But there’s more to Balkman than that. He’s a complex human being with hopes and dreams, tragedies and triumphs, dreadlocks and eyelid tattoos.
The Mavericks’ forward, who is trying to cash in on his long-shot chance of making the final roster, has the words “hustle” and “harder” inked onto right and left eyelid, respectively. Those words embody his philosophy on basketball, not to mention speaking highly of his ability to handle pain.
Asked for his first thoughts on the dreadlocked, multi-tattooed former first-round draft pick of the New York Knicks, coach Rick Carlisle said: “My first thoughts? I like his hairdo. And I like his tattoos a lot. There’s a lot of storytelling going on there.
“You know he’s got a high pain tolerance if he’s got tattoos on his eyelids. All that stuff impresses me before we even start talking about his game. That’s why I liked [DeShawn] Stevenson.”
Ah, Balkman’s game. I’ve gone this far without even mentioning it.
He’s shown to be a good rebounder for his size and quality finisher, but he hasn’t made much of an impact in the last few years. He’s probably a replacement-level player or so, but at 29, he doesn’t have much room to improve.
Not that it matters, in all likelihood. The Mavericks have invited the maximum 20 players to training camp, and 15 – the maximum allowed to make the regular-season roster – already have guaranteed contracts. Balkman does not have a guaranteed contract, making it very unlikely he makes the team.
Carlisle will likely have to find Dallas’ grittiness elsewhere.