Wednesday, February 1st, 2012 at 2:55 pm  |  29 responses

My ‘Yearbook Awards’

Casey dishes on the most selfish/unselfish/athletic/likely to succeed (and more!).

by Casey Jacobsen

Do you remember when you got your yearbook in high school and there would always be those cheesy lists/awards about who was voted most popular, most likely to succeed, and best eyes? These “awards” are kind of like that, but with my teammates during the course of my four-year NBA career (Phoenix, New Orleans, Memphis).

Weirdest teammate… in a good way: Chris “Birdman” Andersen

The Birdman was one of a kind, but he was liked and respected by every member of the locker room. He drank two cups of coffee every night, 20-minutes before tip-off and played… um, like he drank two cups of coffee 20-minutes before tip-off. He drove a blue Hummer H2 with blue, sparkled rims. I’ve never seen a car like that before, but it fit him perfectly. He also holds the unofficial title for most-tattooed white dude in NBA history. He was weird… but I miss him.

Weirdest teammate… in a bad way: Darko Milicic

It’s nearly impossible to explain the weirdness that is Darko, but he told me one time that he did not keep his money in any bank, nor did he invest in stocks or bonds. “I just keep it,” he told me and then turned away. Looking back, I should have asked a follow-up question. I don’t know if I believe him, but he was making over $6 million that season. That’s a lot of cheddar to stash underneath a mattress! On another note… that was easily the longest conversation we ever had, and that was how he preferred it.

Class Clown: Hakim Warrick

“Hak” had the locker next to mine in Memphis in 2008. That was a long year for everyone, especially after we traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers, but Hak made it fun. He was always laughing or smiling or singing or all of the above. He watches mostly cartoons (not joking) and eats Starburst for breakfast every morning (joking…I don’t know what he eats for breakfast, but I wouldn’t rule out Starburst).

Most selfish teammate: JR Smith

I played with JR his rookie year in New Orleans in 2005. We were a bad team, full of me-first guys, but he took the crown. I’d never seen a guy so intent on shooting the ball every time it hit his hands and I’m sure I never will again. Watching him during his latest Denver years, I can see that not much has changed.

Most unselfish teammate: Steve Nash

He’s the exact opposite of JR in every way I can think of regarding a basketball player.

Most Popular Teacher/Coach: Mike D’Antoni

It’s well-documented that D’Antoni is a “players coach,” but that’s a difficult concept to comprehend until you actually play for him. He made practices almost as enjoyable as games and even though many people criticized his teams, he never let it change what he believed or how he ran his team. I respect that.

Most athletic: Amar’e Stoudemire

Amar’e and I were rookies together with the Suns during the ’02-03 season, and I remember our first day of training camp. We were both struggling to learn the new offense (D’Antoni was not the coach… yet. Frank Johnson was, so we actually had some offensive sets), and we were making an expected amount of mistakes. After another broken play, Amar’e just took the ball and dunked it hard from outside of the paint with ease. Coach Johnson remarked: “Maybe we should just forget the plays and just let him do that.” Everyone else agreed.

Least athletic (besides myself): Brian Cardinal

You don’t get a nickname like “The Custodian” if you can run fast and jump out of the gym.

Most Likely to Succeed (after basketball): Antonio McDyess

I played with “Dice” during my second season in Phoenix. He was a good player and teammate. He is smart and humble and treats everyone with respect. If he can’t succeed after basketball, there’s no hope for me.

Best Hair: Chris “Birdman” Andersen

This one wasn’t even close. Chris is the only player I’ve ever seen who has played the game of basketball efficiently while sporting an eight-inch mohawk. Impressive.

Best Eyes: Just kidding…

Casey Jacobsen is a former SLAM High School First-Team All-American and NCAA First-Team All-American. He currently plays for Brose Baskets in Bamberg, Germany.

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  • http://wagesofwins.com/2012/02/01/kyrie-irving-is-not-the-rookie-of-the-year/ nbk

    haha “the custodian” – my boy used to call me that. same reason.

  • Pingback: Darko Milicic, weird teammate « PistonPowered

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    This is amazing.

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Fun read!

  • Jer dawg

    Funny stuff. I always like to hear about different guys and their quirks.

  • http://sdfjklf.com Jukai

    Fantastic, just fantastic. I laughed out loud reading the Darko part.

  • Brion

    Was shocked to hear JR Smith was most selfish! who would of thought.

  • Justin

    Glance over at the sidebar and see this amusingly appropriate headline;

    “JR Smith Scored 60 Points, Hit 14 Threes in a Chinese Playoff Game”.

  • http://www.t-mac.com/tmac/index unf*ckwitable

    Haha dope stuff. Darko wtf.

  • http://slamonline.com ben osborne

    Tremendous. Thanks Casey!

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Very fun read.

  • riggs

    haha @ justin

  • Dr. DL

    I had already committed myself to reading this article. Then I saw who wrote it. I thought “no way it’s that Casey Jacobson.” I’m glad I was wrong though. I’m not really sure why the Brians (Cardinal and Scalabrine) are still in the league and Casey isn’t, but oh well. The Darko stuff was the best by far.

  • Dano

    Looks like Casey mellowed since his highschool days. Dude used to be a douche, ‘course if I averaged more than 50 points a game in CIF I would be too.

  • Oats310

    Great read!! Thank for the write up Case. Articles from former players (any at all) with some sort of insight would be great regular pieces.

  • grizz grit grind

    my ex use to babysit his kids. far connection, but prob the closest one ill ever have to an nba player! does he count as an nba player?

  • MikeC.

    Darko’s “I just keep it…” is going to become part of my regular rotation of workplace comments. “Hey Mike, we swapped out that broken printer, what should we do with the old one?” “I just keep it.” And so on.

  • Will Lee

    we need more stories like this. Slam, this is you. In the internet saga you need to do something like this

  • Pingback: Darko Reportedly Doesn’t Deposit His Money Or Invest It » Generation Y Sports

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Sheed called Darko the Serbian Gangster for a reason.

  • T-Money

    on a lighter note, why is it that guys with dreads can be incredible nfl players (fitzgerald, chris johnson, asante samuel, etc.) but ALWAYS suck in the nba. it’s like, i don’t even need to know who it is… if i see a rook with dreads, i know he sucks lol.

  • Pingback: Casey Jacobsen: J.R. Smith was biggest ballhog, me-first teammate | Larry Brown Sports

  • http://www.fiba.com Darksaber

    Never met Mcdyess, but was always an admirer from afar. Something about that stoic demeanor, the incredible hops, his comebacks from tough injuries and that general je ne sais quoi about him.
    Thanks for confirming what i somehow expected about the man, the player, Casey.
    Wie läufts in der BBL und im Eurocup so?

  • DerekG

    I don’t think he’s alone in his assessment of JR!! LOL!!

  • http://www.yougotdunkedon.com LilKDub503

    D’Antoni may be a great players coach, but he’s a horrible basketball coach. Finally the Knicks are getting rid of him.

  • Jake

    Good stuff, Casey! You’ve got to be at least a little quirky to reach the top of any field…and basketball is no exception! Of course, there’s quirky…then there’s Chris Andersen quirky.

    With Darko, I can only imagine the crazy stuff he saw growing up during the war, which was really fought right in the streets–he probably doesn’t trust anyone anymore. If that’s the sad case, could his parents have picked a more appropriate first name?

  • JermareoDavidson

    Keep it up. Nice Nice Article.

  • http://slamonline.com stephen Gram

    Um…where does Darko live. Are the Wolves on the road this week?

  • bsr

    Gretting from California