It seemed to me, Robert Swift was a candle in the wind

Robert Swift has always bugged me out. I’ve seen literally thousands of basketball players come and go over the years, and the majority of them were imminently forgettable once they had disappeared from the big time.
Not this guy. He was, for lack of a better explanation, different. The world, and the sports world especially, needs guys like him.
There can’t be a better publicity photo in the history of the NBA, can there? I’m guessing Swift requested a “Sears family portrait-type vibe” and wouldn’t take no for an answer. That’s just how R. Swift was rollin’ by 2008. Call it frustration over three years of injuries, lack of playing time and bad tattoo decision after bad tattoo decision. Call if what happens to an 18 year old from Bakersfield, California being handed a pile of money and a whole mess of free time. Whatever you call it, the photographer was probably wise to relent and give the 7 foot, 270 pound guy his wish.

I mean, I’d love to know what that tiny little smirk is all about.

So much had changed since 2004, when Swift was just an 18 year old Super ultra Richie Cunningham looking motherfucker with a goofy smile and formidable acne. Big Rob was just a giant kid with a world of potential and couple million bucks in his pocket, on his way to conquering the basketball universe.

It all seemed so simple then.

I know, I know.  Big Swifty surely wasn’t the first small-town hayseed to discover the concept of growing his hair to his ass and turn his body into an ink factory. This kind of thing is your standard coming-of-age fare, to say the least.

Explaining this away is a whole other ballgame.

Me, I’m not gonna try. Sometimes words just won’t cut it.

Yeah, he spent a year with the Thunder, but his heart was no longer in it. Swift can recall the exact moment depicted in this photo, when he was being boxed the fuck out by Mark Madsen and thought to himself, “I don’t need this bullshit. I  fucking hate Oklahoma City. Why is this dude trying to hold my hand?”

True to his word, Swift left Oklahoma and never looked back. He’s ballin’ in Tokyo now, wearing a decidedly different hairstyle and an expression that says “I don’t wanna talk about it, so don’t fucking ask me”.

Dude looks bigger now, like he’s finally put on the weight he was always lacking to properly withstand the rigors of NBA post play. Maybe he’ll be back one day, long fiery mane and all.

One can only hope.

-John Hathwell


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