After the Kings win in Orlando, we road trip to Miami for game two.
6:30 am – I’m up before the sun to go cover the NBA. I feel like the strong single black woman lead in every Tyler Perry movie that’s enjoying this happiness she deserves.
7:37 am – We spent two days listening to DJ Private Ryan mixes, but I’ve got the aux chord now, which means we’re podcasting. For the drive to Miami we go with the Brilliant Idiots pod from last week. Charlamagne and Andrew Schulz host Jas Waters to discuss consent, the Aziz Ansari saga and more.
7:49 am – The Aziz story gets more confusing every time we hear it. I start to nod off until I hear an exasperated John shocked at every turn this story takes.
8:23 am – We learn that this could all be so simple with one phrase, “I’m gonna go.”
8:37 am – We go with Drake for the rest of the trip. The entire Views and More Life albums in that order. Drake is infallible, and I feel like it set the tone for the remainder of the day.
11:25 am – We get to shoot around just in time, but can’t find Buddy anywhere on the court. Kings personnel tell this is because he’s being drug tested. So y’all heard a Bahamian player had a free night in Miami and you immediately subject him to a “random” drug test? I’m side-eyeing you NBA. There’s some overt Caribbean stereotyping in here.
5:20 pm – Getting ready to head to the arena John: “Boy, Miami Nal is dress differently for these Miami games than the Orlando games.” I’m prepared for life after basketball John. Wynood’s calling and I’ll be damned if I go there in anything other than distressed jeans.
6:15 pm – We get our credentials and learn that 10YS is now based in Brazil. This is destiny.
6:30 pm – We have to pay for media food!!!?? This would have NEVER happened under LeBron’s watch.
6:45 pm – LeBatard show producer Roy Bellamy walks into the media dining room. He’s not brooding and he actually seems pleasant. He even hugged a guy. I’m low key disappointed
7:00 pm – I do a joint podcast with the guys at Cowbell Kingdom to talk Buddy, Ayton, Kentucky basketball. I was a ridiculous homer throughout and I regret nothing. Objective journalism is overrated.
7:45 pm – Since we’re international row, naturally I’m seated between Italian and Japanese writers. It’s like my freshman year at Kentucky all over again in the international dorm. I can’t understand anyone, but I feel like that’s eventually going to work out in my favor…just like it did back then.
8:03 pm – Buddy finally checks in, as do I. I legit pay no attention to the game until I hear that announcement.
8:05 pm – Doesn’t long for him to get his first basket, using a screen to make a jumper off the dribble
8:16 pm – Wildcat check, Fox, Trill, Skal, Bam and me. Five of us in the AAA tonight.
8:17 pm – I get a Black Panther reference from the nice old lady working “security” at the media entrance. It could have been a compliment cloaked in folksy racism, but this Black Panther spectacle is going to make it an incredible time to be an in-shape black man. What a time to be alive. I’m doing two-a-days for the next two months.
8:22 pm – We see our first Buddy 3 pointer of the game. I need him to take this 3-point contest snub personally. Take the fact that they chose Wayne Ellington over you really personally and destroy him. The entire Bahamas is with you in this.
8:24 pm – An amazing sequence for Buddy – His chase down block causes Ellington to miss a fast break dunk, then he comes back up court and makes a jumper.
8:28 pm – Buddy makes a driving reverse layup along the baseline. John messages me to point out that the Kings are undefeated in games he’s attended this season.
8:31 pm – Buddy with the Heat check three, falling away, in Derrick Jones’ face. I should “Y’all see wtf goin on!!” in my best Lil Duval voice. My Japanese and Italian colleagues are so confused.
8:40 pm – Buddy drops 15 in the first half. We cookin’
8:52 pm – First observation of the second half. ZBo has completely given up on jumping. He’s attempting to go down in history as the first NBA player to play the second half of a season without jumping. This needs to lead Sportscenter every night.
8:53 pm – Fox makes a runner, I’m by far the least objective journalist in the history of journalism. Shit…am I the Sean Hannity of this thing?
8:55 pm – There’s a Floyd Mayweather sighting. This is completely irrelevant to everything we’re here to do but our goal is to join The Money Team by the end of the game. In fact, his picture is going to be the cover photo for this article.
9:13 pm – I’m completely distracted by Miami tings until Buddy got back on the floor. He had 15 points in the first half and is sitting nearly the entire third quarter. None of this makes sense.
9:19 pm – This franchise will NEVER win another title until they give “Swag Surfin” the proper respect it deserves. I’m appalled and demand an audience with Micky Arison or Pat Riley. Somone must atone for this.
9:22 pm – Buddy runs Wayne Ellington off his spot and forces a travel, you know why? Ellington’s afraid. Ellington knows he doesn’t deserve that spot in the three-point contest.
9:24 pm – Bahamas Tourism/Breezes T-shirt toss promotion in the AAA. They’re playing some song I should know, but I don’t. The lyrics involve jumping and carrying on bad. I’m sure Timmy knows it. I just hope they paid to use this one.
9:31 pm – The Kings offence is stagnant. Dave Joerger needs to play 2k. He didn’t go with an up-tempo five until the Kings were already down 10 (Fox, Bogie, Buddy, Trill, Anyone else)
9:34 pm – Buddy didn’t get his first basket of the second half until the 5:40 mark in the third.
9:45 pm – My 2K lineup is erasing this 12 point deficit with the swiftness. Fox rips Dragic at halfcourt, misses the fastbreak layup, but Buddy comes through with the follow-up dunk on the putback. He’s going to win another $500.
9:47pm – This game is too intense. I didn’t come prepared for this emotional investment. I’m going for more coffee.
9:50 pm – Fox wins the game on a putback dunk (what point guard does this?). We’ve watched this entire game together and I still have NO IDEA who the Japanese writers were rooting for. God bless there stoic nature and dedication.
10:29 pm – During post-game interviews in the Kings locker room, Buddy and Fox have a funny exchange before Buddy drops the trump card in true Bahamian fashion. The back in forth ends with Buddy doing an impression of Fox’s now infamous impassioned crying post-game interview after Kentucky was eliminated in the 2017 Elite Eight. Very valuable lesson here about men and true friendship. No matter how successful you are, at the apex of your craft, in your greatest moment…your friends will make fun of you. I believe in this team more than ever now.
10:38 pm – Buddy puts on a 10YS hat for the first time. It’d be easier to just plan the Hall of Fame ceremony now rather go through the formality of the next decade or so.