Friday, February 17, 2006

Why I love Andres Nocioni (aKa Chapu)

There a great article that's supposed to be about the All Star festivities over on (that's the Tribune's sports section), but it's really about my main man Noce.

Check it out here.

What he says is refreshing as hell, especially in the NBA, but the way he says it says as much about him and who he is. This goes back to my idea about foreign athletes (or just very incomepent speaker-athletes) that have translators get them and their words across. Sometimes reporters do it.

But it's refreshing to see Noce in this article as is. You can hear him talking to you because you know that the way it's written is the way he talks.

I know because it's the way my father talks in English.

A sampling of my favorite quotes in the article:

"I am not like Manu. He makes 30 points every game. I make 14 points, seven rebounds. My game is not a talent game—more attitude, passion. I know I do not have the talent like these other guys in the NBA. They are unbelievable."

Noce on the All Star festivities and how players just want to dunk and look good:

"A charge? Yes, I am sure," Nocioni said about seeking out his favorite defensive play in the game that was such an embarrassing lob-dunk fest two years ago that NBA Commissioner David Stern personally appealed to the participants last season to try to play basketball.

"The people want to see a show," Nocioni acknowledged. "But the people want to see basketball sometimes. Sometimes the game is too much show and the people sometimes think this is boring. Why don't they just play a basketball game?

"You can make showtime, but sometimes it is too much. It is just basketball."

"For me [this] is an honor," Nocioni said. "It is important to me. But [it is also] difficult because if I play hard somebody may be angry with me. I play soft, somebody may be angry with me.

"I have to put my body on a guy to check him. The guy will look at the ref and say 'He is a dirty player.' I say, 'Hey, c'mon man. That is my job. I need to check you.'

"I just play. I play like Nocioni. I play aggressive, with passion. I try to work hard for my team. This is my style."

Note the brackets on the "For me" paragraph. It's the writer trying to do what the Sammy Sosa incident from way back mentioned: not make the athlete sound like a moron. In this case I think he (the reporter) did just enough—not too much, which is good.

Just take the brackets out and you get 100% Noce.

What makes me wonder is when public officials have brackets inserted. Sometimes it's because the quote lacks context, other times it's because they're speaking incorrectly and the reporter is trying to be nice and make it sound good.

Either way, Noce is the man.


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