Nuggets big man JaVale McGee is a favorite around these parts, so when Eddie Matz profiled him for ESPN The Magazine, there's no way we could ignore that. The profile is great, and we pulled out a few of the best parts below:
JaVale on cinema:
"Everything I do is premeditated," says McGee, who grew up in Flint, Mich., with dreams of being a filmmaker. Quentin Tarantino and Guy Ritchie were his faves. As a kid, he produced Blair Witch Project rip-offs by taking his aunt's camera and shooting in night-vision mode. When it came time to choose a college, USC was his top choice because of its renowned film school, but the Trojans wanted him to redshirt, so he opted for the University of Nevada. "I chose basketball over film." The decision, fair to say, hasn't affected his ability to know what entertains an audience.
JaVale on Twitter:
Exhibit A: @JaValeMcGee34, a Twitter account with more than 70,000 followers in which McGee, under the alias Pierre (an alter ego he devised during his early NBA years), retweets himself ("cuz what I say is that important"). It's often hilarious: "I had a dream I woke up and had a nightmare about having no dreams!" Often ludicrous: "I ask all the important rhetorical questions! Do I not? That was rhetorical." And sometimes just curious, like when he posted a pic of a tot in a stroller looking intensely at the camera, with the caption: "This baby been staring at me for the last 10mins straight!"
JaVale on irony:
He still does curious things, like when he plunked down 30 bucks for a red furry plush Elmo backpack that's been practically attached to his back ever since, and for which he's received constant ribbing from friends and strangers alike. Recently, as he and Elmo were walking out of the 16th Street Noodles & Company, a woman stopped him. "It's ironic that you're so big and you have this little kid's backpack," she said. To which McGee responded, "Finally ... someone gets it!"
JaVale beating Hakeem Olajuwon one-on-one:
In August, with the sting of a seven-game first-round playoff loss to the third-seeded Lakers still fresh, McGee and Faried spent three weeks in the sweltering Houston heat, receiving private tutoring from Hall of Fame center Hakeem Olajuwon. The Dream spent the boot camp sharing his infinite array of inside moves with the young Nuggets, honing their footwork and preaching a simple message: Make your fakes real. McGee, who despite being a seven-footer has always played more of a small forward's offensive game, turned out to be a quick study. So quick that during a full-go mano a mano between McGee and Olajuwon, the pupil duped the master with a trademark Dream shake.
JaVale doing nothing interesting, yet being interesting:
During an interview inside the Nuggets' player lounge following an early-October practice, McGee spends the majority of the time staring at a large bottle of Simply Orange, giving terse answers to seemingly annoying questions.