Kevin Durant, Greg Oden and Endless Meat
So last night, Prisbell and I ate dinner at Fogo de Chao, which is one of those Brazilian steakhouse where like 50 waiters keep cutting about 12 differents kinds of steak on to your plate and never stop. (There's also a Fogo de Chao in D.C., and it comes highly recommended if either a) your heart is in good health or b) you have an expense accout. Prisbell and I had an expense account.)
Anyway, as we're demolishing our 30th ounce of the house special, I noticed a couple of tall young men at the salad bar. Our ensuing conversation went something like this:
"Is that ... Kevin Durant?" I asked Prisbell.
He put his glasses on. "Oh my God, I think it is."
"And that's Alando Tucker next to him."
And it really was. We probably should have gone up there to investigate what they were eating for Bog purposes, but wild horses weren't pulling us away from our heaping plate of meat at that point. After a while, we walked to the salad bar so we could look where they were, and they were sitting at a table with Durant's mom, Rick Barnes, a guy wearing a Wisconsin polo and a slew of other people. We figured they were eating together for some player of the year function, like the Natioanal Association of Basketball Coaches.
So we went back to eating, finished, thought about leaving, decided to stay for another beer, and then Greg Oden walked in. Really -- the entire Ohio State team ate at Fogo de Chao last night. So for the first time in probably two years, Alando Tucker was the third best player in the room.
The Ohio State table was in the back of the restaurant, next to the table where Durant and Tucker were sitting. When Oden walked by and saw Durant and Tucker, he laughed, then went over there, the only Buckeye to do so. Oden gave Durant some dap, sort of a handshake and one-quarter hug, which they'll be doing before NBA tip-offs for the next 20 odd years. It would have made for a really cool picture. Oden seemed to be more friendly with Tucker, probably from the Big 10 games. Those two chatted for a minute before Oden walked back to his table and sat down. No word on how much he ate, but I'm definitely going to try to ask some of the OSU players about it today.
The entire time Oden was in the restaurant, if he wasn't sitting down he was being mobbed by fans with camera phones. He posed and smiled for each one. Durant and Tucker were mostly left alone, shockingly so in Durant's case. Durant may be the better player, but there's no question who the bigger star is (at least in dimly lit Brazilian steakhouses.) Oden also probably receives more attention because of his height and recognizably weathered face, but still, it's Kevin Durant. Pretty surprising how the folks at Fogo left him to his own devices.
Satisfied there would be no more All-America sightings, Prisbell and I left Fogo. Total combined damage: An estimated 50 ounces of meat, 10 beers and two shots of Jagermeister. We resisted the after-dinner, 1 oz. shot of Remy Martin Louis XIII Grand Champagne, which Fogo de Chao asks $150 a piece for.
Instead, we went to a bar called Moondogs in Buckhead, which was a little on the young side. Lot of Georgia Tech students. There was also an actual dog walking around, an enourmous one that looked like a cross between a collie and a german shepard. There could have been a couple UCLA cheerleaders, too, we were told. Moondogs served a mean pint of a local brew called Sweetwater Blue, which is sweet and tastes like blueberries. But it's way more manly than it sounds (right?). I recommend the beer, maybe not the bar unless you're a student.
A final observation before heading over to the Georgia Dome: This is my first Final Four, and I had always heard about how many coaches are around, but it's still almost surreal how Atlanta is just crawling with coaches. On the shuttle from the airport to the hotel, I shared a bus with amiable Holy Cross Coach Ralph Willard. Jamie Dixon was in the lobby of my Marriott. Everyone is wearing a polo with some team logo. It seems like most coaches are in the Hilton, but at around 1 a.m., Prisbell and I shared an elevator with two coaches from Eastern New Mexico (which may or may not have been a fictional college) in the Marriott. They probably needed the points.
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