This is just about it, my friends. From the gym equipment just out of focus in some of these vacation photos to the guys choosing to start their season training on a beach, the long and beautiful time we have known as NBA summer vacation is almost behind us. There can be an overwhelming urge to mourn the loss as you stare at your rapidly drying bathing suit, wondering, “Will I ever get to wear this thing again?”
But fear not.
For we are not quite at the end, and every grain of sand stuck and chafing in your shorts, every chance to submerge yourself even if it’s just via garden hose should be embraced. We will not go gently into that good regular season, but we will burn, sunburn, and rave like James Harden raved in Ibiza earlier this summer.
Pau Gasol has been on vacation. Since about, oh, mid June, Gasol has been ping-ponging his giant, shorts-clad frame around. From Italy’s Amalfi Coast to Big Sur on the California coast, the Catalonia region in Spain, making time for charity work in Bangladesh, then back to Spain, to wind the summer down in Bilbao and Basque Country. Does it count as vacation if you’re just enjoying the country that you’re from? Yes, especially when you live away from it most of the year, are enjoying it like a tourist would, and look as relaxed as Pau does. He could just be mowing his lawn smiling this serenely and it would count.
Rating: Bilbao baggin’ the last of the summer.
It’s been a quiet summer from DeAndre—understandably—since he moved away from the beach, which is why I am including this picture of him showing a lot of leg in a very summer tie-dye top. First, he’s in shorts, so, we’ll take what we can get. Second, why are his legs the size of mine? Third, he’s in Canada? At night??? The ultimate quest of Vacation Watch is always for truth, but this has left me with some cold questions I’m not sure I can or want to answer—is DeAndre OK?
Rating: 'Legs' by ZZ Top finally applicable to more than one person but me, anyway.
Our man of perpetual late summer vacation, Boogie Cousins, sits atop Montjuïc Castle in Barcelona, enjoying a moment. Clad in some excellent vacation shorts and straw hat, plus just like a regular T-shirt you or I might wear, this photo is in exact and perfect contrast to the goblins blowing up the comments on it. Note his reflective shades? A stylish growth opportunity to those who would wish an NBA player, or anyone, ill in the comments of their summer vacation photos to take a look at their own reflection—do you like what you see?
Rating: The power of Boogie sitting on top of an 18th century canon compels you to have a good summer.
Patty heard that there was some competition coming for his SVW title and he immediately got to work starting his season training the only way we here at the Watch know how to respect: running across the ocean floor in loud summer trunks and a headband, carrying a huge rock.
Rating: Bala Pat could have served simple hammock or sitting on the beach realness but he’s come to show that he’d rather lift rocks with no oxygen than lose at the thing most dear to him—summer vacations. All to say, a little intense!
Here we have Klay at the beach looking off in what I imagine is the direction someone told him China was in, wondering how he can reconcile that Klay with this Klay for the greatest Klay of them all. Klay is also sporting the late summer vacation season fav: a crewneck and shorts.
Rating: In a way we’re all Klay on the beach, waiting.
I can only assume Rudy is celebrating his birthday in tropical climes, given the silk pajama top carelessly unbuttoned, the tops of some blurred palm fronds visible in the background, and the rate at which he is chugging that cigar.
Rating: A nice reminder from Rudy that you can always bring the vacation to you by unbuttoning a few.
From this perfectly fine but a little bit sad shot of the London Bridge (did you know they keep the crown jewels up in one of those turrets? What an ancient and weird country) we know that Aldridge is 1) In London. 2) Alone. Maybe he was out for a solo stroll but prior to this there was a similar style photo of the Eiffel Tower, and a nice looking hotel pool. Nothing wrong with traveling solo, but would it have killed someone to offer to take a picture of Aldridge by one national monument this summer? Lonely planet, indeed!
Rating: Petition to start an NBA-sponsored buddy program where two guys are paired up by lottery if they don’t have vacation plans or anyone to go with.
Wayne Ellington, who will turn out to be a lost opportunity for every team that didn’t sign him this offseason, is having a quiet summer at home. Sea-Doos and safaris are all well and good but sometimes it’s nice to get a classic hose spraying situation going to show that summer vacation can happen anywhere, even right in your own backyard.
Rating: This column is now sponsored by Big Hose.
Happy to see the guy coming in hot to Toronto is still taking his sweet ass time with getting the most out of summer—sincerely. This could be almost anywhere, the Pacific coast of Mexico, where we last left Moose, or even off the beautiful shores of Lake Ontario. I’m going to project the latter, and predict that Monroe gets right into day-sailing, up to the point where coach has to gently but firmly sit him down and say, "Look, Greg, it can be the wind or the rock, but it can’t be both."
Rating: Why’s he so wet, though?
Speaking of safaris—we got another one! Middleton was at a game reserve in South Africa, sipping some local varietals or imported Hennessy on the back of a jeep, looking pretty relaxed. This has got everything you want out of a late-season vacation—he’s comfy, cozy, (a bit) boozy, and later, snoozy.
Rating: NBA Summer Vacation 2018 sponsored by Big Safari.
D’Angelo Russell, still in Greece, took in the menu at a sleepy seaside island town looking very relaxed himself in a tenderly wrinkled white T-shirt with the neck hole blown out probably from all the times he’s been yanking it off to jump in the ocean.
Rating: I’ll have what he’s having.
Lauri gave himself grief over his pose but buddy, we’re all friends here, and at least you did not pull an Aldridge and take a picture of just the monument. Need some intel on these water shoes he seems to be wearing, however.
Rating: A perfect opportunity to put the new, NBA summer vacation buddy program to the test!
Wade Baldwin IV
Here’s one I like to call Wayne Baldwin On A Bike, What’s Not To Like?
Rating: Don’t put your coconuts all in one basket!
I can’t tell if those are regular size cups or espresso cups given the size of the man holding two single-serve trays full of them, but one thing is for sure, Nurkić is ready to rip!
Rating: If an NBA player goes on summer vacation without wearing gym clothes, does it count as summer vacation?
When Luka Dončić gets behind the wheel of a boat you better clear your schedule and tell your family that you love them, 'cause you can never be sure when you’re coming back. That’s a little piece of summer vacation watch wisdom for you.
Rating: Dončić lives every day like his forearm tattoo sleeve—and eagle in space— and you should, too.