There are a few guys in the NBA who we know are total nerds off the court. Chris Bosh, for one. All the guys who make their own web series are probably computer dorks. Pau Gasol is another one, though his pursuits are far less technologically based, preferring to keep his nerdity to academic pursuits such as the opera and medicine. These are just off the top of my head, but just like in real life, nerds exist throughout the NBA.

To that list we must add Andrew Bynum. Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins has authored a terrific profile of the Lakers big man, chock full of nerdy anecdotes. For instance:

Growing up, Bynum cracked open telephones so he could examine the circuitry and put them back together. At seven he was in the chess club at his local Barnes & Noble. At 14 he was installing Microsoft Windows on broken laptops his mother found in her office. His favorite subject in school was physics. He only considered colleges where he could major in mechanical engineering. His plan after graduation was to land a job as a computer programmer. He can describe the difference between a quad-core and dual-core processor in such detail that it almost makes sense. “He cares deeply about the way things work,” says L.A. coach Phil Jackson. The Lakers knew Bynum would encounter setbacks, but while the typical teenager might shut down, his instinct was to keep tinkering. It’s how he is wired. “I want to master everything,” Bynum says. “I want to understand what the hell is going on.”

And this:

Even after signing his four-year, $57.4 million contract in 2008, Bynum still lives with his mom, Janet McCoy, who raised him alone in Plainsboro, N.J., because she believed the area’s acclaimed public school system would challenge his inquisitive mind. They are joined in the house in Westchester in West L.A. by seven computers, several of which Bynum assembled on his own, and are among the fastest Corbin has ever seen. “Drew could be an engineer,” says Corbin, who became a friend. “He built the George Jetson of computers.” Bynum also put together a remote control car that could reach 100 miles per hour, to the delight of kids in his neighborhood. He trained a Labrador, Max, and plans to breed them this summer. He leased a garage where he keeps most of his 12 cars and hopes to open an auto-body shop. He loves projects.

Just to recap, Andrew Bynum is a seven-foot tall, two-time NBA champion who parties at the Playboy Mansion when he’s not building superfast computers, training his dog or planning an auto-body shop. You can call him a renaissance man if you’d like, but I’m going to stick with nerd in the non-pejorative sense. Kind of amazing.

Even more amazing must be the conversations that Gasol, Bynum and Lamar Odom have on the team plane. Pau won’t shut up about Pavarotti while Bynum keeps blabbing on and on about the new graphics card he installed in his PC and Lamar is like, “Will you guys shut up? I’m trying to design a t-shirt with a wolf birthing a phoenix over here.” Meanwhile, at the front of the plane, Phil Jackson nods in silent approval.

(via BDL)

Comments (14)

  1. They need PBWA awards for the last paragraph of this post.

    (Not the “(Via BDL)” part.)

  2. for correction: Pau wouldn’t shut up about anatomy and medical stuff…

  3. Bynum is also a video game nerd, naturally. He tweeted a few times when hes about to get on Call of duty: Black Ops on his 360.

    I dont remember him ever giving out his gamertag do.

  4. Excellent article, Trey. You nailed it with the humor.

  5. Is Call of Duty really a nerdy thing, now, though? Everyone’s doin’ it.

  6. I love this Lakers team as much as any of the Shaq era ones. Got a great mix of crazy, cool, and sophistication on it with two raging sociopaths and a Buddhist Zen master on it.

  7. Bynum gave his gamertag a couple years ago…its andrewbynumXT

    This laker team is so much more fan friendly than the Shaq era. Their are a bunch of good guys on this team.

  8. The AI days sure have gone….

  9. With all those details, I’m not surprised anymore that his car is a Nissan GT-R. At some point in his life, he probably played a lot of Gran Turismo.

  10. Does Phil still hand out books to his team? If so, I’m sure these guys are the players he always hoped for.

  11. This is amazing.

  12. I don’t think I need to remind you all of Tim Duncan’s Dungeon Master past!

  13. Don’t forget that Ron Artest majored in MATH, of all things. Nerdiest starting 3,4,5 of all time?

  14. Computer programming requires some very intricate work. This is the type of work that thrives on details and people who work in this field understand that the absence of even the minute elements can spell a huge difference in the overall result. If a programmer fails to correct this problem, it can lead to errors down the line. As a result, bugs will appear in the system and errors will emerge later on. Programming is also taxing work, requiring hours upon hours of writing, testing and debugging. This is why computer programming thrives on team work. Without team work, a single computer program can take decades to complete..;

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