By Felonte West
Close your eyes. The day is July 6 and you are just dying for any sort of lead or hint as to where Kawhi Leonard is at this very moment. Is he doing crossword puzzles? Is he having a seven course meal at the free Toronto eatery of his choice? Are LeBron James and Anthony Davis texting him flirty gifs of intrigue and persuasion? Is Steve Ballmer planting some sort of futuristic tracking device on his whereabouts? You’re antsy. You’re like Eddie House’s shaking leg right on the bench of some anonymous first round playoff series from 2007-2010, waiting to run in and hit that three, get that steal. You want something.
Woj and Shams are the two most trusted sources when it comes to this stuff, moreover a variety of beat writers and media people with connections sprinkled in. But in the middle of this ice cream sundae stood a hidden strawberry with a vision, a dream, just waiting to get scooped up.
Enter this metaphorical strawberry: Arye Abraham
He had a few guest articles on Bleacher Report and was even mentioned by Yahoo, allegedly. But the fact that he was 21, doing this for college credit, and knew quite literally no one didn’t matter right? Absolutely not. Cause he had two things that most others, except if you’re name is Jason Pierre Paul, have: two thumbs.
Right before this tweet, I fully imagine Arye down in his parents basement – ahem, sorry his lab- evil laughing into oblivion. Dozens of crumpled up pieces of notebook paper scattered around the floor, few empty Easy Mac cups linger next to the couch, his mother’s vintage collection of hats bunched in the corner because there’s no room upstairs to hold them. All of this did not distract him from sending this diabolical tweet and achieve his goal of rising to NBA twitter fame.
All it takes is some unsolicited confidence and a loyal Twitter following of 16-year-old’s that shoot videos of them flossing in their bedrooms and here we have it: a viral tweet. And in this brief moment, people believed him. Reputable* (don’t fall for the blue check mark) people believed him. Lakers nation believed him. He does have “NBA Insider” in his bio after all.
This little guy had the fucking BALLS to not only tweet this, but try to son ESPN’s own Kendrick Perkins in the process. Now I’m convinced he doesn’t know the NBA because if he did, he would know not to do this.
Fast forward 12 hours. Everyone is still searching for any hint. Kawhi is so detached from the world that legitimately no one except his uncle knows anything. This tweet is one of the few things people can point to. And in that moment, Arye felt it. The rush of emotions. Followers going up. Fresh Los Angeles air humming in through his windows. Moments later, the oven beeped and his dino nuggets were complete. Now back to the lab.
This high was short-lived for believe it or not, Kawhi did NOT rule out the Clippers. Clowning ensues. All of NBA Twitter bashed this man and his entire existence. And rightfully so.
Do not try to break news that you don’t know. But NBA twitter, be ashamed of yourselves as well. It is your fault for actually believing him. Who are the real clowns here? Even Scott Van Pelt got involved.
Can always count on SVP to come in from the top rope and spit some knowledge on the youngins’.
Here we are three months later and not a peep from Arye. All of his aspirations of becoming Kawhi’s next personal Windhorst have been destroyed. Diminished. Down the drain and into the underworld. So where is he now?
Well last I heard is that he’s just trying to get out of the house more. Pottery class, morning jogs, things like that just to get his mind right. His mother even let him join her book club, she thought it would be a good outlet for him to speak about his feelings metaphorically through literature. And sometimes, when he’s laying on his futon, talking smack via Xbox Live messenger to 14 year old 2K players across the globe, he looks up at his old desk. Thinking what could have been.
The summer of 2021 is the next big free agent summer in the NBA. This will more than likely happen again. The real question is…will we fall for it again? My hope is that we learn not to trust basement dwelling, sun-starved manboys with an internet connection and a personal team bias on matters of the movement of millions of dollars. Please learn your lesson from him. We know that some do whatever it takes to become famous online nowadays, but just don’t fuck with people’s heads. Or Kendrick Perkins. That’s all.