Sure, Damir, I'll have another
A very sweet home win for the Bucks. Wins over Kevin Garnett and the Twolves are normally hard to come by, and the Bucks had to earn this one. But you can read a better account of the game on jsonline.com, I'm sure. Instead, I have a more interesting anecdote to share (you won't find on jsonline).
The best action from my point of view was after the game at Taylor's on the corner of Wells and Jefferson in downtown Milwaukee. The MVP at that venue (actually, the only Buck in the house that I spotted) was the Big Rook... the Swinging Croat... Mr. Damir Markota.
Turn's out he's a pretty cool guy. At least he was damn generous with the drink purchases last night. In fact, he bought me and the group I was with a couple of rounds of shots. (Truth be told, he was buying them for the chicks who were with me -- I think he felt obligated to throw me in the mix to keep peace. But, respect this -- he's learned American lesson number one: never mow another man's grass.)
Now, I don't want to talk out of school against a guy who's willing to show that kind of love, but damn he was pounding back the poison. And I'm not talking about Milwaukee champagne, either. It was hard shit all the way for the young fella. For real! And, in a move that was shades of the original Yugoslav sensation, Vlade Divac, he was smoking cigarettes, too.
It got so ridiculous that at one point he was in a corner throwing back what looked like a doubler by himself. When I saw that pathetic display, I'm thinkin' "Damn, boy! Go easy!" He wasn't thinking that, though... trust me.
After he came back over I asked him what kind of shots he was doing. He said "Jahk Dahniels". He then told me this little bit of Bucks Trivia you won't find in the Media Guide: he started drinking Jack Daniels when he was 14! Its not that astonishing, especially given where he came from, but I was just weirded out by the fact that he sounded proud of it.
I think the Bucks know they might have a problem here. I think they put a designated babysitter on his ass. Because after a while some random guy leaned in and said "Damir... tomorrow" and pointed to his watch, and Damir, on cue, split the scene. Here's how wasted he was: When he went out the door he headed the wrong way down Jefferson Street. How did I know this? Because I saw him double back past the window about three minutes later. No shit. Rock on, Markota.
On a serious note -- Damir's a great guy, and I'm pulling for him to make it, but how the hell can he swill the Tennessee river water the way he does and still hope to somehow get over on guy's more talented than him the next day? He's not Mickey Mantle. He's not good enough to play with self-inflicted wounds. Maybe that's the point -- he knows he's not going to play.
Oh well, whatever... all I have to say is this to the guy... to paraphrase the salutation given by DeNiro when he did a shot with the guy he and Pesci ended up kicking to death in Goodfellas, "Top of the Mornin' to Ya, Damir!"
Footnote: In case any of you were wondering, yes, Damir is only 19. His underage status was of no matter to the bouncers, however. Another quick tidbit: All night I kept telling people Markota was from Russia. Later on, he loudly corrected me "No, Ty! Yugoslavia! Not Russia!" Ouch. Just add that to my list of classic blunders, along side misspelling Terry Stotts ("Terri"), calling Mo Williams "Michael Williams", referring to Leandro Barbosa as "Leonardo Barbosa" (to which some smart ass commented "yeah, he was great in The Departed" -- which I thought was an awesome burn) and countless other misspellings and counterfacts spewed from my keyboard onto this site.