Drew Gooden Has a Spirit Animal and An Irreverent Role in Wizards Lore
(Previously, on Andray Blatche breaking Drew Gooden’s ankles in a 20-point Wizards loss…)
Drew Gooden has to have a spirit animal. He just has to. Also, he’s got so many unfathomable connections to Wizards lore. (OK, like three.) Anywho, let us begin…
#1) ‘Twan’s Bentley
The Washington Post’s Michael Lee has recently reminded us of how Gooden jumped into the first Antawn Jamison Bentley leaving the Verizon Center (before Gooden had a chance to suit up for the Wizards after being traded to Washington on February 13, 2010) when both were traded away from Washington (to different teams, same deal) four days later on a February 17, 2010.
“Gooden tried to negotiate a buyout, then showed up a few days late before the Wizards flipped him,” Lee wrote.
Also via Lee and The Post on Gooden’s now second time as a Wizard:
That is a dramatic shift from Gooden’s first time in Washington, when he told former Coach Flip Saunders that he had no intention of playing for a rebuilding team. At his only shootaround with the Wizards, Gooden started his response to a question about his jersey number with, “If it’s going to be a number …”
This time around, Gooden has indeed made his choice on his number, sort of. “I got 90,” said Gooden, who has also worn the No. 0 for much of his career (the same number worn by Arenas). “They said I got to let zero cool off for a second.”
FWIW, via Basketball-Reference.com, Gooden is the only NBA player to ever wear No. 90, and he wore it with the Cavaliers (2005-2008), the Bulls (2008-2009), the Kings (2009), the Spurs (2009), and the Mavericks (2010). He wore No. 0 with the Grizzlies (2003), the Magic (2004), the Clippers (2010), and the Bucks (2011-2013).
#2) LeBron vs. DeShawn
The best part of the Gooden lore comes second. He was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers squads that beat the Wizards in the 2006 and 2007 playoffs, and Gooden also served as the whispering intermediary that later fueled “beef” between LeBron James and DeShawn Stevenson during the 2008 playoffs (Gooden was traded to the Bulls in February 2008).
Evidently, LeBron previously talked some sort of smack about Stevenson behind closed locker room doors (some baby-mama/#GroupieTalk, I suspect), and Gooden, being boys/acquaintances with Stevenson from the Bay Area, Cali, later relayed LeBron’s words to DeShawn.
From the Washington Post’s Ivan Carter in March 2008:
DeShawn Stevenson shed some new light on why he busted out and called LeBron James “overrated” after last Thursday’s win over the Cavaliers. In case you didn’t notice, the two were jawing at each other all night long and it began before the opening tip.
Apparently, James said something about DeShawn to former Cav Drew Gooden, who recently related that information to DeShawn. He didn’t appreciate it.
“We’re all in the same profession,” Stevenson said. “We don’t need to talk bad about one another. So, that’s how it happened. I was ticked off and that’s why I said something to him at tip-off. So, it goes back further than people think.”
I asked DeShawn if what James said was basketball-related or personal and he said: “It was both. I won’t say what he said. I said something back and we’ll leave it at that.”
Ah, those were the days… When Jay-Z diss tracks about Stevenson surfaced in D.C. clubs, and Soulja Boy thusly patrolled the sidelines for a Wizards-Cavs playoff game. Go figure.
#3) Can’t Say I Do.
On February 8, 2012, the 7-26 Wizards, then coached by interim guy Randy Wittman, travelled to Milwaukee to play the Bucks. At the very end of the first half, JaVale McGee tried to ingloriously block a Drew Gooden 3-point attempt but ended up fouling him at the intermission buzzer (GIF above). A fed-up Wittman benched McGee for the entire second half (Epic ‘Vale had made more than one gaffe that evening, per usual), and after the game, a loss, Wittman proclaimed, “I’m done with young guys!”
The very next night against the Orlando Magic in Washington, Wittman brought McGee off the bench for the first time all season. After that game, I asked McGee if he understood why his coach had benched him. His answer:
“Can’t say I do, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out sooner or later.”
And that, my friends, later became, “Can’t Say I Do: The Movie.”
So much lore, so very much lore. Lore on top of lore. Thanks, Drew Gooden (I think).
And now, spirit animals!
A couple TAIers were polled on A) What is Gooden’s spirit animal, and B) what his signing means to the cosmos of Wizards hats.
Drew Gooden, 32, has spent about a third of his life in the NBA: eleven years, eleven clubs. A glider by trade, and respected for his powers of flight, Gooden is best known for habitual disappearances in a jungle of walking, breathing, human trees. Indubitably, his spirit animal must the arboreal glider known as the flying lemur.
The flying lemur is not a lemur at all, in fact, but a colugo. Once considered a close ancestor to bats, this nocturnal airborne trooper is now seen by some scientists as the closest living relative to primates, based on both molecular and genomic data. Just like Drew Gooden.
In another dimension, accessible through the portal known as Platform Nine and Three-Quarters, the Sorting Hat at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry selected Gooden fourth overall, as the face of House Ravenclaw.
Gooden’s spirit animal is the yellow-billed cuckoo. The birds’ migration patterns from South America are symbolic of Drew’s many different stops in the NBA. The cuckoo’s distinctive yellow bill is also similar to the duck patch that Gooden used to rock. Drew will end being another innocuous member of the Wiz flock that will rarely stand out unless something bad happens, like droppings from the sky.
His signing? It evidently means that his wizard name is “Big Drizzle.”
Drew Gooden’s spirit animal was an elephant, until the astral projection of a poacher de-tusked it. Gooden expected to maintain a relationship with a now de-tusked spirit elephant, but that’s not how these things work, and his spirit animal is now a pair of two translucent, severed tusks sitting in the bed of a converted safari vehicle that speeds towards an e’er-collapsing horizon and the saccharine memory of the keys of a piano that Gooden played during better times. Gooden’s signing trumpets the return of ’90s plush to the Wizard hat industry and should serve as ample notice that men disclaiming affiliation with an order of magic may be simply delaying their debut … for championship reasons.