Welcome to a brand new and soon to be favorite running post of everyone’s here on the Sports Download called Thanks Internet! Here, we will break down the very best posts, articles, but mostly videos the Internet has brought to our attention and share them here with you to enjoy, just as much as we do. The inaugural post is dedicated to some players who don’t get a lot of press despite being in the NBA Finals. Yes, I’m talking about the bench of the Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder are a very superstitious team. Don’t believe me? Check out their rituals they go through during their pre game handshake lines*. They have the stuff down to a T. Their warm ups are more coordinated and planned out than early 2011 Washington Wizards gameplans were!
*No the video isn’t shown twice in a row in that clip. It’s from two different games. They are that good.
So if any team is going to have a “do it by the book”, intricate, and slightly insane ritual on how to hand out chewing gum, you’d better believe it’s going to be OKC.
In the video above, you can see ESPN True Hoops own Henry Abbott getting a rare interview with the self professed Gum Gang leaders, Reggie Jackson and Cole Aldrich**. Please enjoy a running commentary on this amazing piece of footage.
**Not because it’s difficult to land time to talk to them, but because no one does. I think the last time they were both interviewed was when Cole was selected 11th overall by New Orleans (yes, he was a lottery pick) and Reggie Jackson was being asked why he was leaving Boston College early with his injury issues during Junior year.
0:02 Abbott looks back to the camera to ensure its rolling. You don’t want to miss out on rare footage like this.
0:03 Aldrich looks stunned to see a reporter asking him a question. What should he do? He’s the fourth center on the depth chart! He hasn’t read a scout sheet all season!
0:08 PHEW! He’s asking a question about bubble gum. Close one there Cole. Close one.
0:09 Yep, Cole Aldrich is missing his one of his front teeth. Don’t worry, as a hard working broadcaster and journalist, I found out how for you. That’s the type of dedication you get from us here at the Sports Download. I can’t bare to think of you all hopelessly wondering something so important as, ‘How’d Cole Aldrich loose a tooth?! Did he mess up the pre-game handshakes?!’ That’d be poor reporting. You’re welcome.
0:16 Be prepared to hear more about NBA players talking about gum then you ever thought you would in your life. You may have to rewind a couple times to follow, and I can’t promise it will make sense. Just try your best.
0:25 “If somebody grabs it before the person before you supposed to have it, you gotta put it back. Even if it’s in your mouth, you still have to take it and put it back”. Seriously, what goes into being the 12th man on an NBA team. Why can’t you or I be the leader of the Gum Gang?
0:29 Cole tries to rattle off the gum order, when all of a sudden Reggie leaves his interview with no one to jump in and correct Cole on messing up who hands it to Royal Ivey. Jackson then proceeds to give a “get your stuff together look towards Aldrich” as he turns away to talk once again to no one, hoping he doesn’t have to do the gum interview.
0:50 Reggie has to do the gum interview. So be it, but Reggie is going to OWN the gum interview!
0:55 Okay, it’s taken me a couple listen throughs, but I think I have the order: Nazi Mohammed -> Cole Aldrich -> Royal Ivey -> Eric Maynor -> Royal -> Cole -> Nazi -> Cole -> Reggie Jackson -> Cole -> Lazar Hayward -> Donnie the Trainer
0:57 Abbott calls out the guys for the insanity of this process, but as Reggie says, they’re in the NBA Finals right now, and let’s face it, Scott Brooks has played an eight man rotation all playoffs with James Harden, Nick Collison, and Derek Fisher being the only players on the bench getting any run not in garbage time. This is the contribution these guys can make.
1:13 Reggie refers to the group now as the Gum Gang and I hope he realizes the awesomeness of that name. I call for every garbage time moment now with this group to celebrate this initiative. I’m talking corporate sponsorship in the 2012-13 season. I can see it now:
Play-by-play man: Alright, 2:00 remain here at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Thunder up 22 over Golden State and Coach Brooks has the reserves out there, which means it’s Garbage Gum Gang Time, brought to you by Trident Gum, the official gum of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s bench*.
*The graphic, of course, would be of Aldrich chewing gum, blowing a bubble, it popping, then showing off that toothless smile. I call royalties when this happens.
1:22 Reggie recalling off the top of his head what game the bench messed up the routine shows how slow a season it’s been for some of these guys. But that’s what happens when you’re team is so good, a potential member of Team USA is your sixth man.
1:38 So the Gum Gang knows that if they mess up the rotation, the team will lose, but Aldrich and potentially other players on the bench will play well, getting the chance to shine that they never receive when they execute it properly. Wow… that’s some Spiderman 1 Uncle Ben stuff right there*. All for the good of the team.
*With great power, comes great responsibility… Let’s see Andrew Garfield and this way-too-soon reboot try and come up with a moment like that when The Dark Knight Rises hands it to them all summer long.
2:22 This team must be a dentists worst nightmare with all the gum they chew. Yet, their leader doesn’t even have all his teeth, so… that’s saying something right there.
2:38 Environmental safety thrown aside Henry Abbott. THE THUNDER ARE IN THE NBA FINALS! ALL THANKS* TO THE GUM GANG!
*Very little thanks.
2:43 As Reggie’s eyes dance around, he has to be thinking, “I am at the NBA Finals and the only question people want to ask me is about chewing gum. I’m remembering this for this summer. That backup guard job is mine next year!” If Reggie Jackson takes Eric Maynor’s spot next season, you all know why now.