I found a surprisingly funny story today and realised immediately that I had to blog it. The biggest free agent story of all time now potentially has an Indian stakeholder. Let me introduce to you to the characters in our little drama this morning...
First meet Mike Brown. Brown is the former head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and fired just three days ago from his position after leading the reigning two time NBA MVP LeBron James and the Cavs to two straight years as the best regular season team in the league. Of course, that didn't translate to post-season success, as the best Cavs team ever assembled once again choked in the playoffs, this time at the hands of the Boston Celtics. Brown also has struggled with teaching this talented squad with LeBron, Shaq, Jamison, Mo Williams, Varejao, Hickson, Anthony Parker and others any sort of offence except 'give-lebron-james-the-basketball-and-pray'.
Now meet Rajesh Kumar. Kumar is a 24 year old from New Delhi who recently completed his Master's degree in engineering from New York University, and has lived in the US for around two years. In August 2008, Kumar lived in Cleveland for a month, and aquired a phone number... which turned out to be Mike Brown's old number.
So of course, ever since Mike Brown got fired from his job, Rajesh Kumar heard the condolences. From NBA Fanhouse:
"I have gotten over 150 phone calls since (Monday)," Kumar said Tuesday afternoon in an interview with FanHouse from New York. "I took a nap and I woke up and I had 37 voice mail messages. I thought Mike Brown must have lost a big match."
Pardon Kumar's terminology.
"I'm a fan of cricket," said Kumar, who later was able to find out Brown's firing was the reason for all the commotion. "It's a very exciting sport."
Kumar doesn't know who most of the callers have been since he simply tells them they have the wrong number. As for the messages left on Kumar's voice mail, which has an automated recording rather than his voice or name, he has deleted them immediately.
But Kumar did say he got a call asking for Brown from somebody identified as being from the office of New York mayor Michael Bloomberg. The call ended after Kumar said it no longer is Brown's number.
So why would Bloomberg's office be calling Brown? Well, Bloomberg did speak on his weekly Friday show on WOR Radio on May 14 about believing Cleveland star guard LeBron James, who had played for Brown, would want to sign with New York or New Jersey when he can become a free agent this summer.
Don't ask Kumar, though, to speculate about any relationship between Bloomberg, Brown and James. Kumar knows little about James.
"I had heard of him," said Kumar, saying he learned of James before he got Brown's old cell number but couldn't speak much about him. "I'm not sure when I heard of him."
Kumar's number was Brown's at least through the 2007-08 season. After he got his number, Kumar began receiving some calls for the coach.
"After about a week, I realized he must be a celebrity," Kumar said. "I wondered who this Mike Brown was. So I Googled him."
Wow! There are at least 2,523 funny things about the story above, but I'm going to ramble off the first few that pop up in my head:
- His name is Rajesh Kumar. I mean, he could've only gotten Indianner if he was called Patel or something.
- The Americans just don't seem to understand the word 'match'. Match? "Pardon his terminology!"
- I love how he drops the fact that he's a fan of cricket and that "it's a very exciting sport".
- So, apparently, the Mayor of New York called him. To discuss LeBron James.
- Kumar really has no idea who LeBron James is. "I have heard of him - I'm not sure when I heard of him," may be the greatest quote of the LeBron James free-agency mania.
- And finally, Kumar googled Brown thinking that Brown is a celebrity. I'm not sure I would call the former Cavs coach that, but hey, standing next to LeBron James and feigning orders while actually being his slave has to count for some celebrity status, right?
Come on Kumar. Do your Indian buddy here a favour - next time LeBron dials a wrong number and finds you, tell him about how awesome the New York Mayor / The Knicks are. You need to help make him a Knick next season. And wish him good luck for his next 'match', too.