Ah, the fleeting glance of summer. The already fading warmth from your skin, the trips that seemed like yesterday receding into memory like the once frolicked in ocean tides. The outfits saved special to match the ancient frescos on narrow, cobblestone streets where one posed casually as if it were routine (*cough* Jimmy Butler), the foam party raves attended in Ibiza (James Harden), the beaches chilled upon, the sea-doos ripped, the joy of chillage—all these memories made will stave off the biting chill of winter and may we hold close the easy-breezy, best versions of ourselves that we got to know in these months, even as the NBA season begins and with it the upsets, disappointments, and probably dumb things said.
But don’t despair. The end of NBA summer vacation means the end of NBA Summer Vacation Watch, but with it come the accolades we’ve all been waiting for. Who takes the title of NBA SVW MVP 2018? Is it summer vacation’s favorite son, Patty Mills, who romps around in board shorts for three months straight and basically lives on the beach? Or will it be upstart sun and fun-seeker, JaVale McGee, who showed up all offseason in improbable locales, up for anything? Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid are also in the running, both serving looks and the same dedication to their seemingly never-ending vacations that they show for the game.
Read on, vacation watchers, for the last drops squeezed out of summer and for this year’s king of the beach.
In some ways, we all end where we begin. So it’s only fitting for SVW to come full circle back to Klay, doing circles on a camel in Qatar with Tracy McGrady. Summer Klay is made of different material, summer Klay loves to sit in the sun and bake. Soon regular season Klay will return and that smile will fade like a suntan, replaced by a face permanently fixed in the middle distance.
Rating: We’ll miss you summer Klay, but we’ll see you next season.
Leave it to Jimmy to say au revoir to the summer in literal Paris, France, with a dramatic black and white vignette and his back turned to the camera so we know where he is in case we somehow do not see the tower, right there, that he is dunking on. Do not feel sad for Jimmy. From solo gondola rides down the canals of Venice, to posing on the beaches of Mykonos, to casually strolling the rainy hills of Tuscany, to Paris—Jimmy had a summer. And whatever this year looks like for him, we can agree that his real season is summer.
Rating: Ne me quitte pas.
The Beard took a big yacht to Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, to stand majestically in the sea in a matching splatter ensemble, looking like Poseidon himself come up from the waves to say what's up.
Rating: I would not recommend this to literally anyone else, but maybe James Harden should go to one beach rave every summer, just to get his whole entire psyche this properly tuned for the rest of the year.
Well that only took all summer but behold, we’ve finally got Victor Oladipo right where we’ve always wanted him: on a beautiful beach in Mexico gazing out to the horizon and making his caption an inspirational quote from a song in Disney’s Moana.
Rating: You can exhale now, thwart is officially over.
Hoodie Melo was last season, this season it’s Ghutra Melo.
Rating: When your whole regular season is also summer vacation the offseason doesn’t quite mean the same, but you can still be an inspiration to the rest of us.
CP3 took every single Houston Rocket to the beach and, lord, we might be thanking him for the rest of our lives.
Rating: I dare any conspiracy theorist to deny this inspirational travel and subsequent beach landing ever happened.
Pau’s stay-cation continues, however he is using the whole entire country of Spain for his low-key jaunts instead of a trip to the local museum or sad public pool like the rest of us. Gasol has also used his perpetual travel to perfect the quintessential vacation photo pose of looking slightly back at the camera, face caught between a breathless smile, a relaxed little laugh, and a moment of awe.
Rating: Not to start any additional retirement rumors, but are we sure Pau has not already joined Manu in going off into the sunset, or in this case, Barcelona at dusk?
Finally, it happened to me right in front of my face and I just cannot hide it—Andre Drummond is on a beach somewhere (who cares where!!) with his top right the hell off, shorts way the hell on, sun shining down on sand spraying all over while he brings his rando tug-of-war team of whoever the heck these people are to victory.
Rating: The sand spraying wildly around in this video is the equivalent of a Microderm abrasion for your soul—close your eyes and enjoy it. But not for too long, you need to see the video.
As far as I can tell Pascal has dedicated his summer vacation to getting gigantic instead of relaxation, but here we have the two culminating in a very natural, extremely powerful way. There’s the ocean, there’s some palm trees, this can count as a vacation now.
Rating: A vacation AND a scientific breakthrough—congratulations to Siakam for discovering that the human body is capable not just of an 8-pack of abdominal muscles, but a 16-pack.
We go live to Gortat showing off the typical Polish vehicle of leisure, a souped-up part riding mower, part ATV, part civilian tank, best loved for the mileage it gets traversing rugged hills and ostensibly allowing its rider a moment of triumph wrapped in, I want to say, terror. Gortat is also in Florida for no good reason, AKA the only reason to ever really go there.
Rating: Comforted to know that when basketball’s behind him, Marcin has a retirement career of casual arms/car dealer in front of him.
Thon Maker and D.J. Wilson
A two-fer! A rare summer vacation occurrence as special as a July strawberry moon. Thon has been keeping a low profile all summer after pummeling the Philippine basketball team very early in the offseason, so it is very nice to see him perched atop the back of a speedboat with D.J. Wilson in Miami.
Rating: But was the Thon song playing?
Here we have the elder Bogdanović of the league floating in the Adriatic Sea. Overall this is looking a little too much like an alternate poster for The Meg for my liking, but Bojan seems to be having a good time.
Rating: Honestly this photo makes my heart rate speed up but for all the wrong reasons! The mysteries of the deep are not to be toyed with!
The younger Bogdanović, of no relation to the former, was leading a hike of chums through the hills of Montenegro, on a kind of Fellowship of the Ring journey complete with one real dwarf-lookin’ dude.
Rating: What is the Serbian film scene like and would they buy rights to this recreation?
Miles is having a dad of a summer, which mostly means trailing his beautiful family around, just happy to be along for the ride. Speaking of rides, earlier this summer C.J. rode a horse in a tank top and I don’t think I’ve had a bad day since.
Rating: 🎵 I can tell you my love for you will still be strong/After the dads of summer have gone 🎵
Just when you thought you’d get through an entire summer vacation without seeing what fresh hell a Plumlee is up to, there’s one of them working out at Burning Man.
Rating: Not only is this family cursed, but it insists on cursing itself anew at every opportunity.
But how’s this for a cranial cleanser after a Plumlee tried to go scorched earth on summer vacation—Maurice Harkless staring wistfully out from a balcony into a tropical pastel sunset, periphery lined with gently whispering palms and a majestic peak of unknown origin in the distance. Truly there is no better image to leave you with as a parting gift and tribute to this time we shared together.
Rating: Like a dusky purple sun sets into a calm and clear sea, summer vacations must come to an end and Maurice Harkless and I will be there, watching.
AND THE 2018 NBA SUMMER VACATION WATCH MVP IS…
Congratulations, JaVale! You did not take this title by simply hopping on a pool inflatable and cruising into it. You put in tireless training all offseason long by working your smile and suntan overtime in many an exotic locale and it’s paid off. From the airports of Qatar, to South Africa, to swimming with pigs and romping with iguanas in the Bahamas, and even your local mall—you really did it all. You are an example to us all when planning summers to come because you proved a vacation can be anything so long as a bucket hat and chill attitude are along for the ride.