All them Gold Gloves, World Series trophies and All-Star Games. Not to mention 3,000 hits, dives into the stands, chillin’ with opponents during bench-clearing brawls, miraculous playoff-saving flip throws to catchers, and copious shawties in your GQ cover-model arms… all while reppin’ America’s Team and America’s Pastime in America’s City for over a decade.
See, Derek, because of all you’ve done, Eugene “Pooh” Jeter has to spend the entirety of his professional basketball career going out of his way to make a name for himself…and on every occasion that he DOES make a name for himself, his last name gets absolutely butchered. Seriously, “Mister Yankee” sir, how can you sleep at night?
What’s that? Why, of course he goes by “Pooh!” Let’s be real, how many bruthas do you know who can comfortably roam the streets with the name “Eugene?” Exactly. Besides, Pooh is a far simpler name to remember on the court; Jerome Richardson understands this dynamic completely. And going by “Pooh” is far simpler than having to correct 98 percent of the population who mispronounces your last name because of some sweet-swinging shortstop.
When it comes to Pooh, it’s not Jeter as in “Peter.” It’s Jeter, and that rhymes with “better,” and that stands for “better move your butt out the way when Vanilla Sky comes raining down on ya.” Just ask the BallUp streetball crew...
Heck, ask his own teammates. Even they gotta grab an umbrella when the oop goes up.
Poor Pooh. His first sign that something might be amiss is anytime bruthas willingly call white dudes by a white-related nickname. “White Chocolate,” “Whyte Cloud,” “Vanilla Gorilla,” "The White Transformer," “Ivory Express,” “Caucasian Sensation,” “The Latvian MJ,” “Half ‘n Half,” "Snowstorm," “Pale Rider.” If you run into ANY names like this, and especially any Escalade-sized opponent black teammates lovingly call “Avalanche,” by all means, stay clear of the rim!
“Vanilla Sky” comes off sounding like some bad Tom Cruise flick, or some kind of crazy-strong scented stuff you can get from the dude hawking incense and oils on the No. 2 train. But it’s one moniker Tim McGrath goes by, lest he be confused for a country singer, a red-headed Australian Rules footballer, or, maybe worse, a cousin of the dude who used to rock for Sugar Ray.
It’s not like Vanilla Sky didn’t warn anybody. Also going by “Trew” as well as “Prime Time” in the Venice Beach circles, the 6-foot-5 former San Diego State guard’s grainy exploits from his Cal State Dominguez years have been out there for awhile now, for anyone bothering to scout him.
Poor Pooh. It all seemed pretty straightforward, textbook even by NBA standards. Especially after many years toiling away in Euro Ball, the Dakota hinterlands, and the WCC, Pooh’s seen enough white cats and non-NBA scrubs to know where to spot up for the charge in the paint. Surely this guy’s no different. Is he?
(jump to 6:20)
Poor Pooh. Here he is, just months removed from the pinnacle of his professional hoops career, nearly a decade trotting the globe since his lowly collegiate days as a Portland Pilot, after years as an NBA summer-league staple, finally getting some rookie burn with the Sacto Kings, even starting for a hot minute at the point.
Here he is, triumphantly handling the rock back in his hometown of L.A., donning that Kings purple ‘n black, getting a chance to showcase his skills at the world-famous Drew League in front of young headliners like Kevin Durant, Tyreke Evans, DeMar DeRozan, Michael Beasley, Wesley Johnson, Dorrell Wright, Nick Young, Shannon Brown, and Austin Daye. A chance to show the Kings why they might wanna pick up that team option for next year before the lockout kicked in. A chance to show these young’uns how them old rooks get it done!
And then here comes Vanilla Sky to rain all on his parade. Now he’s gotta feel a little less like a “Pooh,” and a lot more like “Eeyore.”
But the unkindest cut comes when the inevitable word of mouth goes around (“Some White Boy dunks all over an NBA Player… Who???”), and after spending all year trying to make a name for himself, it’s time for phonic correctness all over again.
“It’s not ‘jeet,’ it’s ‘jet.’” As in, “That poor Pooh boy better jet out the gym and go home.”
Poor Pooh. He gets Hoopmixtaped On by a heretofore unknown (now very-well-known) white kid in a summer league game. And what could possibly be worse than getting the phrase, "He Got Pooh'ed On" bronzed for all streetball eternity? Now more than ever before, everybody other than his mama (and his world-class sister... couldn't Carmelita teach him how to run?) is pronouncing his surname like a certain pinstriped shortstop from Gotham.
Who’s to blame for all that shame? Don’t blame Vanilla Sky. I’m looking at you, Derek. Send him an autographed glove or something.