MIAMI — There is an interesting interview with Andre Iguodala in a recent edition of the magazine, Food Republic, a slick-looking periodical about epicurean pursuits. It seems to be for those types who use the term, “foodie,” without irony and look to Anthony Bourdain as some sort of righteous hipster.
In other words, it’s a magazine not found at the corner newsstand.
Anyway, it’s not often that pro athletes from Philadelphia talk to slick-looking magazines about their personal chefs or healthy eating habits. Even though it’s not uncommon for non-baseball athletes to be progressive in the training room and training table, it’s decidedly a non-Philadelphian thing. Certainly the folks who shell out ridiculous amounts of cash for the tickets aren’t used to turning over the daily menu to the in-home chef.
Still, the interesting part of the interview wasn’t that Iguodala employs a personal chef or knew early on in his NBA career that his diet and performance were linked. That’s just smart and if anything, “smart” is a pretty good adjective to use when describing Iguodala. No, the interesting part was when Iguodala revealed he liked vegetables when he was a kid.
Really… a kid who liked vegetables?
Well, I was weird as a child. I would eat broccoli raw. I would eat cauliflower raw. I also used to love salads. So, yeah, I’ve always liked vegetables.
Maybe that’s not as weird as it sounds. After all, some kids actually like vegetables. In fact, I remember asking for and wanting to eat spinach specifically because of what it did for Popeye. However, I was quite upset to learn that spinach was not sold at the supermarket in cans and I couldn’t squeeze the middle of one, pop the top and have the spinach fly into my mouth as I wreaked havoc in the neighborhood.
Nope, things are never how they look on TV.
Thing is, kids rarely admit to liking vegetables even when they are all grown up. That is, as Iguodala explained, weird.
Then again, it doesn’t take a long time spent around the Philadelphia 76ers do understand that Iguodala is different. Actually, check out the picture on the right… if there was ever a photo that perfectly revealed the man, there it is. He’s serious, put together perfectly with a Burberry tie knotted just so, with the blue blazer revealing the proper amount of cuff from his shirt. No wrinkles, nothing rumpled and the creases exactly where they should be. Serious, professional, to the point.
And maybe that’s why after an excellent season of gritty, nuanced basketball, folks still haven’t warmed up to the Sixers’ best player. Even though he’s played for seven seasons with the Sixers after being drafted with the ninth-overall pick in 2004, he’s still an enigma—inscrutable even. Though he comes from Springfield, Ill. just like scruffy and popular ex-Phillies outfielder, Jayson Werth, he’s more akin to fellow Illinoisan, Donovan McNabb. At least it seems that way in how he’s perceived.
Case in point came during the postgame press conference at American Airlines Arena on Wednesday night after the Sixers had been eliminated by the Heat. When asked, point blank, if he wanted to return to the Sixers for the 2011-12 season, Iguodala gave a rather McNabbian response: