two of them then escorted us into the elevator.  We attempted to explain that we weren’t harassing the players; instead, we were politely requesting to take a simple picture with them.  The hotel staff then escorted us out of the building.  So at this point Lawrence and I were standing on the sidewalk 100 yards from the hotel entrance, chuckling over the transpired events, when the lady approached us again and tried to escort us across the street.  This is when we started getting mad, as there were literally random pedestrians walking right past us on the public sidewalk, and she threatened to call the police.  We smugly laughed at the thought of her bluff but turned to play the world’s slowest game of Frogger.  I am fully aware that I am on the brink of a dangerously long tangent, but I think it was an entertaining end to this fanboy tale.

Back to the point.  I don’t have the evidence to prove JL3 guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but my take on the matter is that JL3 whined about Lawrence and I to his daddy, JL2, who promptly got us kicked off the premises.  Is there a shred of a chance that isn’t how it all went down?  Perhaps, but that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Why do I bring all this up?  Gym Class All Stars’ resident hater Albert Nguyen remarked the other day that John Lucas III is better than Jeremy Lin and hinted that the reason JL3 wasn’t getting the same hype was because he’s not Asian.

JL3 has been playing well in the backup point guard role on the Chicago Bulls.  Could there be a semblance of a double standard here?  The race issue is of course a significant factor in the level of fandom, but the Bulls are clearly the better team.  Though MVP Derrick Rose has missed over 15 games due to various injuries, his teammates have collectively risen to the challenge and continue to boast of the NBA’s best record.  In contrast, the New York Knicks were riding the Q-train to lottery-ville before Lin went on his record-breaking run as a starter.

But of course, in the end, personally what it all comes down to is that Jeremy Lin seems to be a very likeable dude while John Lucas III is probably tattling on me to his daddy again.  Not cool, man.  Not cool.


Yo are you just gonna ignore mentioning that we met STEVE NOVAK?!

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...