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NBA Summer Vacation Watch: International and local flavours

NBA players are living their best life this summer.

Welcome back, my holiday hungry friends — I hope you have an appetite, because this week’s SVW is truly a Club Med sandwich of respite. This is prime vacation time, smack dab in the middle of NBA summer with nary a training-camp-shaped-cloud on the horizon. It’s the time when all the heavy hitters are clear enough on either end of the season wrapped or the season to come to take a sail on the seas of leisure or like, just go to France.

True, some dudes are running basketball camps (fine and good) and others choose to spend most of their days in the gym (fine and good, technically, but a lot of vacations also come with gyms, guys) so some of this week’s watch focuses on those guys and how they are spending their downtime, locally. Because if you’re in shorts, with a body fat percentage of about 5 percent, sort of out of your routine with a smile on your face in June-August I got news for you⁠—that’s NBA summer vacation.

Jimmy Butler

Jimmy's Tea.

Hey [A.I. of choice that you trust in your home and with all of your personal information], play “Finally” by CeCe Peniston,⁠ because Jimmy Butler is on vacation!

One thing you may have heard about Butler is that he has a bit of a demanding work ethic, which makes him going on vacation not only well-earned, but also something of a signifier in the league. When other players see Jimmy going on vacation, especially the ones who claim to only “grind for breakfast” and enter a pool to exercise, a collective easing up tends to happen. Like the first buds in the spring, or your first sunburn in pursuit of a solid base tan, Butler’s vacations are a seasonal catalyst. He is also the defending NBA SVW MVP, so with all due respect to Serge Ibaka and the three-week vacation he took to start this season, watch your ass.

Jimmy started his time away in Bordeaux, France, singing “Mercy” by country musician Brett Young on some ancient cobblestone rue to make a couple extra euros. He then did this thing in his Insta stories and spun a globe around, his finger hitting on London, England, where he made it in time for high tea the next day. Do I think he did about 10 takes before he got the globe to spin right? Absolutely. Do I care? Absolutely not.

Rating: I could see Jimmy figuring out just that whole Piccadilly Circus of Brexit while he’s there.

Steph Curry

The Currys are in Paris! The family took a trip to the city of light for Riley’s birthday where they rode some rides, hit up a couple bistros, Steph took some shots on a vintage looking digital camera and contemplated the Eiffel Tower from a bench vs. the bushes Rudy Gobert hid in last week.

Rating: Vintage digital camera Steph is the wildest summer vacation Steph you’re going to get and that’s fine.

Mike Conley

Conley was at a driving range somewhere in Switzerland, at the base of what looks like a section of lower alps which are nonetheless making golf seem majestic.

Rating: A fitting destination for Conley who is probably the most neutral presence in the league. Tampering investigations? Free agency drama? Swiss miss him with that.

Klay Thompson

Extremely blurry screen capture but I’m really out here like a Bigfoot hunter sometimes when it comes to capturing even the most fleeting of NBA offseason enjoyment. Klay was on a boat, I’m gonna just say somewhere off the Orange County coast where I imagine this kind of thing happens all the time. There was no commentary, unfortunately, but he did lift a shaky hand up to the horizon to show about twenty dolphins yukking it up.

Rating: You already know he’s a Splash Brother to Steph but did you know Klay also has familial ties to the majesty of the sea?

Tobias Harris

Tobias’s friends threw him a birthday BBQ with a big banner of himself nestled amongst the patio furniture in case anyone forgot why they were there. That’s how you know a party is big — subtle yet firm reminders in the form of a big banner budget. Tobias also took part in some American Gladiator style games wherein he gently smacked down some friends with padded barbells.

Rating: You know a party’s chill when the dress code is board shorts and Tobias Harris will knock you down a peg, safely, softly.

Hassan Whiteside

Ever since he got to Portland Hassan Whiteside has been huge on its Japanese Garden. He went within the first week of arriving and appears to be back again because... a new friendship has emerged. There is a koi fish in the pond that Hassan refers to as “Party boy Steve,” and offers not just food but a favourite pair of pool slides. I hope we see more of this friendship as it, and summer, deepens.

Rating: Summer is the ideal time for making new friends you may never have come across otherwise, like someone you ask to apply sunblock to your shoulders or a giant koi fish captive in a pond.

Buddy Hield

Yes, Buddy Hield is from the Bahamas, so him going home is not technically a vacation, plus the SVW stance on working out in locales others use for leisure is and always will be a firm no thank you. But, Buddy is also staying at a vacation hotel, and took a boat ride to a secluded island dedicated to vacation and did not show us his workout — only the post-workout photos. So, what we have here is actually a SVW stalemate.

Rating: A SVW stalemate is solved by staring at the photos that caused it. The longer you stare and smile, the more you agree it is a vacation.

Trae Young

Trae Young had some froyo.

Rating: Brain freeze is technically a summer vacation.

Danny Green

Like most of my ex-boyfriends, Danny took a trip to Thailand after his first serious Canadian relationship. So far he’s spent time at the beach and an elephant sanctuary, but seemed nervous of the elephants and more specifically their trunks. Seems weird for someone who owns so many snakes but maybe the mammalian warmth is throwing him off.

Rating: But seriously, none of us are bitter and we wish him all the best!!

Kyle Kuzma

Alllllright, so, you can read this giant stack of books two ways. One, do just that. Two, do a little “hmm” at The Art of Seduction tucked at the bottom of the pile. For those who aren’t aware, this book is mentioned in noted men’s rights activists bible The Game and Dov Charney found it a “fascinating study in human behaviour.” For Kyle Kuzma? Certainly a kind of sci-fi/fantasy stack of summer reading. For me? A great opportunity to slip The Second Sex in the pile and leverage his interest in its title for a chance to workshop some stuff.

Rating: Reading is wonderful.

D’Angelo Russell (and Devin Booker)

The Paint Pals are at it again, this time in wine country. D’Angelo Russell and Devin Booker took a quick trip to Napa to sip and sulk (looking at you, Devin aka Napa Nosferatu) some exceptional vintages at the source. While I both loved and loathed their foray into the fine arts last week, it did seem fuelled by wine. Will we see more? Did they bring their easels down to the Valley? Will they branch out from butts to bunches of grapes? Time, a key ingredient in all good wine, will tell.

Rating: In the meantime somebody get Devin Booker a glass of water.

Aaron Gordon

Gordon lives in Orlando yes, but he is also very much the type of dude who calls sitting in his front yard “going in all week.” Also taking a lot of joy in the unfounded fantasy that his other car is a fan boat and parked a little out of frame.

Rating: Eyes on your dog, Aaron, your driveway is a swamp.

Pau Gasol

In another episode of Pau’s Wows, Pau Gasol stepped out for a mid-day merienda and ended up on a speedboat off the coast of northwestern Italy. Checks out and I’m happy he packed a change of clothes.

Rating: If only we could all take such joy out of getting lost.

Fred VanVleet

Steady Freddy proved his nickname true once more, this time off the court and around the beaches of Ocho Rios, Jamaica, for the wedding of one of his closest friends.

Rating: To bet on yourself you need the financial support (in the form of emotional support) of your friends!

Lou Williams

Lou Will landed in Shanghai but was admittedly too tired to go out into the streets that were beckoning him.

Rating: There’s always maybe tomorrow lol.

Kelly Oubre Jr.

The Tsunami Papi himself shared some beach pics. I guess they don’t make transition lenses for Robert Downey Jr. era Sherlock Holmes glasses? Either way, let’s get this Jr. some better beach eyewear so he can stop squinting and enjoy himself.

Rating: Bonus for a second summer vacation sighting of Kelly’s Misfits tattoo.

LaMarcus Aldridge

Aldridge took some time on his recent birthday to contemplate with his Quiznos cup at the helm of a fishing boat off the Cabo coast. By league standards a real Old Man and the Sea moment but not by you or me standards, so just be cool.

Rating: This has been Quiznos for NBA SVW.

Mario Hezonja

Little known fact that Mario Hezonja is a huge Game of Thrones head, hence him walking around Dubrovnik barefoot, to get a real sense of what it must have felt like when Cersei did her walk of shame. These were her waiters when she stopped at this same cafe.

Rating: Jk, Mario is from Dubrovnik and I suppose feels very chill there.

Matthew Dellavedova

Oh good, Matthew Dellavedova finally took my great advice and walked into the sea.

Rating: Still, somehow, doing this too aggressively.

Mo Bamba

This was a saga! A stray dog showed up on Mo’s porch and invited itself right in. For a day and a half it made itself comfortable on his bed, his couch, and on Mo. The two were really hitting it off and it seemed like a match made in July but then Mo got the news that the owners were on the way. It was a rollercoaster.

Rating: A happy but bittersweet ending, sort of like the whole entire summer itself.

Dennis Schröder

Schröde the dude got married and the confetti budget was off the charts.

Rating: Glückwunsch, bro!

Drew Eubanks

Do I think about Drew Eubanks often? Admittedly no, not ever. Will I think of Drew Eubanks the next time I swim in the ocean and look down, after he did that in this video and saw a whale shark? No, probably not then either.

Rating: But looking down in the ocean and seeing Drew Eubanks, that would be pretty scary.

Jodie Meeks

After taking Larry OB on a road trip home to Norcross, Georgia, earlier this summer, NBA Champion Jodie Meeks is now in Dubai, doing classic poses in front of Emirati architecture both old and new.

Rating: City of Gold seems a fitting place for a new gold ring holder, but who knew Meeks was such a poet when it came to picking vacations to match his accessories.

Doug McDermott

Doug McDermott went to Google but if you Google Doug McDermott it says nothing about his favourite movie being The Internship.

Rating: The movie still holds up, to be fair.

Josh Hart

I am a huge advocate for NBA players eating whatever the hell they want, whenever they want, and not having anybody say anything about it so said nothing the first time Josh Hart went to New Orleans institution Café du Monde for beignets, but here he is back again, in his own words, because Josh Hart is simply crazy for beignets!

Rating: Gonna need a beignet count for the offseason but only for good, not evil, tally purposes.

Chris Bosh

Yes, Chris Bosh is retired and yes, this column primarily focuses on the summer vacations of current NBA players, but there are some vacations so good it basically forces the haver out of retirement. So, welcome back, Chris Bosh, you may still be retired from the NBA but you are basically on the NBA SVW All-Star team.

Rating: Bosh is also doing this thing where he shares moments of him giving inspirational speeches in front of or adjacent to ancient, beautiful monuments and essentially becoming a living, improved version of those posters that say DREAM and COURAGE hanging in forgotten boardrooms the world over.

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