I do not know whether Bismack Biyombo is 18 years old or 20 or 26 or 100. I do not know whether or not he’ll ever score a non-dunk basket in an NBA game. I don’t know where he’ll be drafted, if he’s the next Ben Wallace or the next Joey Dorsey, or really even if I’m pronouncing his name right. I basically know nothing about the guy.
But I do know he’s the most entertaining rookie in this year’s class. First, he guaranteed he’d lead the NBA in blocks and rebounds. Now, in a very fun interview with Grantland, he dropped some very excellent quotes about his love life.
Grantland: Do you have a girlfriend?
Biyombo: Yeah, for sure! I met her at a house party, hanging out with some friends. She lives in Madrid. But now is the NBA draft, and I don’t know what’s going to happen. I came back from [the Hoops Summit in] Portland so excited, but also sad because I know that moving to the U.S. means maybe leaving my girlfriend. We’ve been together 6 or 7 months. We say “I love you” to each other. And I invited her to move to America with me. But she’s young — she’s 18, same as me — and she might want to stay in Spain with her family. If she doesn’t want to move, I told her I understand, that’s no problem, but the United States is like another world, and being there for the first time is gonna be difficult. I need someone next to me. If she’s not gonna come, I told her I’m gonna have to catch up with someone over there. It was hard to tell her that, but I’m not gonna lie to her and say, “I love you,” and keep things going and then she finds out I’m doing something wrong. I like to talk to people face-to-face and be honest. Sometimes that means people want to punch me out, but at least, hey, they know the truth. I don’t want people to say, “Oh, this guy lied to me.” I want them to say, “I have respect for him.” So I talk straight to people. That’s just the way I am.
That’s very sweet. He loves his 18-year-old girlfriend, he asked her to join him in the States, and he told her if she didn’t, that’s OK, but he’s going to break up with her and find a new girlfriend. That is very honest, and probably the kindest way to issue an ultimatum when you’re coming to America, starring Eddie Murphy.
And if he does end up single, well, don’t be a pushover, ladies. Have some backbone.
Grantland: Well, then, let me ask this on behalf of America’s women, in case you wind up single: What are the most important qualities you look for in a girlfriend?
Biyombo: Personality. I don’t want a girlfriend that if you say yes, she says yes, and if you say no, she says no. I like a girl who has her own mind about things and has a lot of respect for herself, and the people around her, and the people around you. Personality, humor, confidence, that’s what I look for. After that, if she’s beautiful, that’s OK, too.
Yeah, see, this is why I don’t necessarily buy that he’s 18. What 18-year-old wants personality, humor and confidence before looks? I’m not saying he’s a lying liar who lies, I’m just saying that’s not a very 18 mindset, especially for a guy who’s coming to the NBA.
It’s slip-ups like these, where Biyombo is showing the maturity of a 36-year-old who’s been through a string of bad relationships and just wants to settle down, that are going to reveal his true age. Say you want to marry Ke$ha and I’ll buy the 18 thing. Say you want to find a kind companion and I’m not so sure. Seems fishy.
But whatever. There’s another reason to to jump on the Bismack Biyandwagon — he’s got a million nicknames and all of them are great.
Grantland: The first thing you need when you enter the NBA is the perfect nickname. Do you already have any in mind? Or do you need the hookup?
Biyombo: [Laughing.] I have a lot of nicknames. Growing up my friends, my brothers, and my cousins always called me “Master.” They were being sarcastic, I think, because I am always bossing them around. So, when I first step in the League in Congo, my teammates hear my brothers call me that, and they start to call me “Young Master.” Then I keep growing, and they take the “Young” away, so I’m just “Master” again. Now when I go home and show up at the court, they still call me Master.
In Spain, one day when I was walking to the gym, [former teammate Esteban] Batista called me
“‘La Pantera” — “The Black Panther.” He just made it up that second but the name stuck. At my agent’s office, I walk down the hallway and everyone says, “La Pantera, La Pantera.” I like it — “The Black Panther” — that’s my favorite.
Then in Portland at the Hoops Summit, my teammates were calling me all kinds of nicknames! They called me “Big Mac” and I was like, “What? What is this, Big Mac?” Then one guy was like, “We want to call you ‘Big Smack.’” So I said, “OK, you can call me ‘Big Smack.’ I can roll with that.” They had all kinds of nicknames for me, a different one every day. Kevin Pangos, the Canadian, one time he said during practice, “Dude, you’re the fuckin’ ‘Business,’ man. That’s your new name.” I asked why. He said, “Dude, when you’re on the floor, you’re all business. We’re gonna call you ‘The Business.’” Soon everyone was calling me “The Business.” It’s amazing how fast you can get a nickname. When I’m in the League, I think I’ll have no choice. People will call me something, and I’ll just have to go with it.
There’s another thing I don’t know about Bismack Biyombo, which of his nicknames is the best. Of the six fantastic choices he offers, I think I’m partial to “The Business,” because it is awesome, sounds like something from the WWE and is a quality phonetic zing with his first name. Really though, you can’t go wrong with any of these. They’d all immediately be one of the best NBA nicknames around.
So yes, definitely on board with the Bismack Biyombo draft experience, if not necessarily convinced of his future prospects. At the very least, he’s going to be mad quotable from here on out, and that’s something I can support.