The New Threads, and the Fashion Show
I'll be honest, when I got the e-mail promising that last night's fashion show would feature "Wizards players, wives and families modeling the new team gear," I had pretty elaborate visions of catwalks and strutting player and sashaying wives and maybe some commentary from Heidi Klum. And when, before the show started, I heard a team employee tell the players they could scoot down the runway with whatever style they wanted, as long as it was clean, and when I saw Mike Hall and James Lang practicing all manner of strutting, I was still pretty excited. But most of the players ended up sort of wimping out on the modeling thing, despite the catwalk and the photographers crowded around and the "SexyBack" soundtrack and all that. Maybe they were nervous.
(Jarvis Hayes: "I'm going to try not to fall. We've got some stairs, so I'll take it one step at a time." Nice.)
We'll have some video later, but here were the signature moves:
Coaches (to "Ready Steady Go")
Assistant Phil Hubbard: Shows the ability to walk the entire length of the runway without moving a muscle.
Reserves (to "I Like the Way You Move")
Mike Hall, wearing the Home White Shooting Shirt with the Home White Game Shorts: Owns the runway, wiping the front of jersey in a dismissive manner, then motioning for someone in the crowd to call him. Easily the best performance of the night. ("I'm a player for the people," he told me later as he signed autographs, before confiding in a young fan that he regularly schools Antawn Jamison in practice. Mike needs to make this team.)
James Lang, wearing the Away Blue Uniform: No obvious sign of life, from a player who spent the moments before the show practicing wild gyrations. Hugely disappointing. Hugely everything, actually. Dude's huge.
Andray Blatche, wearing the Home White Warm Up Pants with the Home White Jersey: Breaststrokes his way down the runway, then flexes. Pretty nice effort. ("I thought Andray Blatche had good moves; kind of played to the crowd, made some poses," Hubbard later said, which was the best I could get in terms of a performance review.)
Calvin Booth, looking sharp in his Away Blue Warm up Shirt and Away Blue Game Shorts: I swear, he was out there but you didn't even notice. That's his thing, I guess.
Donell Taylor, showcasing the Home White Uniform: Pops jersey, then turns around and raises arms to the sky. Dramatic, if nothing else.
Roger Mason, wearing the Away Blue Shooting Shirt and Away Blue Warm Up Pants: Claps hands repeatedly, as if entering a game. Wrong man, wrong place, wrong time.
Michael Ruffin, showcasing the Home White Warm up Shirt and Home White Warm Up Pants: Channels Mister Rogers by bringing five children out with him, many of which were his.
Etan Thomas, showcasing the Home White Uniform: Nothing.
Antonio Daniels, wearing Home White Warm Up Shirt and the Home White Game Shorts: Makes peace sign, I believe, or maybe that was an upside A for Antonio.
DeShawn Stevenson, wearing the Away Blue Warm Up Pants and Away Blue Jersey: Waves.
Starters, wearing Gold and Black (to "SexyBack")
Jarvis Hayes: Throws both hands up in the air, as if he just doesn't care.
Brendan Haywood: Makes some sort of two-handed gun motion, like he's shooting the photographers or something. (Also, I think the fact that he came out with the starters is significant. Who would have thought the team would tip their hand about its starting rotation in a fashion show?)
Antawn Jamison: At least his wife and daughter were actually wearing Wizards gear, unlike most of the family members. Say, is this thing almost over?
Caron Butler: Perfects the one-arm jersey pop, the one-arm motion to the crowd for more noise, and the one-arm chest pound, while holding his daughter with his other arm.
Gilbert Arenas: Throws extra jersey to crowd.
All in all, it was a crushing letdown, and Songaila's absence made it even worse. Adam Wainwright's curveball last night moved more than some of these guys, and it wasn't even close. I asked Hubbard if he was as disappointed as I was.
"My players don't disappoint me on the catwalk," he said. "They should really stick to basketball."
October 20, 2006; 1:14 PM ET
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