My off season continues to roll on as August passes and September comes in. I arrived in Sacramento 3 weeks ago direct from my NBA Fair extravaganza in North Dakota. Since getting up here, things have really slowed down for me. It seems like everything I do now has a meaning to it. The season is right around the corner, and what I do now will have a direct correlation with the season. I think they call this focus in some places. If so, this is the most focused I’ve ever been, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t have different kinds of excitement along the way.
My next door neighbor is Harold Pressley. You may remember him from Villanova back in the days or from the Sacramento Kings in the 90s. He has 3 kids, one of which looks exactly like Kevin Martin. I mean not like a look a like, but the kid looks like a kid would look if Kevin Martin reproduced asexually.
Anyways, these kids provide about 40% of my entertainment throughout the week. Most days, between 3 and 5pm, these kids will walk over and ask me to play baseball with them. I always oblige. They have home plate in the middle of the street, while first, second, and third are all located on Harold’s wrap around driveway. Since the kids are different ages, they get different types of pitches. The 7 yr old girl gets underhand, the middle son who’s 10 gets slow overhand, while 13 year old Kevin Martin gets fastballs baby. A homerun is anything over the house into the back yard.
Every day we play this game. Some days I’m just about to take a solid nap after a hard workout, but then these kids come over. They might as well be asking my mom “Can Rod come out and play?”. There’s even a couple other kids in the neighborhood who get in on the act. And those kids have a 20 year old sister who I just cant get them to introduce me to. Maybe it’s the wrong idea to ask my 7 year old baseball teammate to hook me up with his sister. To be honest, I don’t even know what she looks like, I just know shes 20 and I’m so bored that I have become an all-star on Matheny Way.
After a few days of baseball, my agent gave me a call. I stepped outside for like 45 seconds to swing my driver. When I stepped back in, I saw the missed call. I check the message on the phone.
“Rod, this is Bill. I’m going to sleep. I just wanted to let you know that we have an Invite to camp. I’m going to sleep though, call me in the morning.”
I called him back but it went right to voicemail. I don’t think he realized that it was like 7pm west coast time and that he didn’t mention the team. Yes, I was hyped, but I had 4 hours to go before I even would begin to feel tired enough to sleep. My mind wandered all over the place. Chicago? Phoenix? Golden State? I had no idea.
First thing the next day, I called him up. “You’re going to camp with New Jersey,” he said.
New Jersey. Sweet. Immediately I had a pretty good list of what the situation is in Jersey:
1. I might have more connection to this team than any other team in the league. My connections include:
a. I was roommates with Jameel Pugh last year who supposedly was the first to ever do a through the legs dunk off two feet, and from whom Vince Carter then took it and made it even better.
b. My brother tells me that he is friends with Richard Jefferson. I guess Rich (Can I call you Rich, Rich?) frequents the L.A. Fitness that little Benson works at.
c. Last year Hassan Adams was on the team. Hassan and I use to party at the U of A.
d. Actually the biggest connection of all… I have a relative on the team. A cousin. Second cousins I believe, but I don’t exactly have a family tree handy to figure it out. I know this may seem a bit shocking, but it’s true. I am related to Jason Kidd. It has never been publicized for a variety of reasons, but If I was to get signed by some chance, it would be tight to play with someone of the same blood line. The problem with this is that I’m pretty sure he has no idea of our relation. It will be truly funny how this all comes about. Do I walk up to him and be like “Yo, oh sweet you’re at camp too? That’s tight man. By the way, you’re my cousin. So, what’s for lunch?”
What could be even more funny is if he decides to ask me how we are related. I don’t have a good answer for that. I know my grandfathers last name is Kidd. After that, I didn’t really ask my mother about the details. We both felt that it was important, especially since I went to Cal also, that I had my own identity and to not allow the media to publish this fact when I signed my letter of intent.
2. Could I be Mikki Moore part DOS!? Who knows? I do know that if I grew my hair out a little bit and got some tattoos, there would a lot of confused people in the New Jersey area.
3. Roster space? I looked online and pretty much saw that 16 of the 13 guys on the current roster are posts.
4. East Coast? Could be interesting. Rod Benson on the east would produce a whole different level of fun. I just don’t know if I could hail a cab.
With a camp invite under my belt, my focus and work ethic have reached a new level. There is one big knock on Rod Benson: he’s just too skinny. This off season I decided to do something about that. Granted, it’s only been 2.5 weeks since I started my weight training, but I’ve already put on 6 lbs. of muscle. I was 219, now I’m 225. By the time camp starts in October, I could be up around 235.
How am I doing it? Well, it starts off with a personal trainer who works me to death. I realized that serious weight lifting requires killing yourself, or coming close, then living through it somehow and getting stronger as a result. If you’ve ever seen Dragon Ball Z, you know that Saiyan’s are the same way. I’m just trying to become a super saiyan.
Besides just lifting, I make these shakes and have one after every meal. I went to the Max Muscle store and asked the guy what I should take. He pointed to this big ass tub of nonsense. I said to him “Umm do you have something smaller? I’m only here for a month and a half”
He said “If you’re doing it right, this thing well be gone in 3 weeks.”
My tub ‘o protein for weight, creatine for recovery, and glucosamine for my joints.
Before I left the store, I asked him if I should take it with milk. He replied “Not unless you wanna fart all day long.”
So after 2.5 weeks of water based shakes, I would say that he has been right about damn near everything we discussed. I can honestly say that this coddamn tub has about 3 shakes worth of stuff left. I can’t believe how much I’ve consumed. One thing he was wrong about was the amount of gas these things give you. Mann sometimes I lie in bed and think “Is an NBA contract really worth having to smell your own gas all day?”
I mean, you know how you can always stand your own gas, no matter what? You know, sometimes you relish that smell. You want more of that smell. My gas right now is so terrible, that I gag sometimes. Even when it’s just me in the house, I’ll go outside on the street when I have to fart, then I’ll run around a little bit so it doesn’t linger with me, then I’ll come back in the house, just so I don’t have to smell it.
At the end of the day, it will all be worth it. The boring afternoons and stinky nights. The near death experiences that have consumed my weight training days. When I get to camp and I’m bigger, stronger, and faster than I was before, hopefully there will be no more questions. It will come down to 3 things in my mind:
Do he have the skill?
I think so
Do he have the desire?
Hell yes I do (Napoleon Dynamite)
Do he have the size and athleticism?
Always been athletic. Size? Improving every day baby! If they dont care about me stinking up practice, then we’re good!
Well this will probably best my last off season post. Hopefully next time I write about hoops I’ll be a 235lb monster! For now, I gotta go, the Pressley kids are knocking on the door.