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Jamal Crawford Loves Basketball...

...and I think I may have just fallen in love with him.

Full disclosure, the idea for this post started as a hit piece. Inspired by @kyletheige’s annual Social Status piece, I followed Jamal Crawford’s twitter account at the start of the season. As Kyle points out, @JCrossover can get a bit repetitive.

In addition to his weekly affirmation, he’ll occasionally drop some deep knowledge on your internet face.

As a cynical basketball blogger, I want to make fun of this, despite the positivity of the message. It’s something deep and dark inside of me that makes me this way. I don’t know what caused it. Cold winters and excessive hot-dish consumption? Maybe. Thirteen seasons without the playoffs? More likely.

I was all ready to do a full fake interview with questions like, “Jamal, the definition of opportunity is, “a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something.” Does your daily ‘opportunity’ include circumstances that make it possible for you to play defense?”

Thanks Mike. Nailed it.

As I was gathering my collection of tweets and hilarious fake questions, however, I came across a Sports Illustrated article posted last week. Titled “Jamal Crawford: Last of the Ballers,” it provides some tremendous insight into Crawford’s 18 year career and made me ask myself if I was a bad person for wanting to make fun of him.

Conclusion: Yes it does.

  • Jamal Crawford loves basketball

My biggest takeaway from the article is that Jamal absolutely loves the game of basketball. It’s what he was put on this earth to do. He really should revise his tweets to say “Another day, another play basketball,” because that’s really what he’s thinking. In the article, he says, “I could play basketball every day of my life, that’s my passion. I’m not saying guys who do other things are wrong, because they’re not wrong, but this was always the most important thing to me.”

He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t smoke. All he wants to do is ball. His bachelor party was a pickup game the night before his wedding. He attests that he hasn’t gone for more than four days without playing basketball since he was 21. The only activity that I’ve done as consistently as Crawford since that age is the consumption of alcohol, which may explain why I look ten years older than I actually am and his nickname is “Forever 21.”

Will Conroy, who everyone remembers from his four-game stint with the Wolves in 2012, is one of Crawford’s closest friends. According to Conroy, Jamal doesn’t watch TV. Just basketball highlights on YouTube, saying, “He’ll text me at midnight and be like, ‘Man, you got to see these highlights! I’m like, ‘Mal, stop sending me that s—t.”

Even when he’s not physically playing the game, he’s still thinking about it. If he doesn’t own an AND1 shirt that says “Ball is Life” on it, it’s a travesty.

Editor’s note: I really tried to find an And1 shirt that said Ball is Life, but I failed. I did find this one. I’ve ordered one in every color.

  • Jamal CrawfordNot a stats guy

“I’m not a fan of analytics. When I was a kid, I couldn’t tell you what percentage Allen Iverson shot, or Michael Jordan. Steph Curry is a bunch of people’s favorite player, but they don’t know what percentage he shot from the corner, or above the break or whatever. They just know how they felt when he hit that shot and they were going crazy. That moment where they ran out the house yelling down the neighborhood. That’s what it’s about. The moments and memories.”

Agreed, Jamal. I hear what you’re saying. Stats are for nerds. If some blogger (Anthony Iverson) were to write an excellent J Crossover player preview and dropped a line like “His (Crawford’s) defensive real-plus-minus (DRPM) last season was -3.18, putting him just shy of the worst in the league according to ESPN (and just ahead of his new teammate Shabazz Muhammad),” we would be required to call that blogger a nerd, right?

Editor’s note: Anthony gave his blessing for the nerd name calling

At the risk of associating myself with the math club, I would like to throw a couple of non-advanced statistics in your direction. Crawford has scored 50 points for three different teams, he’s the all-time leader in four-pointers with 50, and he’s the only three-time winner of the Sixth Man of the Year Award. He’s scored more points than Magic and Mullin, and will have played more games than Ewing, Olajuwon, and Shaq by the end of the season.

So, say what you’re going to say, nerds. So what if his VORP was -0.6 last season. Who cares? Crossover doesn’t need your numbers. He’s not here for that. He’s here for moments like this:

  • Jamal Crawford is genuinely nice

According to Doc Rivers, “All those players coming out of Seattle right now should give Jamal 5% of the their salaries, because without Jamal you can make a case that they wouldn’t be in the NBA.”

Crawford is Seattle basketball. He started playing in the Seattle Pro-Am at 16, took over the operations of the league in 2006, and now estimates that he shells out $50,000 each summer to bring in NBA stars and to keep admission free. Maybe this is a ploy to get in some extra run for Crawford, but I think it’s more likely that he wants to continue the mentoring tradition started by players like Gary Payton and Doug Christie.

Players like Isaiah Thomas, Zach LaVine, and Dejounte Murray (among others) have felt the impact of the Jamal’s effort in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t believe that Crawford has asked any of them for his 5% cut, but he should. Wet the beak a little. Come on, Zach! I’m sure that Jamal would appreciate that much more than this:

The thing that I appreciate the most about Jamal is that he’s not doing any of this for the accolades. There are certain NBA players that will put on camps and interact with fans, and then put those moments on their social media platforms to show the amazing work that they’ve done. We get it Lebr...errr anonymous NBA player, you “rise and grind.” Just finish your workout and stop posting selfies.

As demonstrated above, Jamal’s social media presence isn’t about any of this. There isn’t any self-aggrandizement. All he wants to do is help Seattle kids and play basketball. According to Conroy, “I don’t think there’s a kid in Seattle who’s been in contact with Jamal who doesn’t have his phone number.” He speaks at schools, offers to buy kids new shoes if they can get to a 3.0 GPA, leaves huge tips for restaurant and hotel staff, and does it all without any sort of social promotion. Without this article, and quotes from his friends, I wouldn’t have known the type of person I was welcoming to the Wolves.

So, I apologize for wanting to make fun of you, Jamal. You’ve killed a troll, which is one more thing the world should be thankful for. I’m going to take your wise words to heart.

Another day, another be a nicer blogger.