PLAYER OF THE WEAK: Montrezl Harrell

The hair — and way — of the future

the poet in flight

Montrezl Harrell’s stats don’t jump out as arbiters of amazingness, but he’s always doing cool shit in Rockets games when I’m paying attention to him. Usually the sort of soul-crushing lob dunk that makes a post defender go back to his hotel late in the night and order a sadness cheeseburger alongside 2 bottles of Veuve Cliquot. He grabbed some highly contested rebound in a national TV game against the Golden State Warriors and I think Marv Albert might have had an orgasm watching it. I also might have, much as it’s distressing to say I might’ve had an orgasms in a manner at all similar to Marv Albert.

But enough about my problems. We’re here for Montrezl, with answers to the most pressing questions about the Rockets reserve big man.

1. Can you describe the mind-meld between James Harden and Montrezl Harrell?
It is a thing of great and terrible beauty. James Harden, in collaboration with Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni as well as leaders in the fields of astrophysics and cybernetics, devised an apparatus that transmits Harden’s brainwaves directly to his teammates’ minds. (You didn’t think his assist rate skyrocketed just because he runs point now, did you?) The device, the implantation scarring of which is hidden by Harden’s majestic beard, allows them to know exactly what’s necessary to make the optimal play, whether it’s “Get in the corner for a three because Patrick Beverly is screening your defender by telling him he fucked dude’s wife in a fairly ribald position at the Hyatt last night” or “ARISE, MOTHERFUCKER, FLY — GET ABOVE THE RIM FOR MY LOB!” The latter is where Montrezl Harrell shines. His hair serves as an ideal antennae bank to receive Harden’s dispatches at maximum volume, and also send confirmation of the message’s delivery: “My bearded captain, I am the perfect clay for your pottery. Observe this destructive-ass posterization!” This is, to some extent, borne out by fact — 83 percent of Harrell’s made 2-point field goals are assisted, and of his 131 made FGs, 57 are dunks.*

2. What instincts and emotions do the red strands in Montrezl Harrell’s hair inspire in the opposition?
One of two things: The first is pulsing, apoplectic rage — not at Montrezl, because who could be angry at him, but rather at each other, for daring to oppose such a righteous and majestic figure. This has occasionally resulted in bloody infighting among teammates not unlike what happens at the end of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, although without the [SPOILER] mob cannibalism. (That being said, a disgustingly violent locker room incident after the Charlotte Hornets’ loss to the Rockets in April 2016 is the reason why Tyler Hansbrough is no longer playing in the NBA.)

The other thing is complete loss of control over the excretory system. Just a whole load of shitwater bursting from every orifice. It is rumored — though this hasn’t been confirmed at press time — that several instances of the flu/gastric distress contracted by numerous NBA players of late are the result of fearing Montrezl Harrell.

3. Why hasn’t Montrezl donated some of his red hairs to Mike D’Antoni, so the Rockets coach can regrow his mustache?
The fetishism of D’Antoni’s mustache among NBA Twitter and blog junkies is a strange but persistent phenomenon. I’m guessing this question came from one of you turkeys who’s bookmarked all of the 7-seconds-or-less highlight clips on YouTube. But answer it we must.

Montrezl Harrell hasn’t given D’Antoni any of his powerful red hairs because ordinary humans are not equipped to grow such follicles. They could cause a chain reaction not dissimilar to a transplanted organ rejecting its host, the results of which could involve massive, near-permanent scarring to one’s face. D’Antoni recognizes this, but also, like the great coach he is, knows that everyone on a team, not just players, must make sacrifices to win. He refuses to compromise the telepathic power of Harrell’s hair-antennae.

4. Does Montrezl make mac & cheese “mac & montrEZl?”
Who the fuck came up with this question? Seriously. It’s like [insert any faux-naif bloggy voice-utilizing sportswriter’s name here] snuck into the submission process.

Not only is this dumb for relying on the slant-rhymiest of forced slant rhymes (and to think I figured we were all failed creative writing majors like me), but it involves a fundamental misunderstanding of Montrezl Harrell. He doesn’t eat mac & cheese of any kind. His pregame meal is either steak tartare over marinated roasted greens or a Caprese sandwich. When he deigns to eat pasta it’s always heavy red sauce-based dishes.

“mac & montrEZl.” Jesus Christ.

5. How many times did Montrezl Harrell get food poisoning during the 2012 FIBA U18 world championships in Brazil?
Accounts vary regarding this matter. Royce Jung — The Shocker’s editor emeritus, beat reporter and psychology consultant — claims to have seen Montrezl Harrell puking for 16 straight minutes in a hand-built wooden latrine after gorging himself on churrasco barbecue and caipirinhas. According to Jung, Harrell again contracted a food-borne illness near the end of the tournament, this time due to an excess of coxinha that led to distress on the other end of the gastric highway, yet he still managed to shoot 12-of-15 during the contest’s five games.*

Others have disputed this claim, including ESPN commentator/international basketball nerd Fran Fraschilla, Vice Sports’ David Roth and the one cool guy from Chapo Trap House. While we know all of these personalities, including Jung, to be relatively reliable, The Shocker has no official stance on the matter. (But if it happened, it was twice.)

BONUS QUESTION: What is the proper pronunciation of “Louisville?”
[The following was answered via phone by Rick Pitino, coach of the University of Louisville men’s basketball team and one of the worst things to befall the Boston Celtics other than — in no particular order — M.L. Carr, Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals and the untimely deaths of Len Bias and Reggie Lewis.]

“Whores, man. The best whores. Oh, wait — this thing on? Shit. Wellllp. Still not worse than Trump!

“Anyway. Montrezl did great in his three years with us. Tremendous rim-runner but he can also post up, clean up the glass on both ends, guard the rim…real effective big. And now, what Mike [D’Antoni] has done with the hair-transmission thing? Amazing. Wish I’d known about that. If I had maybe we wouldn’t have bothered trying to turn the sex-sweat from recruiting efforts into a super-serum that wouldn’t be detectable by PED tests because it was, at its core, a substance of the human body. But what’re you gonna do? So near the end of his last year with the program, me and Montrezl went on sort of a bender. Well it was my bender mostly. He functioned as designated driver and wingman. I think we went from Molly Malone’s to Stevie Ray’s, then Galaxie and uhhhhh there might’ve been an incident at this place that like Johnny Depp owns or something…might’ve been there — I can’t remember. Last thing I remember is seeing the demon Asgamarth, he whom be cloaked in scales and invisible voices, alongside his 17 children that implode space-time” —

[Connection abruptly terminated here. Neither Pitino, the University of Louisville, Harrell, Johnny Depp, Asgamarth nor any of their representatives could be reached for comment at press time.]

*Denotes accurate stats as of Jan. 12, 2017.

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