Friday, December 22, 2006

Classic card of the we-…YEAR!



It’s about time that I let you in on a little secret. Dwayne Schintzius is the inspiration behind this whole, darned operation. The very idea of “Classic Card of the Week” was modeled around the notion that someday – when I felt I was adequately ready to do so – breaking down these very cards. But unforeseen challenges lie ahead. For starters, our Dwayne Schintzius collection was always lying around the office somewhere, never more than a few footsteps away, nestled next to some coffee-stained newspapers and two-month old cream cheese. But, when I finally felt confident enough to take on the magnificence you see above (I have been training for months now, eating raw eggs and typing with my knuckles)…BAM!…they were gone. Suddenly and unjustly, like the NBA Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA, Dwayne Schintzius was nowhere to be found.

What was a man to do? I searched high and low, with no results. Through utter carelessness, I had managed to lose the Holy Grail of ridiculous sports cards. I didn’t know if I could go on. I arrived at work one day last week with full intentions of calling it quits. I couldn’t focus anymore, not without Schintzius. But then, a beacon of light appeared through my office door, and lying on top of my keyboard were the two Dwayne Schintzius cards, in all of their glory! It was a Festivus miracle! I screamed, “I’ll never lose you again, Dwayne Schintzius!” and we celebrated with cocktails and finger foods. Now I don’t know who, exactly, found Schintzius and brought him back into my life – no one at the office claims responsibility. But I’ll tell you this much: I’m a believer. In Santa Claus. That guy gets it.

Of course, just finding Dwayne Schintzius was only half the battle. Now that I had him, what was I going to say? What could I possibly say about a card where everything is already implied? I figured that the only person in the world who could even look at this card without being immediately flabbergasted by it was Dwayne Schintzius himself. And that’s when it came to me…

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Dwayne Schintzius had never seen himself before. In his native land of Russia, where the average height is only 4’7”, the 7’2” Schintzius could never make eye contact with a mirror. And that’s if he was lucky enough to even be in the same room with a mirror, because mirrors were very expensive in Russia, and were actually deemed illegal under the Communist regime of Mikael Gorbachev, who himself was never made aware that he had a humongous glob on his forehead. Because they were government-owned, barbershops did not have mirrors, and for 20 long years, Dwayne Schintzius had been telling his barber, LeRoy, to “take a little off the sides, not so much in the back” without ever seeing the results.

Fast forward to the lay-up line of a late December matchup pitting the Spurs against the Mavericks. Schintzius had just completed a warm-up series of baby-hook shots that would inevitably be stuffed back down his throat during the actual game. He was casually returning to the San Antonio bench, as was his custom, when off in the distance, somewhere in the stands, a large mirror was being transported across the arena to replace the one that was broken in the luxury suite men’s bathroom, an accident that occurred when an irate Spurs executive realized that Dwayne Schintzius was on the Spurs. Not knowing what a mirror actually was, Schintzius quietly marveled at the humongous, mulleted phenom staring back at him. Then, growing increasingly upset, words were exchanged. Witnesses heard Schintzius have the following dialogue with the unsuspecting mirror:

“Yo, what’s your problem buddy? With your crazy mullet. Why you wearin’ my shirt? Why you…Wait a sec…(Tapping top of his head)…Holy shhh…”

The Upper Deck cameras, in what would later become Time Life’s Pulitzer Prize winning “Photo of the Year (1990),” captured the exact moment when 20-plus years of image-avoidance caught up with Dwayne Schintzius in one fell swoop.

By his own admission, Dwayne Schintzius was shocked by what he saw. In an awkward post-game locker room moment, Schintzius chastised various beat reporters for allowing him to leave the house in such a state, much less conduct public interviews. Probably most shocking of all to Schintzius was the realization that he was Caucasian. He blamed his parents for naming him “Dwayne,” which greatly added to his own, personal, misperceptions. Ironically, “Schintzius” is Russian for “Wade.”

Dwayne Schintzius’ locker room tirade, combined with the cost of one very expensive bathroom mirror, led to his demise as a San Antonio Spur. In the first ever trade that involved one unbelievably mulleted doofus for one robust guy who played basketball while wearing Blue Blockers, Dwayne Schintzius was traded to the Sacramento Kings for Antoine Carr in December of 1991. Advantage: Kings. Nobody in Sacramento had even seen defense like this before:



The story of Dwayne Schintzius is one of redemption. Instead of crawling into a humongous hole and hiding for several days, only to emerge with a shaved head and a pair of Nikes, Schintzius came to accept who he was. He said, “Hey, world! I’m Dwayne Schintzius. I am a seven-foot tall Russian who is actually from Florida, and I have the worst mullet in the history of the universe. Deal with it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to lace up my size 27 Converse and play some suffocating defense for the Sacramento Kings. That’s how I roll – Schintzius style.” In fact, Schintzius actually did what many thought was impossible, and ditched his coifed Aqua-Net part for a more apropos flattop. The results were, obviously, fantabulous.

Actual facts about Dwayne Schintzius (according to Wikipedia)
- He played the role of the “Russian player” in the 1996 Whoopi Goldberg movie “Eddie.”
- He accused former New Jersey Nets’ teammate Jayson Williams of killing his dog with a shotgun.
- His middle name is Kenneth.
- These facts are all true. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

Interesting anecdotes about Dwayne Schintzius (according to nothing in particular)

- He is the equivalent of Fabio in Russia, where his image often graces the cover of trashy, Russian romance novels, such as “From Russia, With Lust.”
- Former Seattle Supersonics forward Detlef Schrempf claimed that Schintzius was “an inspiration to mullet-wearers everywhere,” and often marveled at the sheer volume of his peer’s extraordinary mane.
- Antoine Carr said, “Trying to replace Schintzius in San Antonio was like trying to squeeze a cantaloupe into a rooster’s behind.”

Did you know?
“Rolling Schintzius style” is now hip-hop terminology for trying to orchestrate a four-on-five fast break because the humongous, mulleted center on your team can’t make it back down the court quickly enough.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That fantastical mullet is not to be believed. I am so happy you found that card!