The Kenneth Faried And JaVale McGee Experience

Walking into a new sports arena is always a bit of a goosebumps moment. While I'd technically been to Oracle Arena before via the corporate squares suite about a month prior, actually sitting with the people (okay, media section ... let me live) is a different experience altogether. You see, the only real experiences I'd had of the Golden State Warriors in Oakland were of the days of Run-TMC, the Sprewell-Gatling years and the We Believe Warriors of '07. Those atmospheres varied from depressing to raucous, and depending on who they were playing that night, the energy in the air could reach epic proportions.

Of course, the other benefit of going to an arena is to see who the opposing team is and what that team's going to provide to the night's festivities. Sometimes, the opposition can be a squad of scrubs. Other times, a team full of stars. On this night, the team was the Denver Nuggets, a squad dead set in the middle of what I just described previously. While the squad lacks a true star, there are two players that I have the utmost appreciation for. They are the reason I came to the Oracle (and Shocked The World), and those players are Kenneth Faried and JaVale McGee.


JaVale McGee entered the game at the 5:32 mark in the first quarter, because for some reason coach George Karl thinks it's a good idea for something called a Kosta Koufos to start ahead of the great No. 34. Karl probably has some great reasons as to why Koufos starts ahead of McGee, but man how are you going to deprive us from the entertaining qualities that JaVale provides? Shame on you, George, shame on you.

Throughout the game, JaVale McGee is the epitome of a walking Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. I mean, the experience of watching him is incredible. In one five-minute stretch in the second half, I saw JaVale do the following:

  • Easily grab rebounds over 3-4 Warriors players.
  • Dribble the ball off his feet.
  • Finish at the rim with ease after collecting a terrible entry pass.
  • Get elbowed in the mouth.
  • Grab his knees, writhing in pain and stare with a blank look for what felt like 2-3 minutes while folks just waited for him to shoot his two free throws.
  • Calmly hits his two free throws.
  • Execute a beautiful turnaround jumper.
  • Airball said beautiful turnaround jumper.

By far, some of the most entertaining five minutes of basketball I'd ever seen from one person.  What other player in the league can deliver such highs and lows in such an instant?

*****Between the homies DFJZ, Kenny, countless other college basketball fans and myself, I remember watching Kenneth Faried play basketball at Morehead State University. From the undefeated run they had in college to the upset heard around the state of Kentucky, when Faried's boys beat No. 4 seed Louisville in the NCAA tourney, there wasn't a more dynamic player you could watch than Faried. I can especially remember this exact scenario playing out on Twitter ...

  • Faried grabs a rebound
  • Faried makes one helluva outlet pass
  • Faried runs a wind sprint down the court
  • Faried points to the sky
  • Faried catches a lob pass with two hands, dunks the ball real real hard.
  • Everyone on Twitter tweets the same tweet, "FARIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED"

The thing is, Faried would make moments happen like this 8-9 times a game. It was incredible to watch, as his college squad would be the giant killers that everyone loves to root for during March Madness. So when I saw that Faried got drafted in the league, I was genuinely happy for him. Glad an undersized power forward found a way to find a spot in the league, get him a few years of tenure and some money, and call it a career.

I never imagined Faried would continue to permanently ball like Mario going hard when he got a star and tore shit up for the next 30 seconds. Faried plays like that for 30-40 minutes a game. It's almost scary to watch. I unleashed 3-4 FARIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED's during the Nuggets-Warriors game. The biggest FARIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIED was the one that you see above. Faried pinned Steph Curry's fast-break layup attempt, after Curry had a good 10-feet on Faried. As soon as the play unfolded, I knew Faried would catch him. As soon as block happened, I was ready to go.


*****McGee is 24. Faried is 23. One player is the perfect physical definition of what you'd want in a center. The other is the exact anomaly that isn't supposed to thrive in today's NBA. One zips in between a state of brilliance and befuddlement seemingly in 30-second instances, while the other zips up, down and around the basketball court like his life depends on it. One is constantly berated by the media for his foul-ups, although he does way more good for his team than anyone wants to admit. The other doesn't receive enough praise for his yeoman-like efforts, although an overly used nickname like "Manimal" seems ill-fitting. ("Always On Star Mode" is my choice, but might not catch on like his current nickname.)

None of that matters. I love watching both of these guys play basketball. I want them to flourish and prosper for a variety reasons, but the most important reason is that I truly believe their hearts are in what they do on the court. They mean well, and their intentions are pure.

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