The Friend Zone

The Friend Zone, a moment in life where once you enter…nothing is the same. You go out there, put your heart on the line and then you get hit with the friend zone. Can you believe there is/was a show where some people put this crucial moment on MTV only to get crushed? I enjoyed that show, I don’t know why. There’s also another “show” that I and millions of others watch that is quite similar to the friend zone; it’s called sports! So last night me and all of the rest of the Pelicans’ fans were taken to the friend zone via a New Orleans Pelicans 4th quarter collapse that will live on for ages.

Let’s run down all of the criteria for the “friend zone” and I’ll translate it to my basketball rooting experience. #1 they have a “Great personality and are fun to be around”. Have you ever been to or watched an NBA basketball game? I’ve been blessed to be able to attend many games and them mugs are great! You got music, dancing, people being ridiculous on jumbotrons, etc. If you’re at home hopefully you got the studio crew and/or game announcers of your liking. But most importantly your favorite team or the team that your favorite player plays for is involved. That takes care of the first one.

#2 is kind of long but you all will get it. “They overachieve and have all the qualities of a good mate, you two are really good friends, “you” can see this going places, they’re easy to talk to/we can talk about anything” – So my team, the New Orleans Pelicans is in the Playoffs and let me tell you about them. They finally weathered the storm of CP3 (that tough situation they went through but you were still by their side). After they got past the CP3 debacle they switched their mascot name and changed their uniform color (new hairstyle/hair color, new wardrobe or they already had these qualities but now that they’re back on their feet you’re ready to ‘shoot your shot’). Oh and the Pelicans got this guy named Anthony Davis. Man is he great or what? Led the league in blocked shots, top ten in points per game, First Team All-NBA caliber player, only his third year in the league! (Oh man they got a good job/in school with a good major and grades, AND shhhidddd he/she look good too?). Then I can talk to them all of the time – “Monty call a timeout”, “Tyreke stop doing that dumb $#!+”, “Tyreke pass the ball!”, “Asik catch the ball!”, “Dell can we get a bench or nah?”, “Why do we pay Eric Gordon?” – and sometimes they listen. Ok that’s the second one.

Last but not least “your family/friends – 9 times out of 10 your Mom – think y’all would make a cute couple”. I knew things were looking up for the Pelicans this season when I started having family members and coworkers asking about them. “You go to/see the game last night?”, “what them tickets be looking like?”, “You been to that ‘Guys Night Out’ before?” (My people like “you”, oh yeah I’m about to step my game up) There you have it the third and final one.

Last night the moment of truth – Game 3 of the series at home versus Golden State – arrived. And just like one of those poor saps on the MTV show I had things all planned out. I was going to get me some Popeyes Chicken (3 piece combo spicy white w/mashed potatoes and gravy, fruit punch for the drink). Get back home to my couch so I could eat and watch a lil bit of the first game (Cleveland vs. Boston) before taking a pregame nap (hopefully wake up before the Pelicans game starts). Wake up, watch the Pelicans’ game and cheer them on to victory. I made my way to Popeyes and that’s where the trouble started. The chick taking my order kept wanting me to have red beans and rice when I had clearly stated (Mississippi drawl and all) “MASHED POTATOES WITH GRAVY”. Pull around to the drive thru window and I had to wait. Keep in mind there was only one other car there. Finally get home, open the box of chicken and it was drier than a $2…yeah the chicken was dry! So I chump it down and focus on the basketball and impending nap. Naptime finally arrives in the 4th quarter of the Cavs/Celtics game but it leads to me missing the first 4-6 minutes of the Pelicans game. I wake up and they’re already down but man it’s great seeing the arena packed and everybody in red. Well I’ll be John Brown if things didn’t start getting better. Ryan Anderson started hitting shots, AD was being AD, Norris Cole was stepping up off the bench, and Tyreke was playing smart! Things were looking great – the Pels had a 20 point lead – heading into the 4th.

Then the equivalent of this happened:

The Pelicans gave up offensive rebound after offensive rebound, they had countless bad offensive possessions, and sadly Monty had no answer to stop the train wreck which eventually led to THIS (no he didn’t shoot with his eyes closed but it was a great shot):  

And that is how one gets friend zoned ala NBA style. Per the course I did the dumb thing and read all the banter between fellow Pelicans fans, saw the glee of the Warriors fans, and the stupid tweets from the NBA stat geeks about GSW now being 1 – 356 in games where they entered the 4th quarter trailing by 20+ points. I guess me and the Pels can still be friends but this will be a hard one to move on from…

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