Here's Charles with a li'l primer on the REAL centerpiece of last night's blockbuster deal. I'd also like to submit this for those of you unfamiliar with his Humptyness.-Seth
I became a basketball fan years ago, but that many years ago. I didn't seriously start following professional basketball (actually, I'm almost never serious about it) until about 2006, and my first "favorite player" was Renaldo Balkman. As everyone may know by now, as a bi-product of his spectacular play, Rajon Rondo was taken one pick after Balkman, who was selected with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2006 draft. While he may be headed to the hall of fame sometime within many of our lifetimes, Rajon Rondo will never, ever amaze me more than Renaldo Balkman has. I would like to take the opportunity to explore some of Balkman's past and theorize about his future.
Renaldo Balkman has always connected with me. Growing up, for no reason at all, I oftentimes pictured myself eventually landing in South Carolina for one reason or another. South Carolina was Balkman's learning institution of choice. I like South Carolina for two reasons: Renaldo Balkman, and the name "Gamecocks." After being drafted by the Knicks, he was perhaps the most inconsistent player I'd ever seen, and obviously not a great one. The thing that enamored me about Balkman, though, was his energy. He can't ever stand still for any real stretch of time, which makes him perfectly suited to defensive basketball. Balkman shines on the defensive end through sheer effort and athleticism, even though he sometimes gets too overzealous. He is a gifted rebounder and absolutely awesome when he plays the passing lanes.
A couple of my favorite Balkman moments will be in my memory forever. The first, a particularly savage dunk over a particularly un-savage player's feeble attempt to draw a charge, made me believe Renaldo Balkman could do anything (and I'm right!).
The second will forever remain a Posting & Toasting legend, and a minor source of debate. Balkman had an excellent game on his birthday during the Las Vegas Summer League and was the interview of the game! Oh boy, a birthday interview! This was an opportunity for Walt Frazier and Balkman, my two favorite basketball players of all time, to interact one-on-one. Could it possibly live up to the hype? Well, when Clyde "Where's the party at?" Balkman calmly answered that he was going to "go get lifted with Greg."
Now, I'm aware upon further review that he is saying he's going to lift weights with Greg Brittenham, the Knicks' Director of Team Conditioning. But that doesn't take away from the magic of it sounding exactly like he said he was going to get lifted. What an oddball!
Balkman will never be the type of guy to get a lot of time on a great team, as his offensive shortcomings truly limit him as an impact player. That is not to say, however, that he is useless. If given the playing time, Balkman will be a defensive standout. Maybe the Knicks will never get down to him on the depth chart in favor of other, more offensively skilled players, but that is not to say he isn't a valuable basketball player.
Or my favorite current player. I have always had Renaldo Balkman as a Knick as a picture icon, and now it may be relevant again!
And Renaldo, if you're flipping out right now about being traded and googling your own name and shit, I just want to say welcome back. You were missed!