Photograph by Jonathan Bachman
With the NBA All-Star upon us this weekend, Hornets players (sans David West and Chris Paul) have a nice mid-season break to pretty much do as they please before the final stretch of the season. I've always wondered what it is that players do when they're not selected to the All-Star game and wouldn't you know it? Hornets' players have all kinds of plans and seem very excited about just talking about it.
To wit, here are all the exchanges I had with Hornets players before their game against Boston on Wednesday:
- "I am going to Disney World," Ryan Bowen said sheepishly. "My wife planned it. She pretty much called me up one day and said 'hey we're going to Disney World for the All-Star break." Bowen said he and his family have done it all, from going to the game to going on vacation and "done nothing" and that the Disney World plans just fell into place after his wife asked his kids. "Ofcourse they said they wanted to go to Disney World." This is not the first time Bowen has taken his kids, but the last time they were so young that he doesn't think they remember. "Hopefully they're old enough now," he said.
- Melvin Ely said he's going to Las Vegas, but not for the whole "what happens in Vegas" reasons people usually go. "Players like me who don't usually get to play that much, I'm going home to Las Vegas to work out," he said. Ely said that he takes the All-Star break as an opportunity to keep himself in shape and get his wind back from sitting on the bench. But it's not all work, Ely admitted that he'd be going to a couple of shows (including Cirque de Soleil) and relaxing at night and that working out in Vegas "is always a plus." (Interesting side note: While talking to me, Ely mixed himself a drink that was red bull, apple juice and cranberry juice. "I hate the taste of red bull," Ely said. Ely uses the cranberry and apple juices to mask the flavor. Ofcourse that means that as soon as he's done drinking he has to use the bathroom, but that's the choice he's made.)
- Hilton Armstrong said that he's just going to go to Atlanta and visit some of his family. I asked if he watches the All-Star game and the festitives leading up to it and he said "You have to watch it." The topic of conversation then went on to the NBA's decision to add a H-O-R-S-E competition and the rumors that players will have to spell "Geico". "I think 'Horse' would be better," Armstrong said. Hilton then turned to Sean Marks (their lockers are next to each other) and said "Maybe I'll go to New Zealand." He then asked Marks if New Zealanders eat Kiwi. "You mean the bird?" Marks asked. "They're like an endangered species." Armstrong laughed and said "My bad." For the record, Marks is also going to visit his family, but not in New Zealand. He's going to see his wife and kids in Orange County Florida.
- Rasual Butler is the only player I talked to that said he's going to Phoenix but he's not sure that he's going to the game. His main reason is that he's going to host the red carpet at Shaq's All-Star Comedy Roast. "It's supposed to be a lot of fun talking to all the celebrities out there," Butler said. "It's a quirky type of fun, people joking on each other." Oh, and in case you're wondering, here's a list of comedians Butler is a fan of: Kevin Hart (Butler knows him from growing up in Philadelphia), Katt Williams, the late Bernie Mac, and Steve Harvey. What can I say? The man has taste.