Kareem Abdul-Jabbar made waves when he changed his name. Brandon Jennings, on the other hand, is busy changing the game. On Saturday night, B-Jen dropped 55 points, breaking Kareem’s (then Lew Alcindor) Bucks rookie record of 51, falling only three shy of Wilt Chamberlain’s all-time rookie mark. So where are all the haters now? Where are the doubters who shook their heads when they heard Jennings wanted to exercise his right to seek gainful employment after high school? I’ve got 55 reasons why they should reconsider:
1. I don’t know if I made this clear, but he scored 55 points last night.
2. The moment he landed in Italy last year, Under Armour gave him $2 million.
3. I don’t remember being offered $2 million when I arrived at college.
4. Because he’s not friends with Joe Budden anymore.
5. Coming out of high school, Jrue Holiday was ranked as the best point guard by Scout.com. Jennings had a “rough” time in Europe, while Holiday got to start at UCLA and had a decent, yet inconsistent, year.
7. The Bucks drafted Jennings 10th. He’s averaging 26 points per game and starting. Holiday went 17th to the Sixers. He’s averaging 2.5 points and is riding the bench. Hmm…
8. His new hairstyle is cool.
9. I know, I know. His old hairstyle was even cooler.
10. While his peers were in college (what a waste of time…sheesh!), Jennings was getting paid a milli to play basketball in a foreign land. Life sucks.
11. Scott Skiles’ profanity-laced rants can sometimes sound like a foreign language. Old hat for B-Jen after playing abroad.
12. Italy is famous for spaghetti and caprese. College is famous Ramen noodles and Capri Suns.
13. Just to make sure we’re on the same page, he scored 55 points last night.
14. Because…just watch this:
14. Because he’s playing for a coach who’s smart enough to make him shut down his Twitter.
15. He avoided getting drafted by the Knicks. That’s a big win in my book.
16. He’s a lefty who’s lethal with his right as well, which should come in handy when hoisting the Rookie of the Year Trophy with both hands.
17. He might not look too bad in an All-Star jersey next year, if not this season.
18. By the time Rubio comes over here, B-Jen will have already won the point guard popularity contest in the Midwest.
19. He’s turned himself into a marketing powerhouse despite his past idiotic behavior.
20. If Under Armour can sell 10 pairs of shoes for every point Brandon scores this year, it might be enough to salvage their disastrous entrance into the sneaker market.
21. Isiah Thomas is out of his mind. We need a new one.
22. Wisconsin lost their ultra confident gunslinger (Favre.). They need a new one.
23. I’m running out of reasons. I need a new one.
24. Oh yeah, he scored 55 points last night. Second wind. Let’s go.
25. In Europe, Jennings learned more than he would have in his classes at Arizona. To be fair, though, I heard Finger Painting 101 is a toughie.
26. At Oak Hill, the opposing point guards doubled as the trumpet players for their high school bands. In Europe, he played against big, hairy men.
27. Would he really have gotten any better playing for an Arizona team that treats defense like a radical alternative to standing still?
28. As much as I love Stephen Curry, Brandon wins Round 1 55-14.
29. Brandon scored 29 in the third quarter alone. More than the entire Warriors team. Lord have mercy.
30. Brandon’s one of the few athletes who has used an international approach to boost his own relevance. So far, I’d say this is going far better than the David Beckham experience.
31. Brandon practiced twice daily in Europe. And people wonder why he has the legs to shoot 34 shots in 40 minutes and still chip in with 5 boards and 5 dimes.
32. My bet is–and I know it’s early–he won’t hit the proverbial rookie wall like his college comrades who shut it down last March.
33. In Jennings, the Bucks didn’t just draft a great point man. They drafted some easy buckets for Bogut and open shots for Michael Redd.
34. The only thing more impressive than scoring 55 is doing so in a close game that came down to the final possession. A possession that ended with Jennings snagging the game-sealing rebound.
35. Talent: check. Experience: check. Maturity: better than it would have been.
36. With Iverson on his way out (of the spotlight, of Memphis, of the NBA, of the public eye), somebody needs to step in as the new “pound-for-pound” argument guy.
37. In a game vs. Monta Ellis, he already proved that he is a better version of…guess who…Monta Ellis.
38. The similarities to Gary Payton are hard to ignore. Unfortunately, their mouths seem to be cut from the same loud ass cloth. We’ll work on that.
39. Daddy always told me: “If he scores 55 points, he must be pretty f***ing good.” Amen to that.
40. I bet the Bucks are pissed they missed out on James Harden, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio and Jordan Hill. Man, they really could have had something special.
41. Then again, they probably should have played it safe with Tyler Hansborough. Too bad they let him slip.
42. Brandon Jennings is scoring more per game than Joe Johnson, Danny Granger, Brandon Roy, Chris Paul, Gilbert Arenas, Ben Gordon, Rudy Gay, and Dwight Howard.
43. Even with all of that scoring, Jennings’ 5.1 assists per game is good for 22nd in the league.
44. Anybody who comes into his rookie season saying “I think I’ll average, like 18 assists a game” can play on my team any day.
45. Milwaukee’s cold. The blood in B-Jen’s veins is colder.
46. Jennings’ hair was already shaped like a cheesehead before he even arrived in Wisconsin. Destiny?
47. Born in Cali. Bred in Virginia. Molded in Europe. Now he’s a trailblazer playing for the Bucks against the Warriors. Dude comes full circle every time he steps on the court.
48. He’s become the cool new southpaw in the NBA. Young lefties now have someone to look up to (basketball wise, at least).
49. And at 169 pounds, so do skinny people.
50. His performance against the Warriors was so shocking to the national media that they forgot to write their stories on Don Nelson and the player he happened to be feuding with that night. Sorry, Stephen Jackson. Better luck next time.
51. His passport has almost as many tattoos as his body does.
52. Speaking of body ink, Jennings’ success may lock him up a large enough contract to get that “Young Money” tattoo removed once he turns 40. Well, maybe he can keep the “Money” half.
53. He actually made Scott Skiles smile which, according to Google Images, has never happened in the history of ever.
54. Here’s the shocking part: he didn’t even score in the first quarter.
55. Cinquante-cinq. 五十五. Fünfundfünfzig. πενήντα πέντε. Cincuenta y cinco. FIFTY FIVE.