(Getty Images/NBAE/Nick Laham)
On June 28, 2006, with the 20th pick in the NBA Draft, the New York Knicks selected Renaldo Balkman out of the University of South Carolina. I, like many of you, responded by screaming "THAT'S NOT MARCUS WILLIAMS!11" and crushing a can on my head. Let's just say things have gone uphill from there.
Summer 2006- Balkman participates in the Vegas Summer League with the Knicks. We are taken aback with his energy on the court, his ability to both lead the break and finish at the hole, and the fact that he does this all while appearing to be asleep. Renaldo's dreadlocks cushion his head from hard falls on more than one occasion.
November 12, 2006- I dub Renaldo "Humpty". Nobody particularly notices or cares.
November 29, 2006- Humpty makes himself known to none other than LeBron James.
2006-2007- Humpty finishes the year averaging just under 4.9 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.6 minutes a game. His bizarre mannerisms, whimsical play, and propensity to dance at odd times average about 8.3 laughs in 15.6 minutes a game.
Mid-2006- I realize that someone beat me to nicknaming Balkman...and it was Popeye Jones. I vow from that day forward that Popeye Jones will never best me in any arena ever again.
March 30, 2007- The first night of many that Devin Harris awoke from his slumber in a cold sweat, convinced that vicious, dreadlocked falcons were assaulting him from above
April 8, 2007- I defeat and eventually kill Popeye Jones in a 4 hour-long game of "Uno".
July 16, 2007- Liftedgate. P&T citizens mishear one line in this video and go absolutely apeshit. Turns out, instead of going to "get lifted" with balding summer league sharpshooter Brian "Greene", he was going to "get lifting" with balding Knicks strength and conditioning coach "Greg" Brittenham. P&T citizens everywhere are dejected.
October 2007- Renaldo shows up at training camp with "Hustle Harder" tattooed on his legs.
January 30, 2008- Renaldo gets suspended for this completely flagrant and 100% necessary hit on Sasha Vujacic.
July 28, 2008- Balkman is traded to Denver, a place where playing time may be more available and getting lifted is a bit more legal.
What a long, strange trip it's been with Humpty. Here's to a man with the best hair in the league, whose primal screams after dunks could awake the dead, who launched ill-fated three-pointers whenever he felt like it, who insisted on leading the break, who had a friend who was friends with Barnesgasm, who used words that don't mean nothin', like looptid, and who always, always hustled harder. You'll always be a Posting and Toasting legend, Mr. Balkman. Best of luck in Denver.
If you have any stories and sentiments that you'd like to share, please do so respectfully in the comments.
Peace and Humptyness forever.