Chris Andersen, role model.
The Birdman has been getting in some run during the lockout with the team of his old high school coach in Texas — Rob Stewart — and he left an impression on some impressionable youth.
But not about tats and flamboyant style, rather about work ethic and understanding the game, according to a story on ESPN (via SLAM).
While participating in full-court and fastbreak drills, scrimmages and even suicides, Andersen taught the players how to do a move he does on the pro level: running the short corner when opposing defenses go zone. Throughout every exercise, Andersen stressed to be aggressive “like bulldogs….”
“The funniest moment was when we were rebounding for him while he’s shooting free throws,” (senior Dylan) Tacconi said. “He’s like, ‘Ya’ll gotta talk or do something because it’s too quiet and I’m used to noise while I’m shooting free throws.’ He’s got his shirt off, he’s got tattoos all over the place. One of my other teammates, Bradley, and our friend, Joey, is in there with us, and Joey goes, ‘Go get another tattoo you freak.’ And my friend Bradley goes, ‘Hey, Chris, you missed a spot.’ He still made like every shot.”
It had to freak a few parents out to get a look at Birdman, to read about his past, and wonder what their kids were learning. But people who freak their parents out is exactly who high schoolers listen to. Out of this, if those kids learned to play the game — whatever the game — with the energy and desire of Andersen, they will have learned a valuable lesson.
Nuggets shot blocking machine Chris Andersen is not your typical NBA player — in a league with inked-up players, the Birdman’s tattoos turn your head. And blind you.
So we should have guessed that when SLAM magazine asked him what he was up to this summer (at a Converse event), the response was going to be a little different (via Ball Don’t Lie).
“I’ve been training and whatnot about basketball, but also I’m trying to start a hunting show right now. So I’m out in the woods with Converse.
SLAM: A hunting show?
“It’s gonna be called “Willie B and the Good Ole Boys.” Basically with all my friends I grew up with down in Texas, and it’s going to be celebrity rednecks that do crazy, dumb stuff…”
Look, I’m a city boy that doesn’t hunt. But if you’re going to ask me if I’ll watch Andersen and Ted Nugent or Goose Gossage or Karl Malone stalking some game while throwing back cans of PBR, I’m in. I don’t even care who Willie B is, I’ll still watch. My only question is, can you really sneak up on a deer with that neck tattoo? Doesn’t it kind of stand out in the woods?
If the lockout lasts much longer, at least we’ve got Andersen’s second career lined up.
Have the color adjusted on your sets because things are going to go much brighter when the Denver Nuggets travel to Golden State tonight.
Chris Anderson is back, recovered from knee surgery. The Birdman. He of the insane neck tattoo and the high flying blocks.
Really, it’s the second part of that can dramatically help Denver — the Nuggets defense this season has been average. That’s in part because opposing teams are shooting 65 percent at the rim against the Nuggets, the sixth worst percentage in the league (via Hoopdata). Nobody fears them at the rim. Look at the top teams in the league and they protect the rim. Right now Denver does not.
Chris Anderson changes that. He will take away some easy layups, alter shots and force the other team to just pull up from 12 feet out. That will be a huge boost to the Nuggets.
Plus, you know, Technicolor neck tattoos.
On the night of New Year’s day, when your hangover is finally gone and you settle in for a disappointing Fiesta Bowl featuring Oklahoma and Utah, something else may catch your attention.
Kenyon Martin may be back in an NBA game.
George Karl said Tuesday that he hoped to have Martin back by Jan. 1, and Chris Anderson back a month earlier, according to the official Nuggets twitter account.
Martin has said he’s not racing back from offseason knee surgery, which will mean more minutes for Al Harrington in the short term. But as frustrated as Martin may be this is a contract year for him, so having a bad attitude or making the knee surgery look worse than it actually was does not benefit him.
With a healthy front line of the Birdman, Martin, Nene and Harrington the Nuggets are one of the few teams that could at least challenge the Lakers front line. But that is a long way off and a lot of things could change in Denver between now and then.
I didn’t think any tattoo a Denver Nugget could get would surprise me anymore. I was wrong.
On a team with more tats than the Ink and Iron Festival, Chris “Birdman” Anderson has raised the bar. It’s his “Free Bird” tattoo. With some sort of exploding rainbow of color and flames that… I really don’t have the words.
Love it or hate it — maybe a little of both — you have to say that nobody has anything like that.
So for that, good on ya Birdman.
And if you ever need to cover it up, Stan Van Gundy has some mock turtlenecks that he’s not using anymore.