Wow, if you thought things would be winding down by now do I have news for you!
It’s like everyone in the NBA got the memo that these summer memories weren’t going to make themselves and got the hell out there to do it. From big stars to rookies, Mike Scott finding an ice cream truck and driving it around Philadelphia to Paul Pierce sending himself hurtling through the jungle, dudes were putting their pool slides to metal this week and giving this last stretch of summer their all.
It could be that we all get a bit delirious knowing that this carefree time is coming to an end, or it could be that these guys know a bigger prize is on the line: Summer Vacation Watch MVP (SVW MVP).
Probably the most prestigious of basketball awards, SVW MVP is given to the player who, simply put, had the best summer vacation. But it is based on careful metrics and the decision cannot be based upon one factor—length of vacation, how far flung, how much time spent submerged in almost physically dulcet waters. Everything is considered, plus the more intangible stuff, like the joy it brought the haver and also, us.
We’ve got another solid week of vacations to come, but now is a good time to consider the weeks past as well as what’s in front of us. Like a blazing summer sun slowly setting, NBA SVW is the shimmering, living landscape itself and SVW MVP its molten core. Slap on your shades.
Imagine if you will that you’re hanging out with Klay Thompson. You’re at his house and maybe playing NBA 2K, or he’s giving you organic treats to give to his bulldog, Rocco, or you’ve just wrapped up a particularly grueling chess match. You’re going to call it a day. You’re putting your shoes on but Klay stops you, says first he wants to invite you to see his “treatment centre”. You’re a little put off but you follow him outside, around the corner, down a small hill. You are thinking of excuses because this is getting weird when all of a sudden Klay steps to the side and puts his arm out and breaks out into, not a grin, but his face changes into a proud little smile as he proudly offers you all that you behold. He just wanted to go for a swim.
Rating: “Treatment centre” is what Klay Thompson calls the ocean.
Some would have you believe it’s hard to improve upon baseball, “American’s most boring pastime” as the saying famously goes. But here we have Anthony Davis just barely going through the motions of throwing a baseball and suddenly we’re all a bunch of John Fogertys begging to be put in, coach.
Rating: Anthony Davis (muscled arms interlocked) John Fogerty
Keeping us interested in baseball
Honest to god I was getting worried!! Aside from a quick trip over to Milano right at the start of summer vacation for fashion week (which, let’s be real, PJ takes extremely seriously), there has been no rest for this wickedly big fan of pancake stacks and driving to the rack. No doubt, we’ve seen some good summers so far, but an offseason without PJ Tucker taking a vacation is like having no real reason to wear your best cutoffs (you know the ones I mean).
Rating: The new summer anthem, repeat after me—Yeah I’m good, lordy lord, I’m ok.
Ok, big confession, I had falsely reported that Jimmy Butler wrapped up his summer vacation last week but throw me in a slippery suntan lotion jail I can assuredly wriggle out of because Jimmy G. Buckets is back at it. He’s strolling around Stockholm, Sweden, looking real cozy under an inflatable solar system.
Rating: 100% he told one of his friends to get their ass to Mars, and meant meet him over by a lingonberry cart, set up under the swinging replica of Mars.
Damn, if you ever had a wedding and didn’t invite DeAndre Jordan did you ever fuck it up. Jordan officiated a wedding for two of his good friends and had maybe the best time out of everybody there. He walked the bride in while wearing white Birkenstocks? He caused his own whiplash on the dance floor? He is joy, in its 6’9” form? It all checks out.
Rating: My bad for the next wedding you have to attend since you’ll be thinking about DeAndre Jordan at this one the whole time.
Steady Freddy, and thank god for that, perched on an ancient crumbling precipice of the Great Wall of China. VanVleet took a trip to China, where he is leading some camps, but taking some time to be a tourist too. Through some sleuthing, I found out Fred is a little bit afraid of heights so here’s to banishing fear this summer.
Rating: Freddy climbed to the top of a 375 year old structure to do it but you too can climb to the top of whatever freaks you out, spiders or loneliness, all aboard.
Yes fine, here’s Hassan hanging out at home and in his new backyard, but there’s something to be said for seeing your local surroundings in a whole new light, with a new appreciation, and making summer vacation happen right here at home.
Rating: Plus he had a song that went along with being in the tub that was like “Ramen, ramen, I’m a ramen in that bowl,” so.
Doubling up on the Blazers scorching summer content but what can I say, this team is killing it. They’re like a roster of freewheelin’ fauns but less nefarious and gross and instead interested in equanimous good times.
CJ McCollum is currently in Italy with his girlfriend, in a little villa outside of Florence like right out in the damn romantic countryside. Romantic for him and his gf and also this guy teaching them how to make pasta who has clearly found a protege in CJ.
Rating: Move the hell out of that decrepit villa, Diane Lane, because CJ McCollum is coming to open a restaurant with his pasta teacher in it!
I understand, fully, more than anyone probably, that there is still at least another entire week of NBA Summer Vacation left and that its most sacred award, Summer Vacation Watch MVP, is still wholly up for grabs. I don’t play fast and loose with this. But! Mike Scott has consistently brought us new heights, new feats not seen in SVW and it is fair to say I’ve never seen a summer so carefree and that’s all I’ll say about it for now.
This week, he started slow by doing some extremely chill poses in a dusty lot with just enough of a tell (helmet) that he was maybe dirt biking or go karting. But then he went and commandeered an ice cream truck and took it down to Philadelphia Museum of Art and gave away all manner of frozen delights. Plain cones, swirled cones, sprinkle cones, dipped cones, donuts with his own branding, all afternoon he was there, doling it out for no reason other than it’s August.
Rating: Probably anything you wanted that he had in the truck, Mike Scott would give you. Maybe even his heart, hell, he already has yours.
The sweet young baby Devin Booker has been catching heat this week for being a sweet young baby so let us not focus on how he was double-teamed in an open gym, and what his reaction was to it, but instead on how he has been double-teaming close friendship all summer long. That aspirational trip he and D’Angelo Russell took to Aspen last week? We got the Good Book’s side of the photo slideshow and it is, very sweet!
Rating: S/o to living life like a real life Mario Kart and having all your friends go in different vehicles down that winding, misty mountain road.
Mister Beverley first chilled on Miami Beach, directly, then skipped down to the Bahamas to look pretend not impressed on a jetski. He was impressed though, and a little bit nervous, and also has a very bold heart for blasting music and taking videos and not worrying one iota about his phone going in the drink.
Rating: That might be the biggest Stars, they aren’t really like us—limitless new phone budgets.
Speaking of ways in which to make baseball more interesting, Trae Young hopping into the dugout with beach hair and beach air, like vibe, like knowing he was just looking like this half submerged in water only days before, you know, that could get me to a game.
Rating: What Fogerty was howling about when he sang, “A-roundin' third, and headed for home, It's a brown-eyed handsome man. Anyone can understand the way I feel.” I sure do, John, and it’s gonna get us arrested.
A sideways JR Smith in a bucket hat golfing without a care in the whole wide world as to whether or note a team will sign him, who it will be, where they will be located, and what he will do there, as a very deep, very pure, very huge late-August energy.
Rating: Big flex on gravity and the intended viewer to make the effort to record widescreen but still make it sideways. Starting to think JR maybe has a thing with wrong directions.
Sure, Jerebko’s from Sweden, but if this was your busted ass plain old front yard you wouldn’t kick it out of bed for eating crackers, or pale cold shrimp on toast, in this case.
Rating: ‘Peaceful Easy Feeling’ by the Eagles sung by the Swedish Chef, stat.
Oh my sweet gentle green satin giant, Delon, has anyone been more determined not to have a trip to Cabo that didn’t unravel at Señor Frog's than you? If you’ve ever seen a purer vacationer, I would welcome you to tell them to get lost and leave Delon out here on the ocean wearing his snorkel and his joy plastered on his face.
Rating: May you only ever see dope fish.
Can something be both rippin’ and beautiful? D.J. Wilson aka Lanky Smoove proves that yes, not only can it, but it absolutely should.
Rating: May your vacations always be rippin’ and beautiful.
Somebody better call maintenance down here on the double so my dude Myles can get his satisfying swim in this fantastic sky pool.
Rating: May your sky pools always be overflowing.
Thou shall not want, sure, but what happens when you see Quincy Acy and his friends casually living the life you’ve always dreamed of?
Rating: Is this my existential crisis? So be it, because it’s beautiful.
Marvin Bagley III
Marv looked nervous for a second there about how his hair was holding up in the Hawaiian humidity and that beautiful, underlit pool but phew, he got a handle on things and flipped us a hang loose so we knew he had this.
Rating: Love how hang loose is just throwing the horns, but with heatstroke.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Tim Hardway Jr. keeps doing this. Letting slip a romantic little postcard of a place at a very solitary time of day, letting us know enough to see when he is without saying where, via mysterious, sensory clues.
Rating: Tim, if you can’t stop time travelling, you have to tell us.
Danny took a really cute trip down to the Caymans with his whole family, to toss coconuts and touch sea turtles and get a little bit freaked out by a big stingray, and also eat Lays Canadian brand plain chips on a yacht.
Rating: You can take Danny Green out of Canada but, really wholesomely, turns out you can’t take Canada out of Danny Green.
Sorry if you didn’t know you needed to see Yogi Ferrell looking out wistfully across a calm, cozy lake.
Rating: But also, you are welcome.
Solomon Hill got married! Congratulations, Solomon!
Rating: But you already know I’m thinking about DeAndre Jordan at that other wedding.
The wonderful satin ‘fits on speedboats contine this week thanks to Kevin Knox probably just cruising around the New York harbour but a look like this is your passport to anywhere.
Rating: Even the Captain is smiling.
Here’s Denzel at I wanna say a pool party in the desert because frankly we deserve it.
Rating: Whoever plunked Valentine’s mid-February never took the right amount of time to look at thi photo, which would have been any.
Leaf caught a fish that is most definitely not fake.
Rating: Like his buddy didn’t take this out of the cooler and wipe it down and hand it over to him.
Chandler Hutchison dancing alone at Lollapalooza at dusk to make your heart explode, right on time.
Rating: Like the Summer Solstice, but in a way you will never recover from and probably The Chainsmokers are there.
Bonus: Richard Jefferson with the biggest self own of summer?
Richard Jefferson is having the perfect, roasting and toasting summer. Roasting by consistently being on vacation, like for 2 months, and tagging his good friends Kevin Love and Channing Frye wherever he goes. And toasting by being self-depreciative (and appreciative) enough to call himself out for taking boat selfies.
Rating: Also roasting for practicing good sun care.
Bigger Bonus: Where in the world is Paul Pierce?
Back from China, Paul Pierce has gone in search of a new athletic hobby. After taking some spills in artificial wave pool he went ricocheting down a zip line through the jungle, and it’s safe to say neither really suited him but he will not be the one to tell you that.