Kawhi’s laugh. Intended or not, we all took that away. It was reminiscent of that time your senile grandfather stifled a giggle upon noticing your newest girlfriend’s exposed midriff.
Look, it was peculiar, but if you over-analyze it to a weird level, you can tell it was genuine. Media members who were present at the session indicated the vibe in the room that day was awkward. It all culminated in a very odd sound from a man who generally finds these sorts of events more uncomfortable than dancing while sober.
Kawhi’s attempted joke did not land and the commentary leading up to it was cringe-worthy. Thus, he left us with visions of a basketball-playing robot attempting to copy what it had processed as being a reciprocal gesture otherwise known as laughing.
Unfortunately, this stole the show to kick off the first week of what is the most anticipated season in Raptors history. Otherwise, he said all the right things, but in his own way; in the stoic manner in which he has always dealt with the media. You can tell he does not revel in that environment, as Danny Green does. Danny has that flair to his personality and he knows how to charm, while Kawhi is closed off in that type of setting. His sense of humor is offbeat, and the media is certainly not going to evoke that side of his personality in an endearing manner.
Kawhi tried to say what he perceived to be the appropriate thing, but idiosyncrasies ensue as bogus questions trickle in. People hate first date questions. “So, tell me about yourself”, does not typically spur an insightful response. We have all fumbled that one. We learn about others as we read between the lines while chatting about things we have in common – like basketball for instance.
From every other angle, this week seems to be going well. The fans in Vancouver are excited about the first pre-season game with resale ticket prices escalating to the sold-out affair. The players have spoken about their eagerness to show off what they have been working on, with a healthy Kawhi seemingly gelling with his new teammates.
Jimmy Butler trade rumors continue to swirl, but that is all they seem like on the surface – from the Raptors standpoint. The current roster is poised to be one of the best three-point shooting teams in the league, and one that may be a force on the defensive side of the ball. Jimmy Butler is a great player, but do not add unnecessary controversy to this already startling situation that we have finally come to accept. There is inherent team chemistry that exists and Kawhi looks as though he is going to buy in, or at least pretend to in the interim. Toss in the bench mob factor and this season could be a fun one. We do have a fun guy leading the charge after all.