For some inexplicable reason, in case you thought
Omarion Omicron—the Marvel Cinematic Universe variant that has been terrorizing man, woman, and petulant child all winter—was a joke, I’m here to present irrefutable evidence to the contrary.
For one, Sean “Diddy” Combs, the Greek god of relentless partying and unbearable hangovers, has pulled the plug on his swank New Year’s Eve soiree for the second year in a row. And two, per ESPN, the NBA has trotted out a league-record 541 players (and counting) this season as the coronavirus has made fielding a full roster of healthy players almost as difficult as enjoying an Alicia Keys album in the past decade.
As a result, teams have been scraping the barrel for literally anybody with a pulse, as we’ve seen forgotten relics from the past like “Lance a Make ‘Em Dance” Stephenson (who last played for the Lakers in 2019) and Darren Collison (who last played for the Pacers that same year) get snatched up from the McDonald’s fry station in order to suit up and impersonate professional basketball players.
And since Yao Ming and Michael Olowokandi apparently had more important things to do—like enjoy Tai Chi class at the senior center—former Detroit Pistons center Greg Monroe (who last played for the 76ers in 2019) became lucky No. 541 on Monday night when he came off the bench for the Minnesota Timberwolves in their 108-103 win over the Boston Celtics.
Throughout the course of his NBA career, the former No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft played for six different teams before continuing to play overseas. He eventually found his way back stateside, playing for the G-League’s Capital City Go-Go before the Timberwolves came begging and pleading for his services.
“[Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch] did a good job—even though I didn’t have any time with him, he put me in positions where I was comfortable,’’ Monroe said after delivering 11 points and nine boards in his NBA return. “I was just doing things I’ve been doing all season with the Go-Go, so that kind of made it easy for me.’’
While the Georgetown product was clearly prepared for the task at hand, what he wasn’t prepared for was the whirlwind that would precede his first NBA action in years.
“I woke up at about 4 a.m. First flight was canceled,’’ Monroe said. “I left D.C. about 7 a.m. roughly, had to connect in Chicago, got here around 11, had COVID testing, got a chance to rest, came to the gym around 4.’’
It’s dope that former NBA stars are using these emergency 10-day contracts to prove that they’re still capable of playing at a high level, but it’s unfortunate that it’s under such dire circumstances. Hopefully, their basketball brethren will be able to return sooner than later and without any complications from COVID-19—or worse.