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Wednesday, October 15th, 2008 at 4:48 pm  |  59 responses

Links: They Call Him Closs

Plus, Sam Mitchell’s at it again!

by Lang Whitaker

I returned yesterday from a brief vacation (the last vaca before the season starts) and found two great things waiting for me here at the SLAM Dome.

First of all, a couple of copies of the new issues of SLAM 123 had arrived. You guys have seen it now, but that issue was a tough one to pull off, between coming up with 5 separate covers and myself having to write the 8-page NBA preview as well as a long feature on Josh Smith. Ben touched on it in his post with the covers, but those covers really were a total team effort from the SLAM crew.

Second of all, I got a copy of the new book from our columnist Bethlehem Shoals and his crew at FreeDarko.com, the Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac, and it’s really phenomenal. I had a chance to give it a once-over as they were working on it, and even I could find anything worth criticizing. Congrats guys, and more on the book soon…

Moving on, I got a great email from reader Jon over in China:

Yo, Lang –

As a loyal Slam subscriber and a frequent visitor of Slamonline.com, I thought it was my duty to the magazine (I know how much ya;ll love this guy) to report my encounter with Keith Closs in a nightclub in Nanjing, China.

I’m currently living in Nanjing, China, studying Mandarin and trying to get into the NBA scene over here. About three weeks ago, I went out to a club that is popular among foreigners for some drinks. It was a rather uneventful night, nothing too spectacular happening. Horrible, loud techno music, flashing lights, poor service, crappy cocktails, awful dancing and women doing stupid things while drunk…just another night at a Chinese nightclub.

At about 2 a.m., a group of tall men looking very much like basketball players (most where wearing mesh shorts w/ socks and sandals, that’s a dead giveaway right there) enter the club, make a lap, take a few pictures with some amazed Chinese men and women, and then sit at the back of the room at some tables. I didn’t think too much of it — probably here for a basketball tournament or some CBA stuff — and so I went back to talking with my buddies.

About five minutes later, it’s my turn to buy a round for the table. I try to walk over to the bar, but the narrow aisle is blocked by a guy who had to be at least 7 ft, wearing a current, customized #33 Dallas Mavericks jersey with the name “Closs” on the back.

The first thing I thought was, “Wow, I feel really short right now.”  I’m 6-4, so it’s not often I feel this tiny. The second thing was, “Wait, is that Keith Closs?” I leafed through my inner NBA-files to see if Keith ever played for Dallas. In about the ten seconds it took me to process my stored NBA information, I could remember three things about him: One, that he played a few seasons for the Clips in the late ’90s/early 2000s. Two, that SLAM Magazine has a mini infatuation with the guy.  And three, that he got brutally beat down on video


Former NBA player (Keith Closs) gets beat down bij – Watch more free videos

So, thus I concluded that there was no way he ever played for the Mavericks, nor was there any way he was in the NBA right now. Though very confused at why he was wearing a Mavs jersey, I was nonetheless convinced that this had to be Keith Closs. But, I had to know for sure.

“Yo, man, are you Keith Closs?” I ask.

“Yeah,” he says.

That settled it, it was indeed Keith Closs in the flesh at a crappy Nanjing nightclub. He said the squad he was with was touring around China playing teams in various cities. I didn’t really get a chance to talk to him for more than a minute. He seemed pretty detached and uninterested and just ended up sitting down puffing on cigs the whole night like Al Pacino in Godfather II. I guess the reports about him being totally out of shape when he was with the Clips were true.

I went back to my table and told my friends “That’s Keith Closs!”

“Who’s Keith Closs?” they asked. Oh yeah, I forgot. Amongst my friends in China, I’m the only one who knows minute details about the NBA.

I’ve seen some random, strange stuff in China, but this is definitely up there. Keith Closs…wearing a customized jersey of himself for a team that he never played for…smoking non-stop…in Nanjing of all places…crazy, random stuff, I think.

You think correct, sir. Thanks for the dispatch — that just made Russ’s day.

Some quick links…

QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The circle of life in the NBA is a circle of ironies.” — Rick Carlisle, channeling FreeDarko.

FOUR LINKS…
• Can’t believe we all missed the D-League Draft Lottery last night. The Draft itself is on November 7, live from Atlanta. I especially like that the draft goes in “serpentine format,” meaning the team that picks first in the first round picks last in the second round. It’s like a fantasy draft, except you actually get to meet the players you choose.

• Henry Abbott has a headline that reads, Did the Cavaliers Unearth a Big Man? If it’s Darnell Jackson you’re talking about, I’ve got the answer: No!

• Sam Mitchell is on the edge and the season hasn’t even started yet. I love it. He’s even quoting John Wooden.

• Is Kevin Martin the first player in NBA history to get a Mohawk in tribute to his grandfather?

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  • http://www.slamonline.com James The Balla

    first

  • http://www.slamonline.com James The Balla

    And you mean coundlt find anything, correct??

  • http://www.slamonline.com James The Balla

    couldn’t* lol

  • http://www.nba.com/bucks/ Keith

    Wow. Keith Closs should never leave his motor vehicle again.

  • http://www.slamonline.com James The Balla

    That would be interesting, getting to talk to KEith.

  • http://slamonline.com Khalid Salaam

    Wait, so he’s excited that he met Keith Closs?

  • http://twentythreenine.blogspot.com Russ Bengtson

    ftw

  • Boing Dynasty

    “damn, that ni@@a gettin beat” Haha.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Yo, I thought he was hangin out of the sunroof of the car. It was crazy that he wsa just standing up normally. That’s was freaky.

  • http://dyalekt.com d.Y.

    Now THAT’S an *ss whuppin!

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Fabulous video. (rolls eye in disgust)

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    i don’t know about you but ganging up on one dude is a b-tch move, no?

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    Keith Closs always looked to me as one of these tall dudes that don’t even like basketball but were kinda forced to play the sport and realized they could actually pull decent money with it. Same with Olowokandi, Amaechi, J. James…

  • Jackie Moon

    That would be awesome if that Keith Closs story was totally made up. It would be a great piece of fiction, with all the right strange-but-true details.

  • http://www.triplejunearthed.com/dacre Dacre

    Hahahahaaaa… Keith Closs…getting smacked down by guys smaller than TJ Ford… NO WONDER he couldn’t last in the paint during an NBA season.

  • Pic

    wow i want that book

  • niQ

    wow. why so serious?

  • chintao

    Good god. That was like watching the “R” Rated version of “Gulliver’s Travels”. If only Jonathan Swift had the inspiration of having seen people cruise Crenshaw on a Saturday night….

  • davidR

    allenp, i thought the same thing. he’s getting jumped pretty hard by hella heads though.. some of those dudes have to dragon punch just to reach his chin

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Thats a pretty b*tch move huh? Ganging up on one dude like that. Wonder why he was so amped in the first place though? Im assuming that Dragon Punch is nothing like a donkey punch though right? Lol. Dragon Punch is having to punch straight up at a guys chin isnt it (because of height disparity)?
    @Boing- wheres that piece of audio? I didnt hear it.
    Co-sign Keith.
    For some reason though, I though Closs was wh*te for the first 30 seconds of tape before they zoomed in closer, my bad.

  • underdog

    I could remember only one thing about Keith Closs. Antonio Daniels dunked on him once (or twice) big time. Proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqA7nWLf7S8

  • riggs

    funniest thing about that video were the girls jumping in and kicking him.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I think I’m too stuck up or something but I fin no humor in a dude getting jumped.

  • http://www.ravingblacklunatic.blogspot.com Allenp

    Sometimes it’s funny when people get jumped Z. I understand the rules about fighting, and you’re right, the cats in that video were acting like punks. But, I can’t agree with blanket statements that it’s not funny to watch people get jumped. Sometimes folks need mass @sswhippings.

  • http://www.manutd.com Z

    I’ll make that blanket statement, Allenp. Now if he had tried to step up to a dude and had his -ss whooped, I’d be like okay… the joke’s on you, you should have known better.
    Ganging up on someone is never cool to me. Anyways, that’s way too many comments for Keith Closs.

  • Myung

    There are teams called the 66ers and 14ers? With teams already called the 49ers and 76ers, there are only 96 numbers left. I hope Atlanta gets a franchise called the 96ers or something. BTW, I can name about 10 different WNBA teams off the top of my head but couldn’t name more than 3 D-League teams. Sad and sadder.

  • Myung

    I’m looking forward to the book written by the crew from Shawn Kemp’s Offspring. I’ll buy that one.

  • http://www.shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com Eboy

    Pre-orders will be up soon Myung. :)

  • HeatherB

    I saw Keith Gloss in Hawthorne California a couple of years ago rocking his own Clipper jersey…..lonely dude….BTW that’s not Crenshaw that was Westwood Ca home of the UCLA Bruins!

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    Is the book really that awesome? because I get my paycheck today and I don’t want to spend my money on something that I don’t know if it is really good or not. play wit it.

  • http://shawn-kemps-offspring.blogspot.com/ TADOne

    I knew I liked Myung for a reason.

  • http://hibachi20.blogspot.com DP

    damn…Closs got that ass handed to him.

  • James aka the Artist formerly known as Krayzie Bone

    That’s not fair, he got beat down by several guys (in terms of the fight. He may have shot his mouth off and earned it)

  • I ride toys

    I talked to that fool closs twice at KFC on crenshaw and slauson a while back in like ’99. I didnt even know who he was but he did pull up in a benz and had on the clippers practice jersey. That fool looked crazy

  • chintao

    @ HeatherB==> My fault. It looked like an L.A. scene, but I’m not too familiar. I just kind of guessed. Thanks for cleaning up my mess.

  • NetWorth

    I went to school with Keith, Funny guy, just a really BIG kid. Glad to see he is still alive.

  • eyehatedirk

    Keith Closs used to play for the college in my hometown, I saw him get pwned by players from Hofstra and schools of that ilk far too often.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    The Closs story is brilliant.

  • http://www.another48minutes.blogspot.com Gerard Himself

    (by the way, the story was funny, the video is awful)

  • Sanchez

    Although I did laugh when that first dude came in with the flying fist but then the video got extremely unfunny.

  • Sanchez

    Also, that clip should be included in one of those Bum Fights videos, considering how Keith’s bball “career” has gone

  • Diogo

    wait a minute: the guy is white or black? He looks black on the beat down clip, but white on the youtube video. WTF?

  • chintao

    ^Attempting to sort-out his rooting interests?

  • ciolkstar

    HAHAHA Chintao (@ 5:11) is awesome!

  • http://Breakersbasketball.com Curt

    I have been reading various comments about Keith Closs recently playing in China. I was his coach and we just returned from the 25 day, eleven game trip.
    I had never spent time with Keith before departing L.A. in mid september. Over the course of the 25 days, I learned to admire the maturity and changes he has made in his life thru conversations and observing him on and off the court for 25 consecutive days. His greatest motivation is to quit smoking cigarettes and I believe he will beat that too. There is always two sides to the story. I wanted to share the “other side” of Keith Closs. The “old” Keith Closs is the one you saw in the video mixing it up in the parking lot.

    Thank you for allowing me to express these comments on your website.

    Sicnerely,

    Curtis Pickering-Owner/Head Coach
    Santa Barbara Breakers

  • http://Breakersbasketball.com Curt

    I have been reading various comments about Keith Closs recently playing in China. I was his coach and we just returned from the 25 day, eleven game trip.
    I had never spent time with Keith before departing L.A. in mid september. Over the course of the 25 days, I learned to admire the maturity and changes he has made in his life thru conversations and observing him on and off the court for 25 consecutive days. His greatest motivation is to quit smoking cigarettes and I believe he will beat that too. There is always two sides to the story. I wanted to share the “other side” of Keith Closs. The “old” Keith Closs is the one you saw in the video mixing it up in the parking lot.

    Thank you for allowing me to express these comments on your website.

    Sicnerely,

    Curtis Pickering-Owner/Head Coach
    Santa Barbara Breakers

  • B

    i have a classic closs encounter too. it a little more mundane but kinda funny. he’s from the city i’m from harford, ct. i was at a local pizza spot that serves as an afterhours spot when the clubs let out. i was with some friends when out of know where tall ass keith closs walks in. towering over everybody in the pizza spot. it was only 5 seconds before the dumbest girl in thw world proclaimed, “damn, he’s like 6’2″ out this mothaf’er”. she said he was like 6’2″…i couldn’t stop laughing at the sheer stupidity. glad i finally had a reason to share this story.

  • Dr R

    Gotta love encounters with random back up centers. I once spotted Felton Spencer at an after hours fried chicken joint in Louisville during Derby Weekend. Being that it was late night Derby weekend, I was pretty much out of my head. I just remember asking him over and over, “Felton, you gotta tell us….what was Jeff Hornacek like off the court? As much the lady’s man as he appeared on it?”

    Good times….

  • John

    I love when people think they are tough for ganging up on a guy and pounding on him. Real classy guys, let us see you fight one on one huh?

  • bonger

    Keith Closs must be the most famous name with the shortest time in the NBA. Even on the local blacktops or gyms anywhere i play, every so often, til this day, I hear from the locals of a keith closs siting or encounter. Funny as hell! The name just won’t go away.

  • 8008

    I don’t know what Closs is spouting off in the video, or the circumstances, but people who get satisfaction from ganging up on a guy like that are pathetic.

  • stunna

    I went to college w/Closs at CCSU, he was a real humble dude in person, but damn he got stomped out in Cali! wtf Wonder why he don’t rock his CCSU Jersey? lmao

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y601RYSqtRA Keith Closs

    if only you could hear what Closs is saying…

    better click my name to find out.

  • brad

    wow, that’s some real bi*ch s**t right there. looked like at least 20 people got a shot on him at one point or another… people just can’t handle their own s**t anymore. what a bunch of bi*ches

  • JP

    Wow, young black culture is stupid. And for Slam Magazine to have that video posted on the site as if it’s a badge of honor is even more stupid. Young black men beating on another black men and you glorify it, celebrate it, laugh about it…why do you think young black culture is in the toilet?

  • JL

    Keith is actually a decent dude. just went thru (and still going thru) bad times. he lives right here in Pomona CA and hes a good friend of mine. just some of the things hes been involved in have made him kind of the poster boy for bad luck. i just hope one day that all the good comes back to him

  • TunaTacoGrande

    Closs is the Sultan of Swat. Best shotblocker to ever play in the state of CT.

  • Pingback: We Like Obscure NBA Players: Keith Closs – The No-Look Pass

  • Steve Strout

    The Keith Closs I knew was a really good guy. I don’t see any reason to believe why he still isn’t? Everybody goes through tough times in their life and it sounds like he’s doing better. I knew Keith back when he just left college and was getting ready for the nba. He was living with a friend in s.e. connecticut who will remain un named. Keith used to come down and hang with me at the restaurant I worked at. He was a good guy. Really funny dude. id been wondering what happened to him over the years. Id love to get in contact with the guy to catch up with him a bit. If anyone knows how let me know!!

    Steve
    lazyboy8679@yahoo.com

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