Last week this intrepid WCBias reporter ventured deep to the heart of the Mid-South, Memphis Tennessee for some quality time with the girlfriend’s family. A few days in the dirty-dirty can be a tough sell but with some choice tickets to take in the Grizz-Bulls game at the Forum I was feeling optimistic about things. The night before the game we found ourselves in a decent sized group at a bar on Beale Street, enjoying some sort of rockabilly band and watching the Thursday night football game.
After sitting around for 30 minutes or so who should walk past our table than Drew Gooden. I don’t know about you guys but I always get nervous when I see a professional athlete outside of their natural environment:it’s like being 12 and seeing your 5th grade teacher at the grocery store. What are you supposed to do? DG ordered a Mountain Dew and I waited for some of the drunk rednecks to start an autograph crush around him but I guess nobody at the was an NBA fan (and juding by the Grizzlies’ attendance neither is anybody in the whole of Memphis), so Gooden was able to sit in obscurity for a good fifteen minutes before Kirk Hinrich (who looks less like Jeff Greenfield than you might think) and his busted thumb walked in and joined him at the bar. At this point I was on full-on internal crisis modeâ€”TWO of my former fantasy players were sitting no more than twenty feet away from me…should I say hello? Buy them a drink? Just sit there and do nothing?
Luckily, the good fellas on the Bulls picked up my creepy-stalker gaze and made life significantly easier by just waving me over. Well, technically they may have waived the girlfriend over but I decided to tag along:I mean they wanted to offer some sort of Woody Harrelson “Indecent Proposal” offer I had to make sure I was going to be able to negotiate on my behalf–no way was I going to settle for anything less than $20. Both Gooden and Hinrich were very accommodating and bought Jessica and I a round of drinks while we bullshitted about life in Santa Barbaraâ€”both had spent a few weeks at UCSB while they were counselors for Michael Jordan’s Flight School and said that Santa Barbara is slightly higher on their vacation destination list than Memphis. Gooden seemed a little bit shocked and possibly freaked out that I knew he lived in Florida and wanted to get into Real Estate when his playing days were over (there was an ESPN The Mag feature on him during the Summer) and Hinrich seemed content to text away on his Blackberry most of the time. We slapped them fives and wished them luck in the game tomorrow (Marsh made the cardinal mistake of asking Hinrich about Derrick Rose) and went back to our table, good times had by all. Jesscica asked me if I thought she’d have had a chance with either of them and I made the mistake of telling her, “Only if they’re looking for a slump buster,” which sort of set a bad tone for the rest of the trip but whatever.