Columnist Noah Perkins will be covering the 2014 FIBA World Cup for One-Bid Wonders. Leading up to the Aug. 30 tip-off, he will be previewing all 24 qualified teams.
Back when Jason Biggs and Ja-Rule were popular; when the preferred search engine of the masses was Alta Vista and the Dell Guy was part our collective consciousness; a little Puerto Rican kid was lighting up the local college basketball scene.
Of course, at the time, nobody in Boston actually considered Jose Juan Barea a legitimate NBA talent – shit, nobody in Boston even knew who he was.
Well, I should say nobody who didn’t pay attention to the tiny America East conference knew who he was; AE fans knew him he as “the asshole on Northeastern.”
One of my favorite Boston-centric sports moments happened during the 2003 America East Basketball tournament; I was there with a group of my buddies.
It played out like this:
Friend: “Barea, you suck!”
Townie sitting behind us: “Hey kid, you wanna’ go ta’ cahlegge?” (*Editor’s note: That’s “go to college” in Boston-townie vernacular).
Friend: “Ummm, yea.”
Townie: “Then be mower creative; Barea doesn’t suck!”
(Editor’s note: that’s “more,” once again in townie vernacular.)
Friend (without missing a beat): “Barea, you’re a genital wart!”
From that day on I’ve always thought of JJB as The Genital Wart.
(Editors note: Barea went off for 38 in the America East quarterfinal, drilling the game-winning 3-pointer with 0.8 seconds left. The next day he melted down in a loss to Boston University, picking up a tech for slapping an opponent after getting called for a charge).
The universe is funny I suppose: Who would have thought 10 years later, said genital wart would be an NBA Champion, riding a seven-year NBA career, and the boyfriend of a former Miss Universe (or the ex-boyfriend of said former Miss Universe and current boyfriend of another former Miss Universe contestant, depending on what Spanish gossip column you read).
Just as Barea continues to ascend to highs previously not thought possible, Puerto Rican national teammate Renaldo Balkman has slummed it up in the basketball gutter. Continue reading “Heaven is a Playground: FIBA 2014 team preview — Puerto Rico”