When I began watching basketball, I didn’t know anything about it. My girlfriend was a Golden State Warriors fan so the majority of games we watched were GSW games. Every once in a while, I noticed myself watching a particular player on the court: Jarrett Jack. When the announcer on TV talked about him, they put up his player stats along with a picture of a doofy looking dude with ridiculous eyebrows. It was love at first sight. From then on out, I called him “Eyebrows.”
Jarrett Jack was never a phenomenal player. He’s good, don’t get me wrong, but he doesn’t put up big numbers like Lebron James or Steph Curry. He’s not the player of the century. He is, however, a little good at everything. More importantly, he seemed like a good person. He didn’t pitch a fit out on the court and he always made the other Warriors smile. He also made them all play better as a team.
To my dismay, I heard Jack had been traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2014 season. I’m still a Warriors fan but I’m also a Jarrett Jack fan. I kept up with his stats this season (he played better with the Dubs) but I’m happy he’s making good money. I got the idea to see both mine and my girlfriend’s favorite players at the same time so I bought tickets for the Warriors/Cavs game in Oakland for my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day. Well, that game was last Friday. We spent the day roaming the Bay Area and then went to watch a great game. The announcer introduced the Warriors and then the Cavs and much to my surprise, the entire arena gave a warm “welcome back” to Jack as he entered the court. He smiled his doofy smile and greeted the Warriors with hugs and handshakes. It was obvious he was the heart of the team.
The Warriors lost but Jack played a great game, so I was content. After the game, we walked down to the court to try to get a handshake or a signature. Jack walked around the court, talking to camera crews, other players, and people who worked at Oracle Arena. Yeah, he visited people he used to work with who weren’t players, coaches, or owners. This was touching. As he walked off the court, I yelled, “Jarrett Jack!!!” He turned around and caught my eye, and I flashed my custom Jack #2 Warriors jersey at him and yelled, “You’re my favorite!” He smiled and threw his sweat towel at me. Eyes wide, I reached up an caught it. He walked away, smiling.
I like to think that at that moment, we made each others’ nights. This brief but meaningful interaction solidified him as my favorite player and my belief that even though he’s just an okay player, he’s a great human being.
*This is a photo of me looking smug with my sweaty new sweat towel.