Basketball is a popular topic in NFL locker rooms — in part because many of these athletes believe they could have had a second professional calling in hoops. Some are clearly dreaming. Others can play a bit. (Kurt Warner, who still holds pickup games at his house, was once invited to play at the White House by then-President Obama.)
This weekend, Tyrann Mathieu — who often plays pickup and sometimes invites the public to come play in games at the local gym he frequents — had video proof he can play a little (as he has mentioned once or a few times.) Taking part in a charity game, Mathieu makes a couple of impressive crossover moves before drilling the game-winning three-pointer. If nothing else, it’s always good to see Mathieu moving around well on knees that have had their share of rough moments, ACL-wise.
More importantly, to have video evidence of his basketball prowess will no doubt be used as leverage in the locker room whenever the debate about who the top baller on the Cardinals might be.
IM LIKE THAT. Game winners for charity, it’s what I love to do! Special thanks to #ChangeForSociety & DJ bootleg Kev for the invite. #TyrannMathieuFoundation #ChangeForSociety #ArizonaYouth pic.twitter.com/tZDPXDGCru
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) February 26, 2018
Tags: basketball, Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Blog | 26 Comments »
Late in the season, the Cardinals’ offensive linemen installed one of those mini-basketball hoops above one of their lockers. Every once in a while, after practice, somebody (or somebodies) would take a few shots. There’s no question that over the years, plenty of players have come through that space thinking they were quite the basketball players.
Anquan Boldin could play. Kurt Warner could really play (and still does, hosting invite-only pickup games at his house in Scottsdale). Josh McCown could really play.
With the NBA all-star game today, it’s a good time to discuss who might make a solid unit for the hardwood. I’ve had the chance to talk to a handful of players about their basketball backgrounds. (I have not talked to everyone, and I am sure I will have inevitably missed some serious baller here. I ask, preemptively, for forgiveness.)
You’ve got to start with Darren Fells. The guy played pro basketball, after all. Larry Fitzgerald still likes to trash-talk Fells, and at one point there was a challenge of a one-on-one game, but I’m guessing Fitz wouldn’t like how that would turn out. Still, I’ve seen Fitz enough times in charity games that he probably could be in the starting lineup.
Our point guard would be Tyrann Mathieu, who might not quite be the same player as he was prior to a pair of ACL injuries, although I’m guessing he’d say different. (That video doesn’t exactly show the Badger against the best defense.) Calais Campbell, who at 6-foot-8 did some damage inside in high school, can be our center. And you don’t want to forget David Johnson (15.7 points, 7.9 rebounds a game as a senior in high school, and second-team all-state), who noted on Twitter he’s got a 41.5-inch vertical.
Off the bench? Kareem Martin, who played football at North Carolina, had a chance to walk on to the Tar Heels basketball team and maybe be the next Julius Peppers. Martin decided to concentrate on football, but you’ve got to have some game to be considered for UNC hoops. Some Earl Watford (Earl had some good stories about being the muscle on the court for his high school team), and a little A.Q. Shipley (A.Q., while shooting on that mini-hoop, assured me that back in the day, he was quite nimble on the court). Close it out with Tony Jefferson, who plays pretend basketball in the locker room with the trash cans more than any player ever and loves his Suns. (Yes, Jefferson was cut as a sophomore in high school, but noted that he had 16 points and five steals in his final lower-level high school appearance, so there’s that.)
Tags: A.Q. Shipley, basketball, Calais Campbell, Darren Fells, David Johnson, Earl Watford, Kareem Martin, Larry Fitzgerald, Tony Jefferson, Tyrann Mathieu
Posted in Blog | 7 Comments »