“It doesn’t really matter where you start it’s where you finish,” tweeted former Washington Wizard Andray Blatche just before 1 p.m. last Saturday. After workout with the Brooklyn Nets soon thereafter, Blatche has a new team, his second NBA team, via a minimum, one-year non-guaranteed contract.
An employment change can do wonders for some people. New, crisp shirts are purchased. A fresh haircut. Definitely a shave. Whatever else a transitional cleansing involves. When on new ground, the goal is to be extra visible to co-workers. Quickly respond to emails with a “thank you.” Buy people some coffee on a morning mission to the local shop. Don’t mind staying late.
No one necessarily knows if you were just as good at your old job, if you’re a climber, and have aspirations. Or if you hated your last boss—he was a dick. Or if you were severance packaged due to a numbers game or dwindling value. Or if you just felt it was time to move on. Or if you just plain sucked.
Except when your job is in the public eye. Even so, with the dissemination of man and woman unto social media, the lines between public figures and Joe Citizen are fading. Andray Blatche has represented the transition. He is that fading line.
Facebook was barely a year and a half old when Blatche was drafted. In January 2010, Blatche was writing this on his Facebook page after zero shot attempts in 17 minutes off the bench: ”Never have I played a game and had no shot attempts, they got me all f—ed up.” He then updated his status with an intent of going to Atlantic City to blow off some steam.
Twitter launched about year after Blatche was drafted. In February 2011, Blatche was allegedly challenging fans to a fight on Twitter. In December 2011, he was telling people to “shut up” about their criticism toward him after he complained about not getting enough shots after the very first game of the season.
But even before the social media explosion, Blatche was making poor decisions in public. Fights with JaVale McGee at the club. Radio appearances with blog-worthy, inane quotes. Party after party after party fliers (Blatche liked to party, but hey, so does John Wall). And interviews.
“Definitely next year, if I’m going out and I’m doing the same thing and I become an All-Star player, it’s definitely going to bother me a lot because I’m definitely going to feel underpaid and like I’m not being appreciated,” said Blatche to AOL FanHouse in March 2010. Ted Leonsis and Ernie Grunfeld signed him to that damn contract extension that September.
Blatche had no clue how to be a professional on the court, and off. But his middling effort on the court was the transgression of all transgressions. Sure, he just turned 26 in August, but he’s seven seasons and over 400 games old in his NBA life.
Blatche’s past will travel with him to Brooklyn. His new teammates, the rest of the League, and Kevin Garnett (ever-intent of talking shit to Blatche), know plenty about Blatche the player. He’s done a terrible job keeping his negative aura out the limelight, with or without the Twitter/Facebook machine; his hardwood flaws aren’t hidden, either. Nor forgotten by basketball minds.
But they, just as much as you and I, know about comeback stories. Yes, we’re saying there’s a chance with Andray.
Blatche knows that all he’s got is a chance, and that’s now the most important chapter in his book. So how’s it going to finish?
In a borough of the Big Apple, we will find out. It will public. Blatche is not disappearing in Milwaukee or Charlotte. He won’t be toiling away in the D-League or Uzbeki-beki-beki-beki-stan-stan.
So, where Brooklyn at?