Things we know about Alexey Shved so far:
- Is Russian
- Plays basketball
- Joining the Timberwolves next season
- Pretty skinny
- Loves cats and video games
That’s about it at this point. But thankfully, we can add another chapter to his growing legend. Thanks to Ian Thomsen’s Sports Illustrated profile of Russian coach David Blatt, we now know that Alexey Shved really enjoys having long hair.
Yet Blatt also possesses a well-chronicled ability to adapt, because how else would someone like him become coach of Russia? And then to succeed in marrying the two ends of the spectrum? His dynamic 23-year-old point guard, Alexey Shved, recently signed a three-year, $10 million contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Two years ago he came to me with long hair,” Blatt said. “I said, ‘Cut your hair or you’re off the team.’ He cut his hair.
“This year he came with long hair, and [Sergey] Bykov got hurt — our other main guard — so I said, ‘Cut your hair.’ And he said, ‘No, coach, I’m not going to cut it.’ And I said OK, because he’s a great young player and I need the kid. I love the kid.”
You have to appreciate his shvedication to long hair. Even though he knows his national team’s coach hates it, he still keeps growing it out until he was finally able to stand up for himself and say “Я 23-летний мужчина. Я должен быть в состоянии иметь длинные волосы, если я хочу. Я должен также быть в состоянии иметь курицу бутерброд, если я хочу.” You only do that if you really want long hair or if you are a big-time Pavement fan.
Lucky for him, he’s headed to the States to play for a coach who is OK with his players having long hair. Between Ricky Rubio’s flop-top, Chase Budinger’s Asher Roth curls, Nikola Pekovic’s widow’s peak, Andrei Kirilenko’s Brian Jonestown Massacre and Shved’s ambiguous European villain hair, the Timberwolves might have the best hair in the league next year. If they can just convince Kevin Love to do something cool — maybe get a mohawk or regrow that mustache — then they’ll lock up that prestigious title for sure.