Most fans think of Rockets GM Daryl Morey as the face of the NBA’s analytics movement. He gets derided for it in some backward camps, although if you look at his moves this summer he did what the numbers told him — if you can get an elite talent such as Chris Paul, do it — and it’s what a lot of GMs wish they could have pulled off.
Morey has another side — he’s a lover of musical theater. Obsessive might be a better word.
So much so that he is helping produce a musical — about basketball, called “Small Ball” — that will have a six-week run in Houston. Morey talked about it with Scott Cacciola of the New York Times.
The musical, called “Small Ball,” which is now bound for rehearsals and a six-week run in Houston, bridges two of Morey’s great loves: basketball and Broadway. Known for his savvy, analytics-laced way of leading the Rockets, Morey — former high school trombonist, current theater obsessive — has relished the chance to sneak behind the curtain…
“We’re just a bunch of friends doing this at this point,” Morey said (of his musical team) in a recent telephone interview. “I guess we do have official titles: book writer, composer, director. So I’m a producer of some ilk, whether that’s executive producer or just producer…
“I provide the money,” he said.
The plot seems odd at first — an island nation of small people just inches tall decides to form a basketball team and recruits a guard named Michael Jordan, who is not that MJ but an unimpressive player with the same name — but it can work. Think about the plots of the latest musical hits — a hip-hop retelling of the life of Alexander Hamilton, remaking of animated Disney stories, or the big new hit “Dear Evan Hanson” which deals with teenage angst, bullying and suicide — and maybe Small Ball isn’t that far off.
Morey, like everyone in the NBA from the front office through players and beyond, are more than just basketball geeks, they are diverse people with other interests and hobbies. Thanks to basketball, they have the money to persue them. Morey likes musical theater, and as a long-time theater fan myself (seriously, I highly recommend Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson if you want some history with your theater) I hope this works. And I can get there and see it.