I want to go to Chipotle with Nik Stauskas.
This seems like a reasonable request, and Stauskas seems like a reasonable man. According to Google Maps, there's a Chipotle literally within walking distance of the 76ers' practice facility at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. So sometime this fall, after Brett Brown leads his team through yet another yoga class, there's really nothing stopping Stauskas from taking the 0.2 mile trip to Chipotle to meet a blogger who is almost old enough to be his dad.
Besides, he already agreed to the meeting - I'm just waiting on his people to call my people so we can decide on a date and time.
Dude chipotle on you and I'm in!! https://t.co/AMdyn2nQzZ— Nik Stauskas (@NStauskas11) September 22, 2015
This isn't a lark: I've already taken the $20 to pay for the meal out of the Liberty Ballers petty cash account. And I've even bought a bottle of Stauskas' signature hot sauce in anticipation of the event (according to Amazon, it should be here no later than Friday).
See... there are a lot of things we know about Nik Stauskas, but we don't KNOW Nik Stauskas. It's easy enough to go to Basketball Reference and look up his stats, but I'm really curious about the time he played Vince Carter one-on-one as a kid. Or, more importantly, how he managed to survive in the NBA without a car.
To be fair, this idea a blatant rip-off of Jemele Hill's old column where she used to interview players while riding around in their car. But the guy who created Zoo With Roy actually went to the zoo with Roy Halliday, so anything is possible, right?
I don't know if it'll ever happen, but if it did/does, it would probably go something like this...
1:31 P.M.: Although it would be easy enough for me to swing by PCOM and pick Stauskas up, we'll agree to meet at the restaurant. After all, I don't know him like that, and I'm not big on having strangers in my car. The plan will be to meet at 1:30, but I won't actually get out of my car until a minute later: Being too eager would give off that "Single White Female"-type of vibe. Not that Stauskas was even alive when that movie came out, but still...
1:33 P.M.: Following a brief introduction, we'll shoot the breeze while standing in line because, invariably, every trip to Chipotle includes several minutes standing in line. Conversely, every trip to Moe's results in several minutes of regret.
1:37 P.M.: After we get our food and grab a table, I'll ask Nik - who is now on a first-name basis with me after our shared experience in line - if I can record our conversation. This is mainly due to the fact that my memory is horrible, but also because I'd rather enjoy my chicken bowl, chips and guacamole without scribbling down notes every five seconds.
(Inside basketball: Over the past few years, Mike Levin has sent the LB staff numerous emails about his encounters with celebrities, Sixers' front-office types and the like. His ability to recall even the tiniest details without a tape recorder and/or notepad is mind-blowing and, quite frankly, enviable. I, on the other hand, am like the dude from "Memento". But I digress...)
1:39 P.M.: At this point, we'll talk about the most important thing Nik Stauskas has done this summer. No... not his play on the court at the FIBA Americas tournament, but rather his work raising awareness for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, or IPF.
IPF is a chronic disease that causes scarring in the lungs, making it difficult to breathe. Stauskas - whose grandmother was diagnosed with the condition five years ago - has been using his celebrity to raise money for the Canadian Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation. Hopefully, we're close to the point where we can #kissIPFgoodbye.
1:42 P.M.: A "real news reporter" would probably use this opportunity to ask how Stauskas is adjusting to his new teammates. However, since I'm just a "blogger", I only have a couple of hard-hitting questions before I go full Buzzfeed. Here's the preliminary list of things that I'd like to ask (which may or may not change based on the flow of the conversation):
- "Who is the hardest guy to guard in the league?"
- "What's the biggest difference between the college game and the NBA?"
- "Who won the Drake/Meek Mill battle?" (He'll probably say Drake because... Canada)
- "What's your favorite Justin Bieber song?"
- "Why is your player model in NBA 2K so bad?"
- "Who is nicer on the sticks: you or Joel Embiid?"
- "Rachel McAdams or Kylie Jenner?" (Note: I didn't pick these women at random - he's mentioned both of them at some point on his Twitter feed. To be honest, I have no idea what Kylie Jenner even looks like.)
- "How often do women slide into your DMs? How often do you return the favor?"
1:55 P.M.: 20 minutes into the meal, Nik and I have already reached BFF status, so we'll spend the next 10 minutes discussing why Allen Iverson is one of the greatest basketball players in the history of the world. All of our sentences will start with "Remember that time when..." like we're two old college buddies reminiscing about the times we spent on the quad.
Lol people forgot I was the biggest Allen Iverson fan in the world! https://t.co/jh1ngOMKp4— Nik Stauskas (@NStauskas11) July 2, 2015
2:05 P.M.: Before last of our chips and guac disappear, I'll drop the one question I've been saving up the whole time: "Seriously though... how crazy is Boogie Cousins? I mean, really?"
I would imagine that by this time, Stauskas is comfortable enough to give me an honest answer. I'll preface the exchange by noting that his response is "off the record": I've heard that's what "real news reporters" say when they want their subjects to be straight with them.
2:13 P.M.: As we make our way to our respective cars, we'll set up plans to have lunch again at some point in the future. Stauskas is only agreeing to said meeting in order to be polite... that is, until I offer to take him to the T.G.I. Friday's on City Avenue where A.I. used to play Monopoly after dropping 37 on the New York Knicks. There's not nearly enough money in the Liberty Ballers lockbox to cover two meals at Friday's, so Nik will have to pay for that one.