by Lang Whitaker

I’m gonna keep this quick today, because this is my sixth column this week and it’s Friday and I really just want to go home and root for Davidson to win tonight. (No reason, I just like cheering for underdogs.) I just wanted to post something quick to let Joel get his NBA Friday on…

A few things, though…

• Linkstigator Marjan ran into T-Wolves GM Kevin McHale at a game in Croatia yesterday and interviewed him on camera. McHale looks thrilled. And whatever you do, don’t ask McHale to name four good college teams!

Ouch! That’s my favorite link of the day.

• Good thing Russ doesn’t travel that much.

• And finally, NBA Friday, our weekly visit with the official illustrator of The Links, Joel Kimmel. This week’s team is the Washington Wizards, and this week’s subject is Caron Butler (the image is at the bottom of The Links).

“I was originally thinking of painting something referring to his nickname, Tuff Juice,” says Joel, “since I thought I could do some interesting things with that. In researching Caron I came across a great article about Caron in the Washington Post called The Great Escape by Michael Lee. One part of the story I thought would work well in an illustration was a part about Butler while he was serving jail time as a teenager where he had to serve time in solitary confinement. He said his grandmother would send him Bible verses, one being Corinthians 13:11, that really struck him. (“When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”) When he got out of jail he turned his life around and basketball was his salvation. Because of these details I decided to paint this piece with an old medieval religious painting influence.”

Thanks Joel, and as always, great work.

Next week’s team is the Toronto Raptors, so you Raptors fans with suggestions, leave us a comment below. Aight?

Have a great weekend, everyone, and we’ll see you next week.