It’s the middle of September and we’re mired in the deadest dead of the NBA calendar, when guys are just trying to get their last few moments of training and relaxation in before the grind of the season. If it weren’t for Twitter and guys keeping us updated with all the dumb things they’re doing, we’d have nothing but the classic “15 pounds of muscle” and “looks better than ever” to talk about around these parts. No fun. Instead, we get to giggle at guys enjoying their final weeks of partying and a basketball internet filled with completely subjective and utterly meaningless lists.
All of which is to say, I hope you enjoy this completely subjective and utterly meaningless list.
When we talk about what makes a player cool, it’s basically impossible to describe. That’s going to make this paragraph really fun to read, I know, but I think we all have a basic grasp on the concept. It’s some combination of charisma, accolades, talent, personality and mystique. On-court performance and style play in to this to, but as FreeDarko explained for years, probably not as must as you’d think. Simply put, there are just some guys in the league that are cooler than others. You know who the coolest guys in the league are even if you can’t explain it.
For instance, LeBron James was at his coolest when he was coming in to the NBA, before he took so much criticism and (more importantly) responded to that criticism. It’s hard for the best player in the league to be the coolest player in the league, since there is so much spotlight on them that it’s hard to be anything other than a superstar. Shaquille O’Neal was never the coolest player in the league and neither was Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan was, even though Sam Perkins was a pretty close second. The sometimes unfair demands of being the top player in the NBA — mass marketability, grace in the media, not outwardly being a jerk or goofball — make it basically impossible for that guy to double as the coolest player in the league.
Trying to be the coolest player in the league doesn’t help either, which is why Amar’e Stoudemire isn’t at the top of this list. For whatever reason, consciously courting cool just doesn’t work. To be cool, you just have to be cool (shoutout to Uma Thurman) without really trying. As Channing Tatum said in “21 Jump Street,” trying hard is for nerds, which I understand is the least cool reference that could possibly be made with the exception of that Uma Thurman/”Be Cool” one from earlier. But then again, the concept of this whole thing is pretty uncool. C’est la vie.
Nonetheless, here is one bro’s guess at who the 10 coolest players in the NBA are, with some reasons for their selection.
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