When a member of the television media interviews someone with an unusual name about his unusual name, hilarity usually abounds. If there’s a joke to be made about your name, it’s probably already been made. But frozen-smile teleprompter readers are required to behave as if they’ve discovered something the subject has never considered.
What’s that you say? My name is Barkevious? I did not realize!
This interview by ESPN's Jay Crawford with Chrotchtangle Regional No. 1 seed Just-in’love Smith is a classic of the genre. At the time he appeared on the four-letter last fall, Smith was a 26-year-old guard for Siena. Why so old? Because he served four years in the military, including one in Iraq. Sounds like an interesting guy. Let’s see how Jay handled the assignment:
What’s in a name? For Siena basketball player Just-in’love Smith, an awful lot.
Rhetorical cliche. Inane follow up. Perfect.
You might say he’s arrived ... just in time.
And the 2009 ESPY for Worst Script Writing goes to ... Jay Crawford!
Welcome to the program, Just-in. I’m sure there is a fan-tas-tic story behind [swallowed anchorman chuckle] your name. What is that story?
Just-in’s brain: Let’s see if I can get this over with quickly.
Uh, my mother named me Just-in’love because she was just in love with me.
Very nice! I like that! Short, sweet!
I’m glad you like the simple answer I’ve concocted to get asshats like you to shut up.
What do your teammates think of your name?
Ask me about Iraq, man. Or what it's like to be a 26-year-old D-I walk-on. Or about my dead mother.
I’m wondering what the ladies think of your name?
They love my name. but I’m engaged, so now it’s like the name is no good for the ladies no more.
You’d think that answer would have embarrassed Jay into moving on to other topics. But no. He needs to ask about Just-in’s nicknames “back home.” Then the requisite question about his military service. Then an inquiry into his aspiration to be a stand-up comic. And whether he’ll use his name as part his act.
Jay Crawford: Just-in'sufferable.
No. 1 Just-in'love Smith: Above.
No. 16 Charity Beaver: Dallas personal trainer.
No. 8 Dr. Festus Dada: Gastric-bypass specialist suing Lenny Dykstra.
No. 9 Karma Sherpa: New York cabbie.