Hello, sweet sun bums. I hope you’ve reapplied sunscreen and rehydrated since Summer Vacation Watch season officially began, because we are truly just getting underway. This week, we’ve got Klay Thompson riding summer’s vibe on just about every vehicle there is, including that of the indomitably chill human spirit, plus hoopers in race cars, infinity pools, the ocean, at ball games and on boats. Summer is going full swing and my eyes are, as always, peeled and safety behind sunglasses at all times.
Klay is on vacation in Mexico and thank god. We started strong last week but I’d hate to have the calibee of vacations fade in just the second week. Wait, what am I saying? Summer’s a vibe and you gotta ride it, precisely like Klay is — on a boat, on a boogie board, on a jumper, out the passenger window of a speeding car. If you’re looking for a way to squeeze the juice out of the fleeting-est season then look no further, because Klay is summer. Easy, breezy, wearing the bare minimum of sleeve options on his limbs. Like, while none of us could hope to get where he is mentally, in terms of summer vacation certainty, he’s a bright light to look to, with sunglasses on.
Rating: Klay might also have the power to singularly make the song “Fast Car” not cripplingly depressing, should he choose to play it in the background the next time he hangs out the window of one.
While we may never get LeBron alone in Mexico again smoking a cigar and singing at the beach bar for the afternoon, we do have here LeBron alone in a bucket hat, slowly swaying, alone, in what I want to say his backyard. I also don’t mean to be rude, but close inspection of this bucket hat leads me to believe it’s just your average, everyday bucket. It’s not a streetwear bucket, it’s not an imported bucket, it’s a bucket that says, “I forgot my hat on vacation and this is what the hotel gift shop could offer me for $25.” So, maybe this bucket was purchased on the solo Mexican beach bar trip, and in that way we’ve got a vacation continuation on our hands.
Rating: See? Summer vacation really is forever, if you want it.
Serge is also in Mexico, enjoying himself immensely, but in a yin demure way to Klay’s more kinetic yang. Serge is the kind of person who plans fits for vacation rather than throwing in several pairs of shorts and whatever sleeveless shirts are clean and leaving. He probably travels with a small clothes steamer. Can you blame him? Not when you see him in these silk shorts, you can’t. He looks off in the middle distance, presumably toward the ocean, he gets closer to the ocean in an infinity pool (still staring), and finally, he makes it to the ocean. It’s brief, he runs right out, but I’m choosing to believe it’s because he’s getting his reps in, rather than being taken by the majesty and terror of the sea.
Rating: Maybe he just didn’t want to get those shorts wet.
Ok, bear with me. Who hasn’t made plans for a jam packed summer day, out on the water, out at the beach, out at some kind of park — amusement or trees — and had the day hit them all at once the second you step back inside the house? Sun stoke or no, it’s those kinds of summer days that can feel guiltily good, recovering with A/C blasting the body in its restorative strength, blinds drawn so no one can see you doing an unfortunate Bane impression while sprawled weirdly on the couch at such an angle that your neck gets absorbed into your sternum.
Rating: He was doing the voice guys, that’s why the subtitles are on.
Justin took to the speedway, the blacktop, the hot revvin’ tar (made that one up), to sit pretty excitedly in an Indy car then toot around in a pace car for the day, fully decked out in a crew jumpsuit he matched his chucks to. He looks so happy the entire time that I hope Rick Carlisle harnesses this joyful summer energy and has him warm up in this suit all next season.
Rating: Please note the “Fast 8” caption, which we have to take to be Justin’s fav of the Fast franchise. Intrigue, romance, betrayal, a nuclear Russian submarine threat for some reason, this one had it all.
Rare baseball crossover here in these hallowed basketball halls (again!) but look how relaxed Khem looks to be tossin’ the ball out at the Blue Jays game. This is exactly the energy I look for in baseball, which is why I don’t watch it.
Rating: Has a person who’s thrown the ceremonial ball out to start the game ever been so good at it they’ve gotten signed?
Rudy heads will be happy to know this is the first of two appearances he’ll make in my summer vigilance, they’ll also be happy to know that I’m following this story closely in hopes of revealing where this adventure takes him. My guess is south of France, but those distant hills also look Gibraltar-y, but really until we get a closer look at the mineraloid matter of that island it will be impossible to say for sure, and I don’t peddle in half divulgences.
Rating: The punctuation of the caption worries me, quite frankly.
Here’s Jae, an enforcer on the floor and an enforcer of the strictest summer codes on the open water — no shoes, no shirt, but no flair? That’s gonna be a problem.
Rating: It might be vacation, but you can never take time off from respecting yourself.
If you’ll remember, last week we saw Bogdan on a boat, more of a pleasure barge really, dipping his hand in and out of azure waters. This boat looks a lot faster judging but its wake but before you get worried about him, don’t. He’s clearly not.
Rating: When someone says treat summer like your job this is certainly one interpretation, standing with the same expression you’d have taking the elevator up to whatever floor on a Wednesday afternoon for another meeting with the chucklers in accounting.
Caruso got a pretty cute puppy that gnawed on his hands while he watched, fascinated.
Rating: It must be so weird to come out of the self-perpetuating, vainglorious navel gaze of the Lakers liturgic earth ship to realize there is an entirely other world out there, one with living, breathing, soft, and cute things.
Tyler Herro took his basketball on a private jet, just to show he has both? I guess?
Rating: Good luck to Tyler Herro, soon playing with a backcourt that will take one look at excess expenditures in life and on the floor with and total disdain.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Backflips into water will never not be impressive. You don’t need to be an Olympic high diver getting up into your requisite handstand dive to get your entry into water on the SVW radar. You just need to commit and fling your whole body into it, exactly like Dennis Smith Jr. did here.
Rating: Extra points for the hype man in the back with his hands up.
The Olympics (Are Over)!
Yes, it’s true, the Olympics are over and however you feel about them can give it a rest, too. Who won’t be giving it a rest anytime soon, though, are your NBA Olympic medalists! Rudy Gobert held his honkin’ silver medal, somehow not made smaller in that dream crushing swatter of a hand, while in contrast and at this angle, Evan Fournier’s looks to be about as big as half his head.
Here we have Bam Adebayo and JaVale McGee pretty much beaming showing off their golds. Another member of the Olympic gold medal squad, Draymond Green, arrived at Summer League with his around his neck, hopefully not betting it later at the craps table.
And then, two bonus JaVales: First, regarding a hologram of himself, maybe a representation of his psyche, both winners. Second, a side-to-side look at his mom, Pamela McGee’s, gold medal and his own, 37 years apart. It’s really nice!