How are Win Butler’s Basketball Skills?
Last month Grantland alerted you to the existence of Rock the Court, a charity basketball tournament that — in the grand tradition of MTV’s Rock N Jock series — featured both NBA players and rock musicians. Well, that tournament went down in Toronto a few weeks back and, thanks to the guys at Basketball Jones, crisp video footage is finally available. The clip, above, features appearances from pros like Spencer Hawes and Nick Collison, plus amusing banter. But the star here is Arcade Fire front man Win Butler, a noted basketball junkie who has long been rumored to have the best game in indie-rock. Finally, evidence is available for analysis.
First thing’s first: Win knows how to dress for the court. The cut-off T-shirt, the headband holding his obligatory weird haircut in place, the black socks — before even touching a ball, our man has already accomplished a lot out there. But it’s not all sizzle. Observe how he makes a difficult catch, then spins toward the basket to convert a tough, head-down lay-up in traffic. Watch him on the fast break, looking to make a fundamentally sound bounce pass to a streaking teammate. Take careful notes on how he positions himself perfectly on defense, whether moving his feet to deny an angle or to leap majestically in the air for a blocked shot. And, best of all, check out that jumper. You’d think a guy that big wouldn’t have bothered to develop a decent J, but Win’s stroke is as enchanting as his singing voice. And while his team lost in the finals, Butler did defeat the San Antonio Spurs’ Matt Bonner in a shooting contest. Afterward, a dazed Bonner simply explains, “I got beat in a three point shootout by a musician.” Don’t feel so bad, Matt. Clearly, Win Butler is the truth.