Hilarious NY Times feature on the Atlanta Hawks and their obsession with the children’s card game Uno. Here are some highlights:
“Uno,” forward Kent Bazemore said, “is always a thrill.”
Jeff Teague, the team’s starting point guard, brought a deck of Uno cards on a trip last season. He gradually recruited several teammates — Bazemore, center Al Horford and guards Kyle Korver and Dennis Schroder — to start participating in a regular game.
The conventional objective — first player to get rid of all his cards wins — was enough to keep them interested, but they soon wanted to spice things up. So Bazemore and Schroder hatched the idea of adding some of the more notorious cards from at least two other decks — all the Draw 2s, Wild Draw 4s, Reverses and Skips. The players referred to the extra cards as “heat.”
“I think everyone should play it that way, because it’s no-holds-barred,” Bazemore said. “It’s the WWE of Uno, man. It’s crazy.”
The games almost always continue from takeoff to landing, and each player is expected to be a full participant, with no excused absences. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who was a part of the group earlier this season, learned that lesson. After a couple of weeks spent honing his Uno expertise, teammates said, he wanted to take a break, if only for one flight.
“He said he was tired and wanted to rest,” Schroder said. “So we had to kick him out.”
Hardaway has not been invited back. Those who have stuck with the game cite the value of chemistry and camaraderie.
Mike Muscala, a reserve forward who sits near the Uno players, has grown accustomed to their histrionics. Muscala has no pressing desire to join the game, he said. He saw what happened to Hardaway, after all, and is aware of the group’s unusual demands.
“It’s a very tightknit group,” Muscala said. “Even if I wanted to play, they probably wouldn’t allow me. I’m sure there would be some sort of initiation.”
Schroder is responsible for the cards, stashing them in his designer backpack.
“Dennis takes real good care of the deck,” Bazemore said.
Patterson owns the current championship belt — a figurative one for now, although Bazemore has been tasked with ordering an actual belt online.
I haven’t played Uno in years but you are badly fucking fooled if you don’t think I’m playing no-holds-barred this Saturday night. Bout to be electric, dropping heat all up in my girlfriend’s grillpiece. Maybe a few of her friends, too.
I’m actually surprised this hadn’t been done before. Leave it to a bunch of NBA players to infinitely improve everyone’s favorite childhood card game. The fact that these guys take Uno so serious is so awesome. Bazemore definitely lays in bed searching Ebay for championship belts. Schroder sits in his locker polishing the decks and makes everyone use hand sanitizer before competing. Uno is these guys’ sanctuary – it’s their men’s club – and if you don’t pay your dues you get tossed to the fucking curb.
The article sheds so much light on what’s going on with Tim Hardaway Jr. After two years in New York, Hardaway looked like a consistent rotation player for most teams in the league. When he got to ATL, the best move was obviously to get in good with with the Uno crew. Teague, Korver, Horford – those are vets you want to roll with. So Junior practices every day and earns acceptance. He starts feeling good about his new team. He’s got a bunch of friends, they play Uno, they have fun. Little did he know that even after asking grown men permission to take a nap he would be banished for life. All because the group values “chemistry and camaraderie?” Lot of good that does Tim Hardaway. Now he’s stuck in the back of the plane by himself like a 6’6 Glansberg and rides the pine every game.
Only seven game appearances all year! Timmy’s getting bullied to the max. Coach Budenholzer probably drops Uno digs on him during substitutions, too. “SKIP Tim! Schroder, you’re in.”
I knew Cee-lo could ruin NBA careers, but Uno? Ruthless.
Shout-out to my fellow Bucknell Bison, the Minnesota Miracle Man, Mike Muscala, not even bothering to try to join this mess. It’s one thing for Kyle Korver to be apart of the crew. Korver’s got the lifetime hood pass on lock. But a 7-foot goofball like Muscala has way too much to lose. Gotta keep your head down and just keep cashing them checks. Well done, sir.
PS- Am I allowed to kinda hope this turns into another Wizards situation? Has the statute of limitations on that expired? My man Schroder’s got some Bobby Shmurda in him. Definitely a wildcard.