Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images
Nikola Vucevic is back and a double-double machine again. He recorded his 39th double-double on the year when he dropped 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds against the Houston Rockets on Monday. His solid showing was a long way from the fragile state he was in earlier last week when he was trying to recover from a concussion suffered at the elbow of the insufferable Tyler Hansborough.
In the initial stages of his convalescence, Vucevic experienced the symptoms that usually occur after suffering a concussion: sensitivity to light, dizziness, and headaches. According to John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, Vucevic “was instructed to not watch television, read or even text on his phone during his recovery.”
An inability to watch TV, read, or text helpfully coincided with his mom and dad, Ljiljana and Borislav (we don’t know how to pronounce their names, either), visiting from Montenegro. While they were in town, he asked his mom for some of her home cooking, ostensibly because he didn’t have anything else he could do. He couldn’t watch tape, browse the Internet, or tweet (not that he’s a social media maven) so he might as well bulk up by consuming whatever delicious dishes his mom served him.
Here’s what Vucevic had to say about his lack of entertainment options during his recovery:
My parents were in town, so I got a chance to spend time with them. But I’d rather be out on the court with my teammates. It was very frustrating. I was very bored because I couldn’t really do anything. They told me I couldn’t watch TV, couldn’t read and couldn’t text. It’s not like I couldn’t do those things, but if I did it might have slowed the recovery of the brain so I just did the right things. And it was frustrating to see (Magic) guys playing hard and I wanted to be out there to help them win. It was unfortunate, but I’m back now.
The whole ordeal got us thinking: what on earth could Nikola have done in the down time between meals?
Here is a list of five hypothetical activities Nikola Vucevic might have done before he was cleared to practice and play:
5.) Listen to all seven of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire epic fantasy novels
This would have been in preparation for the Season 3 premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones this past Sunday night (which the Magic had off), but since he obviously couldn’t watch the first two seasons due to his post-concussion symptoms, he could learn about the culture and history (not to mention all the characters) of Westeros from the source itself.
Bonus points if he listens in his native Serb-Croatian, but narrated by the finest voice actor of our lifetime, Dan Castellaneta.
4.) Practice his acting
Vucevic has said his dream job outside of basketball is to become an actor. What better time to get a head start on that dream than when he can’t read or watch television!
Hopefully, he’s already memorized some dialogue or a soliloquy or two (we suggest Trinculo’s monologue of the second act of The Tempest), so now all he has to do is act it out. He should refrain from the method approach, though (too extraneous and he’s probably barred from Brando-ing out in his contract), and just practice running dialogue with his visiting parents.
3.) Learn a new language
Since his parents were in town, maybe now is the time to start up with the Rosetta Stone.
Despite coming to America by way of Montenegro, Vucevic was raised in Belgium, where his father, Borislav, played professional basketball. There is no official language in Belgium, but a triumvirate of Dutch, French and German.
Since Vucevic already has his native Serb-Croatian down, and his English is solid after playing basketball at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, California for a year before another three at USC, maybe now is the time to start in on one of the three languages from the country where he spent most of his childhood.
We’d recommend French since Romance languages are easier, but then again we don’t speak any Eastern European languages, so maybe Dutch or German will come more naturally to the worldly Vucevic. Also, with French he could quote Baudelaire to the ladies and sound way introspective and deep!
2.) Write Dirk Nowitzki some fan mail
Dirk was the player Vucevic was most looking forward to playing when he was initially drafted by Philly in the summer of 2011. Nothing shows respect quite like a handwritten letter via snail mail. It’s a lot more personal than electronic mail or a Facebook friend request. Also, if he’s been hitting those Rosetta Stone discs hard enough, maybe he could write to Dirk in his native German.
1.) Follow his mom’s example and learn to cook some of those homespun meals himself This way, when his parents travel back to Montenegro, he can continue to eat the food he was raised on, prepared the way he likes. He’ll also have something to Skype with his mom about after talking basketball with his Old Man. Parents love having things in common with their kids. That’s why both my parents blog so much about the NBA.