Originally published in SLAM 43

Kenyon,

I know we don’t really know each other, but I figured I’d offer you some free advice. You don’t have to follow it—number-one picks don’t need to listen to anybody except their agents and their moms—but do me a favor and pay attention.

Now K-Mart, I know what you can do. I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. And now that your leg is healing nicely, you’re gonna be clockin’ major minutes soon for the Bulls or the Wizards of the Clippers or whoever has that lucky ping-pong ball. And the first thing you’re gonna want to do is get in there and swat some shots into the cheap seats like Kobe in that adidas commercial. Understandable. It’s what you do. But here’s my advice: Don’t do it.

Work on your jumper. Develop a jump hook. Study shooters and learn where to position yourself and average 25 rebounds a game. Heck, block some shots if you have to, but for God’s sake, be humble. Why? Damn, kid, you ain’t blind, are you? You see the photo on these pages, right? The expression on EJ’s face? Now, I’ve sent plenty of his shots back, no doubt. Caught him ugly once when I was still in Detroit. But no one remembers that, right? There ain’t no Blockadamonth. But he gets me one time—one lousy time—and look at this. A damn two-page spread. And he was amped, too. Look at it—I ain’t even in position, and he was all hyped up. He got one on the shot blocker. I mean, me and E are cool and all, but I heard the talk. DC said some shit about me “earnin’” that one.

Don’t let this happen to you,

Theo

Russ Bengtson