Sunday night, while watching the Denver Nuggets destroy the New Orleans Hornets in their playoff opener, I had to explain to someone who in God’s name that tall white guy with all the tattoos was playing for Denver.
I said some thing along these lines: “That’s the Birdman.” Or maybe it’s Bird Man. I like two words better, but Wikipedia says it’s one word. Ah well.
Of course, I couldn’t leave my explanation at that. I had to clarify that it was Nuggets center Chris Andersen, and that I didn’t know anything about his tattoos but knew he could ball.
That’s when I came to realize something: I don’t see a lot of Nuggets games during the course of the season, but dammit, I really like watching the Birdman play.
It’s a bizarre phenomenon. I have no reason to be attached to the guy at all. Literally none.
Of course, it probably has something to do with the type of reckless abandon with which Andersen plays on a nightly basis. He honestly — and yes I know this sounds corny — looks to be enjoying the game. He brings a ton of energy off the bench.
There’s also something redeeming about a guy who got tossed out of the league (two-year ban for violating the league’s banned substance policy) coming back and making good rather than falling back into the mistakes that got him suspended in the first place.
But those are too obvious and lame.
The real answer is even better: Everybody calls him the Birdman.
Seriously, how badass are you when you give yourself a nickname, live it every time you’re on the court with post-dunk celebrations and what not, and even Marv Albert calls you the Birdman instead of by your real name?
I’ll tell you how badass it is; extremely.
So a tip of the cap to you, Birdman, for keeping me interested in NBA basketball at past 1 a.m.