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Random stories of fans meeting NBA players

LeBron James

One of the most popular NBA Reddit threads on Monday night focused on this question. “Any stories of meeting NBA players randomly?” One of the best stories came from user NephewForThe3 who had a pretty crazy story about Zaza Pachulia, one that’s almost hard to believe, until you remember that it’s about Zaza.

“I met zaza at the grocery store once I asked for him to get something off the top shelf for me. He said “come on man I know you can do it jump a bit”. I thought “hey this guy ain’t so bad”. So I jumped up to reach for the paper towels and on my way down zaza slipped his foot under mine. I twisted my ankle pretty bad. He didn’t say anything after he just walked away laughing.”

This apocryphal story is most likely just a playful, albeit grotesque, way of reminding us that Pachulia injured San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard in Game 1 of last year’s Western Conference Finals, when the Warriors big man slid his foot underneath Leonard just as the latter was coming down following a shot.

Zaza has been called a dirty player by some, including Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Guess it turns out he might also be a dirty grocery store shopper.

Another good player-fan interaction happened to Mexter-Dorgan who ran into Al Jefferson at the airport.

“I met the statue of liberty himself, Mr. Al Jefferson. This was his last season in Boston, but I actually met him in Los Angeles in the summer. He was on our plane from LAX back to Logan. Anyways, I’m sitting in the concourse (or terminal?) waiting to get on the plane and see this massive black guy with the biggest watch I’ve ever seen. I said to my brother, “that guy looks like a basketball player.” Then he said, “why cuz he’s tall and black? Not all black people are basketball players.” Only reason I remember this bit of dialogue is because we laughed pretty hard when he stood up and it was Al Jefferson. We walked over to him and I was like 13 or something so this guy was seriously towering over us. We dapped him up and said we really liked him on the team. When we got in line to get on the plane he sat first class which makes sense because he was an NBA player but also because he needed the extra leg room. He had two seats too because he had to spread out. Guy was absolutely giant. It was mind blowing. Then he went away to Minny after a breakout season.”

Just because these guys are stars, they are also human beings, and as long as your name isn’t Zaza, most of them are pretty nice guys too.