It’s a well-known fact that a lot of NBA players like to pass the time aboard team flights playing cards (in many cases for money). This hasn’t always led to the most favorable outcomes.
Gilbert Arenas’ whole ordeal with Javaris Crittenton that allegedly culminated in a Texas-style high-noon showdown in the Wizards’ locker room a few years back reportedly all started over an argument about money Crittenton owed Arenas from an aforementioned card game. Some organizations (such as the Nets and Grizzlies) have gone so far as to ban card games on team flights altogether.
One team that won’t be banning card games any time soon is the Atlanta Hawks, and that’s mostly because the players’ game of choice is just about as innocuous as it gets: Uno. But that doesn’t mean the players don’t take it seriously. Quite the opposite, in fact. Here’s more from Scott Cacciola of the New York Times:
The games almost always continue from takeoff to landing, and each player is expected to be a full participant, with no excused absences. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who was a part of the group earlier this season, learned that lesson. After a couple of weeks spent honing his Uno expertise, teammates said, he wanted to take a break, if only for one flight.
“He said he was tired and wanted to rest,” Schroder said. “So we had to kick him out.”
Hardaway has not been invited back. Those who have stuck with the game cite the value of chemistry and camaraderie.
“You get all these long flights, and you can only watch so many movies,” Horford said. “So it’s a good way for us to interact as a group.”
Horford said they played purely for pride. There are clear rivalries.
“It’s usually Kent and Dennis who are mouthing off most of the time,” Horford said.
For a franchise that doesn’t boast any superstars and relies on passing and old-fashion teamwork to get the job done, Uno seems like the perfect choice. To be sure, some Hawks players throw spades, but according to the piece, they’re a much smaller and less gregarious subset. Uno rules the roost for the current incarnation in Atlanta.
(Via New York Times)