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Gabe Muoneke Is An Interesting Cat

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If you want to lose a few hours at work, he has an interesting blog at NBA Hoops Hype that he delivers in Faulknerian stream of consciousness about his condottiere pro basketball career. His basketball career is done after an interesting ride playing in China, Korea, Puerto Rico, and Turkey to name a few.

Don't worry about his post-basketball plans. He has a petroleum engineering degree from Texas, speaks five languages, and will probably be running the offshore Nigerian oil business in short order.

Gabe is a bright, introspective guy, the son of a professor, the typical West African education-first background, except with the small twist of occasionally being more hard-headed than humble. As you read, you see that part of that stems from the fact that he's a true engineer - he's binary. If something can't be neatly defined or answered, he's irritated. Not always the best coping mechanism for a grey world. He even jokes that he may be mildly autistic, which I found interesting.

So, he majored in petroleum engineering at Texas (yes, the one recruit in history that actually majored in engineering after promising "I'm looking at engineering programs" as a high school senior, only to sign at Florida State and major in sociology), helped to restore our basketball program, was 1st Team All-Big 12, was consistently a motherfucker on the court to opponents (and occasionally to the detriment of his team), wasn't drafted out of college, and spent the next decade making a living - and battling the frustrations - of playing international basketball, and hoping for a break in the NBA D leagues, playing with peers that couldn't score half what he did on the SAT or on the court, and dealing with coaches suspicious of a 6 foot 7 hotheaded philosopher that speaks 5 languages, demands empirical certainty, and likes to eat fufu.

At the same time battling his own pride, arrogance, and immaturity.

He chronicles it all without pulling punches on himself or others and it's a pretty fun read.

Some interesting excerpts to whet your appetite:

On the cycle of African povery & corruption:

My teammate, Hommy De Jesus and I, were having my daily “corrupt Africa” conversation. Hommy asked the question that I hear all the time. Why don’t the elite Africans help quell corruption? That’s easy: there is no desire for self evolution. For the rich there, corruption has worked… So why change? Because it could work better and you could be richer if you helped the infrastructure of people as well as community. Every culture deals with elite greed and selfishness. The difference is in other cultures, they know that sometimes being selfless in certain situations will garner them more than what they already have. Inevitably, even through unfortunate circumstances, this leads to evolution. Even the selfish eventually evolve! Whether desired or not, you must evolve. A trait sometimes lacking among Bantus… everywhere. That’s why I’m goin’ pop a cap in yo ass if you foul me again…

I don't think Amare Stoudemire could have authored that.

On his time at Texas:

Chris Mihm, Mo Evans, Chris Owens, James Thomas. Just reeling off names I almost got into a fight with while at Texas. Yes, it is embarrassing. I was so damn lucky at Texas. Any other school would have kicked me out. As luck would have it (God yes, but I feel God grants His “luck”) I had coaches like Tom Penders or Rick Barnes. And no offense to those two, but I attribute the greatest blessing while at UT to Deloss Dodds. You’ll never hear his name and he’ll never look for the spotlight. But he cares more about the kids at the university and their future than he does about his own job. Great man.

Interesting props for Dodds, which you don't always hear.

For a while, it looked like Muoneke was estranged from the program and it may have even cost us on the recruiting trail in Houston, but it appears that Gabe has evolved and now looks back on his attitude towards the program after graduation with some regret. At least that's what I gleaned from reading his blog.

Concerning a brawl with fans and players in Algeria while on the Nigerian national team:

In the middle of the whole thing I heard Ime, literally in mid-swing of another opponent say,”Watch back, Gabe” and he calmly, I mean calmly, smeared a guy who, as I turned to see his warning, jumped from the stands with a chair to probably kill me or knock me out to where the crowd would have. I mean, Ime caught the guy in mid air with a fist and calmly continued his dispacthing of oncoming people. He and other guys (yes, me too) were whoopin’ so many people the crowd backed up. True to the letter! But Ime had the most notches by far. As we retreated to the locker room to kind chants of, “You cudly blackies! We highly doubt your ability to leave this gym with lives intact” in French, (it might have been a bad translation)

Anyway, you get the idea. Give Gabe a read. A lot of good copy to be found and he expresses a lot of opinions that surprise, impress, amuse, and may even cause the occasional eye roll. You'll lose a couple of hours in an entertaining way, in any event.

Good luck in your future endeavors, Gabe.