After the combine this spring, I started meeting with NBA teams. I pretty much knew what to expect from the workout part, but the the interviews took me a little by surprise. It was my first time doing “job interviews.”
I met with one team on two separate occasions last month. The second time, I visited them at their team facility.
Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with superheroes. I think the team already knew it too, based on my social posts (which are often about comics and superheroes). You don’t have to be a private detective to find out what my favorite thing outside of basketball is.
I met with the team’s executives in a conference room at their facility. The room was full of maybe 10 guys from the front office, all in suits.
I walked in wearing a Flash T-shirt.
Suddenly the room got really silent. One of the execs from the team — and like I said, these guys knew me from the combine, where we had gotten along well — got this stern look on his face.
“Let’s get down to business,” he said. “We have a serious question for you.”
I got a little worried.
“Who do you think is the greatest superhero of all time?”
I was thinking, Mannnn, what kind of question is this?
I mean, if they had asked me about basketball stuff, that would have been easy. But this? Ranking superheroes? That’s not something you take lightly.
I thought about it for maybe 30 seconds, with all the eyes in the room on me.
“It’s really hard to pick just one,” I told them.
If you like comics, you know what I’m saying.
“Actually, it might be the Flash,” I said confidently, pointing down at my T-shirt.
Then I told them my reasoning. First of all, the Flash is underrated. He’s not always in the top three, or even five, on anyone’s list of the best superheroes of all time. But the Flash’s skills are sneaky. He’s the fastest guy around — he can break the sound barrier and generate electricity with his movements. But on top of that (and this is something that gets overlooked a lot), his intelligence is electric too. He’s extremely witty and smart. I’m not saying I have those attributes, but I’ve always admired that the Flash had both speed and intelligence. I’ve always looked up to those qualities.
I was straight nerding out in there. I almost forgot I was in a room full of NBA executives.
“At the same time,” I continued, “Flash has his weaknesses, too.” Then I listed the counterargument to the case I had just made for the Flash.
Nerding out. I’m telling you.
When I finished my (kind of long) answer, I looked around the room. Before I could say anything else, the guys from the front office started throwing out their own favorite superheroes: What about Batman? Wolverine? Superman? Suddenly each person was making his own case for his favorite character. It was classic. They weren’t even asking me follow-up questions — everyone was too busy debating superheroes.
Which was awesome.
When the “debate” died down, one of the guys said something I still remember.
“I liked your answer. Flash definitely has some weaknesses, that’s true — but that’s why you have a team.”
That really stood out to me.
He was essentially saying, We all have things we’re great at, but we all have our Kryptonite, too.
I think this goes back to human nature: Cooperation is a basic human need. When we work together, we’re better off.
That’s something I learned in college. The Fighting Irish last year stuck together like no other team I’ve ever played on. Accomplishing something on your own is amazing. You feel great about yourself. But when you can accomplish something with other people — with a team — it’s just much more special.
That’s why I like comics in the first place — because they’re really about human qualities of superhumans.
It was a great interview. I don’t know if this particular team will select me in the draft, but for whichever team does, just know that you’re getting a guy who will be a team player.
If you pick me, I can assure you that after a few months your team will be, by far, the most knowledgeable in the NBA when it comes to comic book characters. That’s a promise.