“Smooth” is a word thrown around a lot in the modern age of basketball. Smooth game, smooth jumpshot, smooth transition. There’s J-Smoove (Josh Smith), the “Big Smooth” (Sam Perkins), Clyde the Glyde (sounds smooth) and “Smooth” himself (Larry Hughes). I was playing NBA 2K8 before and Kenny Smith just used the word “smooth”, I kid you not. It’s no surprise “smooth” has found its popularity because in today’s game, smooth equates to good things like “poise”, “skillful” and “clutch”. You can’t put a finger on exactly what or who is smooth, but you damn sure know when something isn’t smooth. Kurt Rambis was not smooth. Anderson Varejao is not smooth. So I felt like it was about time we got reconnected with the essence of “smooth” before the word becomes overused and abused, and we forget what it’s really all about. My journey to reconnect with the essence of “smooth” began approximately four months ago before the start of the 07-08 NBA season…

Reconnecting with the Essence of Smooth

I often blog about my Celtic-supporting house mate, but the truth is he’s not really a Celtic-supporting house mate – he’s a Ray Allen-supporting house mate. This stems from an NBA game he saw live during his travels to the States, a game when Ray was the darling of Seattle and had the biggest green light to shoot threes in the history of the NBA since Dan Majerle was a Sun. I was curious to know why my house mate, not a massive NBA fan at the time, was such a devout follower of Ray Allen. Just prior to the start of the season after Ray had been traded to the Celtics, I finally found out: “because he’s so smooth” came the reply. I laughed, having heard Ray’s game labelled “smooth” plenty of times before, but little did I know I was about to be completely re-educated in the essence of smooth.

Yes Ray Allen has a smooth game, a smooth jumpshot, a smooth nature. But apparently it doesn’t stop there. Smooth is a state of mind, but its also cosmetic. You notice it on the basketball court, but it extends well beyond the confines of an NBA game. To do justice to my learnings over the past few months of the essence of “smooth”, I’ve documented its own special definition amongst the annals of UrbanDictionary. It is currently the 5th ranked definition of “smooth” – my aim is to make it number 1.

Ray Allen is Smooth

Since day 1 of the season I’ve put up with my house mate constantly reminding me of how smooth Ray Allen is. He now even has a “Wall of Smooth” in our living room covered with photos of Ray, not far from the Richo “Wall of Disappointment” (a memorial dedicated to photos of Matthew Richardson looking really upset or totally f–king up, of which there are plenty). I’ve also slowly learnt that the reason my house mate so loyally follows Ray Allen is that he actually wants to be Ray. It’s become somewhat of an obsession (arguably a man-crush), and any time we are watching someone on tele or in real life trying to act remotely cool, I inevitably here the comment “He’s not as smooth as Ray Allen”. I even find myself watching NBA games, turning to my friend to remark “See that? That was smooth” which will usually result in one of the following two replies: 1) “Nah man, that ain’t smooth” or 2) “Yeah that was pretty smooth… not as smooth as Ray Allen though”. My friend has now become the unquestioned authority on smoothness, and that was never more apparent than prior to the All-Star break.


I made this pic for my house mate, as a joke, and it now sits proudly on his Windows desktop

An All-Star Day in the Life of Ray Allen

Just after the announcement of the All-Star reserves in February, a group-email sent by another one of my mates (The Frustrated Suns Fan) left this stinging remark, directed at our Ray-obsessed friend:

Mate… I guess you’ll be making other plans that day [All-Star game day] since your bum buddy Ray Allen didn’t even get the votes to be a bench warmer, let alone a starter in the All Star game…

The reply was majestic… and smooth:

Ray doesn’t have time for that circus. He has his All-Star day fully planned:

Slip out of his waterbed with silk sheets
Shave every hair on his body
Smooth up for the day (special “smooth cream” is applied to entire body)
Enjoy banana smoothie for breakfast
Attend to ladies
Go out for coffee (smooth espresso shot)
Mango Smoothie for lunch
Attend to ladies all afternoon
Settle down in luxuriously smooth brown suede couch to watch All Star game
Laugh internally (whilst maintaining smooth outward appearance) as Kevin Garnett and everyone else in the All-Star game acts totally “un-smooth”
Makes smooth comments regarding the 3-point comp and how easily he would win it if he cared
Shave every hair on his body
Smooth up for the night
Slip smoothly back into bed
Attend to ladies

I love Ray Allen.
—————————————————

That is an actual email from my house mate, and it gives you an idea of what I have to live with every day. He has become so consumed with smooth that he actually doesn’t care about whether the Celtics win any more – it’s all about what Ray did, and how smooth he looked while he was doing it. You can imagine how excited he was when Ray was eventually named to the All-Star team (much to my astonishment), and then, somehow, managed to steal the show in the All-Star game itself and almost win MVP honours. My house mate now plays the last five minutes of that game, as a rule, to any one who walks into our house, and will usually mention the word “smooth” 8-9 times during those five minutes.

Lessons in the Essence of Smooth

What does Ray himself think of this “smooth” label? I was not surprised to learn that he has actually been asked that question before, back when he was a Buck:

ESPN’s Eric Neel: People describe your game as smooth and graceful. Do those descriptions bother you?

Ray Allen: No, not at all. Everybody has a description of their game, but everybody’s game is different. My game might be smooth and Allan Houston’s might be smooth, but we’re both different kinds of smooth. Being smooth … I mean, some guys score and then look like it’s hard, they just use so much energy, and then other guys do it, and you don’t even realize they have 20 points that night.

Yes, Ray did use the word smooth three times in one sentence and yes, he did say there are “different kinds of smooth”. But if there’s any one qualified to make that statement, it’s Mr Smooth himself, Ray Allen. There are plenty of articles out there preaching how to be smooth (and one ridiculous video), but to learn the true ways of smooth one should only learn from Ray Allen. Take this ridiculous excuse for a lesson in “How to be Smooth With the Ladies” from Wikihow, and then compare it to Ray’s own personal version:

Wikihow says: Comment on her highlights, new shoes, whatever, just make sure your line is actually smooth and not something you say to all the girls
Ray says: “Tell your special lady that her shoes look cheap, and that you’ll buy her shoes worth more than her annual salary if she promises to shave your head and balls”

Wikihow says: Never let a girl know how much you are into her. Girls like a guy who’s into them, but not too into them.
Ray says: “Never let a girl know how much you are into her. Prove this by sleeping with three of her best friends, and when she calls you in distress, answer ‘Who’s this?’. Preferably this call would be answered while you are naked with her best friend, or mother”

Wikihow says: Remember that one strong reason girls do in fact admire the popular boy at school is because he’s a wild class clown type. And that’s very fun to be around.
Ray says: “Only tell jokes if they are hilarious, and NEVER laugh or give any outward indication that you actually found the joke amusing. If your special lady tells a joke, slowly raise your head and nod. Laughing heartily at your lady’s jokes will make you appear over-anxious and may increase the risk of accident while she is shaving your balls”

Wikihow says: Talk to her friends. This move can work for you in a bunch of ways. First, “girl talk”.  We always talk with our friends before making any decision about a boy. Second, jealousy factor. If you get close with her friends she’ll totally want you more.
Ray says: “Sleep with her friends. This move can work for you in a bunch of ways. First, “threesomes”. I always have a threesome before making any decision about a girl. Second, “foursomes”. If you get close with her friends she’ll totally want to share you more, with three of her other friends”

Wikihow says: Make sure you can back up your smooth words with a hot body
Ray says: “Make sure you can back up your hot body with smooth words. A hot body without smooth words is like a limousine without a vibrating back seat, it’s useless.”

Wikihow says: Get lots of personal jokes with girls, but never get them confused! Girls love a funny guy and it’s smooth when you have jokes that are unique for a girl
Ray says: “Use the same jokes on every girl. Once you’ve found a smooth joke it will be successful across the entire woman race. If your special lady doesn’t like your jokes, ask her why she is talking and tell her to resume shaving your balls.”

Spreading the Smooth

I hope that today all you TrashTalk blog readers have gone some way to educating yourselves in the essence of smooth. Perhaps for some of you, this was a re-education. But if you’re like me, entering the amazing world of smooth was an absorbing journey, one with so much surprise and excitement yet one that teaches you to remain as unsurprised and unexcited as possible. We haven’t heard the last of “smooth”, certainly not from me. I find the essence of smooth oozing more and more into my life, and it will thus inevitably find itself oozing into my blogs. Coming very soon, at the request of some of my friends, will be the announcement of my NBA All-Smooth Team. You don’t wanna miss that one. But don’t get too excited.

That just wouldn’t be smooth.


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