Classic card of the week

Vlade Divac & James Worthy, 1993 Upper Deck "Final Preparations"

After staring at this card for 24 hours straight, I have several questions:

a) Is that really the training room of the Los Angeles Lakers, arguably the proudest and most affluent franchise in professional basketball? It looks like the athletic director’s office at Lakeside Technical High School.

b) Why is James Worthy, and not, say, the trainer for the Los Angeles Lakers, taping up the ankles of Vlade Divac?

c) What is James Worthy wearing? Are those gold khakis? It looks like he’s been at his 9-5 job all day at Orange County Communications, walked into the locker room around 6:15, took off his shirt and tie which revealed a Lakers jersey he recently purchased at Champs Sports, and mysteriously began taping the ankles of his Serbian teammate.

d) Why is Vlade Divac smiling like that? What is he up to? I just don't trust that guy.

e) What would somebody have to pay me to touch the feet of Vlade Divac without wearing seven pairs of latex gloves?

It’s time for answers. Back of the card, explain:

In order to survive in the NBA, every team and player must be fully prepared for each night’s battle.

Okay. But is there more than one way in which a player must prepare for battle?

Each player has to prepare themselves in several ways.


They must be prepared mentally, which is something they have to do on their own.

Vlade Divac
: Hey James, I was wondering…Can you do me a solid and help me prepare for tonight’s battle mentally?

James Worthy: What do I look like, the Horse Whisperer? Damn fool -- preparing mentally is something you have to do on your own! I can’t tape up your brain!

Other preparations, such as taping, sometimes requires the help of teammates.

Divac: Oh, alright. My bad. But hey -- would you mind taping up my ankles?

Worthy: What? Where the hell is the trainer?

Divac: He’s uh, massaging Van Exel’s groin.

Worthy: Geez! Fifteen guys on this team and that freakin’ dude needs his groin massaged every two seconds. My groin ain’t feeling too great either ya’ know, but I got two hands! (Starts furiously pounding his groin with his fists…) Gimmie that tape.

These final preparations not only help the individual, but also the team, as it generates team unity and teamwork.

Divac: Ya’ know James, I really feel like this experience is bringing us closer together as teammates.

Worthy: Man, shut the hell up.

Did you know?

Flopping does a number on the ankles.