Maybe you were feeling a little nervous coming into this week’s watch, given the encroaching FIBA Basketball World Cup and how many of our best and brightest vacationers are currently stuck playing — despite all that is right and good about NBA summer vacation — basketball. The good news is: a lot of guys have opted out. The other good news is: there are still many guys, like the vast majority of guys, who were never in it in the first place and who are still, blessedly, on vacation.
I also don’t want to heighten anyone’s summer stress levels beyond “What cold bev matches my swimsuit?” but there is now some serious competition in the running for the most prestigious of awards in professional basketball — NBA Summer Vacation Watch MVP (NBA SVW MVP). What initially looked to be a lazy river ride of a race has suddenly turned into a jetski chase of worthy vacations, and it’s going to be close until these contenders dump the accumulated sand from their giant shoes and head off to training camp. Simply put: the summer’s heating up.
In the interest of starting as strong as possible: Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn took a trip with some friends to Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and did everything in his power to have the best vacation possible, which I think mostly entails him being himself. Not to suggest Kyle is immune from the human experience of vacation letdown, but when your smile could power small cities I think you just enjoy a certain immunity to pouting because it’s not sunny for a minute.
Rating: I hope Kyle O’Quinn’s friends know they are the luckiest people on earth.
Westbrook continued to let his freak off the leash in the East the best way he knows how, by posing at the bases of great monuments. He started off in Seoul, South Korea, doing a kind of Top Gun thing and is now in Tokyo, Japan, showing off his shoes and solemnity at the base of the Toyko Tower.
Rating: Wanted - One Goose
Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, James Harden, John Wall, Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe
They’re all in the Bahamas together, hooping in pool slides, embodying the entire spirit of NBA SVW, making us cry?! This is like if the Perseids was made of franchise players and you happened to be in the exact right place at the exact right time to see them all flash by.
Rating: Like, if NBA SVW was turned into a movie, this would be it!!
Kawhi Leonard’s heart’s true desire, Paul George, took a rickshaw ride around Central Park in New York City. Do you think Paul would be more of an Eloise or a Kevin McCallister if he stayed at the Plaza? We’ll never know because he didn’t stay long. The dude is already in Mykonos, decidedly not invited to the occasion that had the preceding group of NBA summer lovers converging in the Bahamas.
Rating: I think he’d be Eloise.
Jimmy Butler remains on the move. This week he’s in Dakar, Senegal, joining the Sixers Player Development Specialist and friend, Remy Ndiaye, who is doing work for SEED Project and NBA Africa.
Rating: He also dropped the whole high tea thing he was doing last week in all the European towns he visited after London, which truly seems to be for the best.
The big KAT tried to play it sneaky with us but let it be known you can’t sneak somebody whose full-time job is figuring out in what sunny locale it is that you are getting your feet wet (he also seemed to cave toward the end of this trip and did a geotag, but tomato tomoto). Towns is in Hawaii! Specifically, the Kohala Coast of the island of Hawaii itself.
Rating: Life is a blessing, but it is also, judging by that last photo and a timeless piece of art, A Highway.
Mike Scott must have gotten wind (and decided to parasail in it) that this column was going around complaining there weren’t many NBA SVW MVPs in contention, because in the span of a couple weeks he has gone and just about made the entire award redundant, along with this column, because the load of recreational riches he has delivered unto us is grounds for a spinoff column called Mike Scott Summer Vacation Watch.
First, and this already seems like ages ago, Mike Scott did what started as a funny joke of running down the beach holding a big piece of bread. Birds followed. But he disappeared out of frame for a second and when he came back, running full tilt, he was being chased by about 50 more birds. He recovered by popping a bottle while wearing a Tim Duncan jersey on his beachside balcony, as one does, took a trip into the jungle to casually pose by a wood carving, and then go to Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun to chill in a lucha libre mask before then repelling down every manner of line there is. Honestly pack the rest of this in.
Rating: I feel like Zeus must have felt when he created all the other gods who just became infinitely cooler, doing wilder shit, and he sat there like, “What’s the point?” That or a bird watcher who is killed by the best and rarest bird they’ve ever seen because their heart explodes at the sight of it.
D.J. went on a romantic anniversary trip to the Turks and Caicos Islands! He started it out by slowly wading into the ocean and staring out at the horizon for a solid twenty minutes contemplating how fleeting is our mortal existence, then, sufficiently amped for a beach vacay, he rode an oversized bike and had a very nice, private, tiki torch-lit dinner.
Rating: Staring at D.J. Augustin staring at the ocean could be an exercise in a meditation app.
Andre Drummond took summer vacation and made it a dietary component by getting medically advised to drink approximately one cold, light beer per day.
Rating: By that logic this column is also nutritional.
Otto Porter Jr.
OPJ took only two tries to perfectly mount a flamingo pool inflatable. The next time you hear someone complain that NBA players slack off too much in the summer please remind them that this, exactly, is what six months of a gruelling regular season is in service of.
Rating: Also use this as an example to show people who get mad that players don’t want to play in the FIBA World Cup, they are too busy almost hurting themselves in way more fun ways.
Tim Hardaway Jr.
This is it, all Tim Hardaway Jr. gave us. Like a postcard that shows up on your doorstep with wine rings and water damage (tear stained?), smelling like the sea, like pine resin and olive trees, and the message is something coy and distant like the last joke you shared or maybe just the recounting of a dream that’s got nothing to do with you and them. You’re left standing in your kitchen, smelling deeply a dirty piece of cardstock, alone.
Rating: Anyway, Saint-Tropez looks beautiful this time of year!
Aaron heard we were trashing him in here last week so he went to Times Square to do the robot to his reflection in a puddle and prove us all wrong.
Rating: You got us, dude.
Jordan Clarkson made a regular lunch for himself.
Rating: Save yourself some trouble during your next summer BBQ and don’t invite any friends at all.
Powell’s in Turks and Caicos respecting the grind of the sun by hiding under a beach umbrella and a towel.
Rating: Norman Towel. Goodnight.
Biz is in the Congo looking great and doing great work, and showing us where that saying “take a long walk off a short pier” came from.
Rating: Coincidentally, that’s the same thing I tell anyone who disagrees with the bag Biyombo secured after leaving the Raptors.
While going back to Italy, when you’re Italian, to play for them during the World Cup, isn’t summer vacation, it is a great opportunity to shine a light on their crumbling infrastructure and raise the question that there’s no other, less ancient place for these guys to practice?
Rating: We all saw Gladiator but the stakes are really not that high for this tournament, miei amici!
Iman Shumpert with a great question for everyone.
Rating: No pressure, but hold a person you love or two to your body half submerged in water soon, because summer won’t last forever.
Look at these friends chilling, eating some hot soup with some white wine on a shaded boat off a Croatian island on a hot day.
Rating: This island has a 4.7 Google rating and who are we to argue?
Dennis Schröder broke basically the cardinal rule of Vacation Watch, which is don’t work out in or adjacent to a pool. But he broke it twice by working out within spitting (and falling!!) range of the ocean, so does the latter cancel the former?
Rating: Hell no. But they don’t call him Schröde the rude dude for nothin’.
What is UP, Emmanuel Mudiay chilling extremely hard on a filthy ATV!
Rating: You know you’re doing summer vacation right if Ron Baker is in the comments urging caution.
What I don’t want you to ask is what is going on here, what I would instead like you to consider is, what isn’t?
Rating: Lil Nas X remix but it’s a Renaissance painting.
If you have never given serious thought to marrying Chandler Hutchison have I ever got bad news for you.
Rating: Even the fish are like good luck tossing this one back.
Bonus: Retirees gone wild!
A SVW exclusive: Where in the World is Mr. Steal Your Wife! Good news for your marriage, Tony Parker is on the Greek island of Delos, surveying some ancient statues and hopefully not your wife.
Rating: Keep an eye on your wife though because that pose is classic “Whose wife can I find on this historic island?” Parker.
Diaw spent a good portion of his earlier summer chartering a board to the Virgin Islands then swimming off the coast of Hawaii with sharks, taking a break only to chill with France’s FIBA World Cup squad in the Frenchist of team dinners in the history of sports.
Rating: Les Champs-Elysees, blasting from everywhere.
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