December 8, 2013

Martell Webster Bobblehead

I had planned to blog this weekend about the Washington Wizards' winning record after their crushing defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks, owners of the worst record in the league, in front of a rabid home crowd Friday night at Verizon Center. The ensuing above .500 record would have been the latest that the Wizards had owned a winning record in a season since the 2007-2008 campaign, the last year the team made the playoffs. But I guess the Bucks didn't want to cooperate and the Wizards came out in a lackluster fashion, let Khrys Middleton drop 29 on us, came back, and then let the Bucks push us around in overtime en route to a disappointing 109-105 loss.

Fortunately, I have enough going on Wizards-wise in my life to fill the space before the first in-season winning record lets me write the post I wanted to write this weekend. Maybe the next couple of weeks will let me get back to that other post. In the meantime, I found something else to write about courtesy of the United States Postal Service.

If there's one thing I look forward to more than most things during the NBA season, it's adding a piece or two to my expanding Wizards bobblehead collection so when I finally get my hands on the season's promotional schedule, I comb it instantly so I can understand when exactly I have to be in line early to get my hands on the one or maybe two bobbleheads the team offers during the year. This year, I was hoping to find a Martell "My Favorite Wizard" Webster bobble on the giveaway schedule considering the new four year deal the team and he agreed on in the off season. Instead I found only a Nenê bobblehead on December 28. Now I like Nenê but I already have a Nenê bobblehead as part of last year's season ticket holder gift so naturally I was disappointed. 

I got set up for disappointment a little on this one. My anticipation for a Webster bobblehead had been extra high this year because I saw an advertisement for the G Wiz Kids' Club on the Verizon Center scoreboard before the first preseason game which promised delivery of exactly the bobblehead I wanted. Why can't I, devoted fan and diehard bobblehead collector, get what kids are getting just for having their folks shell out $20 to join the Kids' Club? I mean I'm at VC every game watching the Wiz and have shelves full of Wizards bobbleheads. 

So naturally, I did the only thing a rational human being can do in that situation: I signed my niece up for the G Wiz Kids' Club! Fortunately my niece is a little too young to have bobbleheads, so I'll have to hang on to the miniature version of Martell until she's old enough to appreciate the amazingness of the collection I'm forming. Just before the Bucks game Friday, her package arrived and I finally had what I wanted.

The Kids' Club package this year includes a backpack, membership card, folder, pencil, temporary tattoos, activities, a lanyard and the piece-de-resistance, one Martell Webster bobblehead. I'm vowing right now to keep my niece in this club at all costs. If I have anything to do with it, she'll be raised a Wizards fan. Of course everything in the package is important, but I'm focused on the bobblehead and put all that other stuff to one side so I could open up the box and see what my investment had brought me.

I love adding bobbleheads to my shelf and having Martell as part of my collection is an important addition. Despite being a Wizards season ticket holder for the last 14 years, there are probably only a handful of players who I would consider as favorite players. Martell is, despite only one year on the team, one of those guys.

He was drafted straight out of high school in 2005 by the Portland Trail Blazers as the sixth overall pick. After some success with the Trail Blazers got him a four year contract extension he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves where he underwent two back surgeries that essentially killed his T-Wolves career and left him labeled by some a "draft bust" and "done" at the age of 25.

The Wizards took a chance on Martell in the fall of 2012, signing him to a one year, $1.6 million deal and it paid off for both sides. Martell not only performed at an all time high level on the court, he brought veteran presence and leadership to the locker room. He also infused the Wizards with genuine personality the likes of which we haven't seen since Gilbert Arenas, although the effect of Martell's personality on the locker room is unifying rather than divisive. For evidence of Martell's personality, I suggest you watch his interview of Marcin Gortat or the brand new CSN Washington's Mar-Tell It Like It Is, which may or may not be on ongoing segment. But if you truly want to understand what I think Martell brings to the team, you should read Sarah Kogod's discussion with him over a pedicure.

So as for the bobblehead itself, I have mixed emotions. I love the monument ball logo base and the home uniform detailing, including this season's deletion of the stripe on the back of the jersey. I think our home unis rival any in the league as the best and the removal of the blue stripe on the back which used to run right through the red number (making it sometimes illegible) is one of those devil's in the details things that improves the overall appearance way more than it would seem possible.

But the head of the bobblehead…well, I can't decide if this really looks like last season's Martell Webster (he's missing the beard this year). On a purely academic basis, garden gnome and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine (discounting the skin color, of course) come to mind. I think the way too pointy nose is responsible for the garden gnome effect. But the more I look at it, the more they got a lot of the details right: the hair and beard, if nothing else, are spot on. They just needed to do something about that nose. I'm glad I can place Martell on my shelf with the other bobbleheads and slide Jordan Crawford to the rear (turned backwards in accordance with my own personal tradition, of course).

Unfortunately, the high of picking up my new bobblehead wore off quickly. Friday's loss to the Bucks was sort of a triple whammy of bad news. In addition to losing to the team with the worst record in the league, we also may have lost Nenê and Martell to injuries for a while (although Martell is currently listed day to day). This in addition to already being without Bradley Beal and Al Harrington may make what looked like a favorable mid-December schedule a lot worse for us.

But I'm confident in our ability to keep going while and if these two are out. We still have three solid starters in John Wall, Trevor Ariza and Marcin Gortat (who is fast climbing my favorite Wizards board) and first round pick Otto Porter made his season debut Friday. I'll keep the faith and hope our guys heal quickly. In the meantime, I'll keep showing up in my number 9 jersey game after game. Can't understand why there aren't more Webster jerseys at VC. Just baffling to me.

Next bobblehead post: as soon after December 28 as I can find to write.

Martell Webster taking Jordan Crawford's place in last year's team bobblehead set. We need a Marcin Gortat unannounced bobblehead giveaway badly.

1 comment:

  1. We need something a bit more than JUST the NeNe giveaway this year. They're slumming on the bobbles, which is a problem. My Steez bobble from the team set last year will hold me over.