Zuri Berry: Former Cal Bear leaves big footprint
Boom!, Got them tho? The unequivocal catch phrase has sparked a larger viral movement, headed by one of basketball’s greatest online purveyors of hype: Rod Benson.
Maybe you’ve come across his blog (TooMuchRodBenson.com) or have found him on Yahoo! as one of the burgeoning Web giant’s new NBA experts.
Maybe, you’ve even caught a whiff of his YouTube videos, known for their comedic flair and melodic sarcasm. His latest addition, a Valentine’s Day melody for all those “Boom” girls.
Let’s just say, the 23-year old Cardiff native is a bit bombastic. But that’s just how I like him. He’s a friend of mine I’ve been following since we met a couple years back when he was still playing for the Cal Bears.
The 6-foot, 10-inch forward came to Chico for a few days to hang out with me. If you’ve walked into a shower after any freakishly tall person, you’re aware that you’re in for a surprise punch in the face. You could also say that’s what his career has been like.
Nowadays, you can find him playing for the Dakota Wizards in the NBA Development League. Because of his game, notoriety and tenacity for achievement, he garnered a spot in last weekend’s D-League All-Star game in New Orleans. It was sort of an undercard to the main event on Sunday when the East beat the West. He most famously this season had a 28-point, 28-rebound game – the latter for a D-League record which he still hesitates to speak about.
I bring up Rod because he’s the epitome of what it means to think outside the box as an athlete while remaining true to some lofty goals.
Right now, he makes a living off playing ball in small towns, like the one’s around here, that can’t get an NBA team. But he’s also getting paid by Yahoo! to write for them Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in addition to whatever he pulls in from his own Web site. Either way, the lanky baller describes himself as a “broke Kevin Garnett.”
His blogs about playing for the New Jersey Nets, working out for the Sacramento Kings or just what it’s like living in the shoes of professional basketball are a bit of theater to those in the know. This political science graduate could’ve made 10 times his income if he agreed to play overseas. But that deal fell through for the boom movement.
Now, he’s only an arm’s distance from the glory land and he’s not about to stop.
He’s caught fire with the fans in Bismarck, N.D., and started a “Boom Tho” movement in New Jersey to get him on the team. Only Gilbert Arenas, a.k.a. Agent Zero, is a larger digital print online.
The thing is, it takes a lot of drive to put yourself in the public’s eye as a professional athlete and as a commentator of the sport. He’s succeeding in both aspects and is likely setting up a grand splash when he hits the stage (if he ever does.) He’s leading the D-League in rebounds per game (11.8) and his blog has inspired its own antithesis, TooLittleRodBenson.com.
Either way you put it, he’s on the map. All his career needs is a little boom and everybody will have their Rod story. According to him, his story “just happens to be ridiculous.”
On the Web: http://www.TooMuchRodBenson.com.
Zuri Berry is a sports writer at The Union. His column appears Wednesdays. Contact him via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 477-4244. You can also read his blog online at TheUnion.com.
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