- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
His teammates have found Kaman to be delightful if a bit puzzling, especially when he suddenly channels a character from one of the comedies in his film library--say, Uncle Buck or Ron Burgundy. "A lot of people," Brand says, "don't know what the hell he's doing." Other times, though, they get sucked into Kaman's world without realizing it. When he began sitting next to Hughes on the team plane, going over the film of that night's game on his laptop, Dunleavy worried that other players might think Kaman was getting "special tutoring." But then, gradually, more players began spending the trip on their laptops, examining their own play.
Kaman has proved himself increasingly amenable to instruction, which is one reason Sterling signed him for five years. But he remains sensitive to criticism. "[If] you bark at him from across the court," Hughes says, "you get nothing." And even Kaman warns that constant jabbering from his mentors, Cassell and guard Cuttino Mobley, will only go so far. "I haven't snapped yet," Kaman says, as if in warning. "I love them as teammates, but one of these times...."
Still, you don't really get to Kaman. He is so insulated from L.A. life--he doesn't drink, party or otherwise mingle socially--that it's hard to imagine his losing that winning innocence. He remains quarantined in his own whimsy. Asked if he doesn't occasionally want to get out and mix it up, he replies, "For what?" Everything he wants is within his considerable reach: His favorite movies are stacked in rows, his trusted companions are on call. The biggest disappointment he's had of late was when police made him take his archery range down after his brother loosed an arrow onto a neighbor's roof.
Kaman has been venturing out a bit lately, but on his terms. He bought his parents a 43-foot motor home last year, and the whole gang drove from Michigan to Alaska for a fishing trip during the off-season. "A hundred hours going," he says, "and 110 coming back. We stopped at Yellowstone." He cruised down to Mexico ("31 hours--I got pulled over twice"), this summer to conduct free basketball clinics for 2,000 children. And the view outside his bedroom window--the Pacific Ocean laps the shore just below--has inspired him to begin shopping for a yacht, something he and his crew could board after Clippers practices, then bob along or maybe sail all the way down the coast. For as long as they want.
He admits it's only an idea so far, although it sure sounds like fun. For Kaman, there's no other kind of idea worth having.
Which surprising team has risen to No. 1? Get updated Power Rankings every Monday at SI.com/NBA.