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Thread: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

  1. #1

    Default SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...5/?eref=sircrc

    A Jermaine Question

    While the fast NBA company he used to keep goes for gold in Beijing, Jermaine O'Neal battles back from injuries. Can he recover enough to turn his new team, Toronto, into a contender?


    After six All-Star years, two knee injuries -- and no rings -- in Indiana, O'Neal was losing his love for the game.

    The adolescent squeals, the squeaking sneakers, the timeout horns that made the gym sound like a clogged Manhattan intersection -- this was the grating ambience in which Jermaine O'Neal worked late last month. While a dozen of his fellow NBA luminaries were preparing to play in the Beijing Games, he was on a court in Las Vegas, separated by a curtain from an AAU tournament. For O'Neal there was no forgetting how far he stood from his goal of rejoining the league's elite -- and of elevating his new team, the Toronto Raptors, into a title contender.

    Five years ago O'Neal was a member of USA Basketball's core group of players who qualified for the Athens Olympics; the following season he finished third in the MVP balloting, averaging 20.1 points and 10.0 rebounds to lead the young Indiana Pacers to the NBA's best record (61-21). But a partially torn ligament in his left knee kept him out of the 2004 Games. Now, two months from his 30th birthday, the 6' 11" O'Neal has spent the most important summer of his 12-year career rehabbing from the persistent knee injuries that threaten his basketball future.

    "The fact is, I played on one leg for two years," says O'Neal, whose averages shrank to 13.6 points and 6.7 rebounds in 42 games last season after he reinjured his knee in 2006-07. "You hear people say that you slowed down, that you don't have it anymore -- but you know that you still have it. All the naysayers who are saying that I lost a step, they'll get a full dosage of me next year."

    If O'Neal can approach the form that made him a six-time All-Star, his trade to Toronto could prove to be the most significant off-season move in the East. True, Philadelphia signed free-agent power forward Elton Brand last month, but the 76ers still lack shooting and experience. The Raptors, on the other hand, are coming off two straight postseason appearances and retain All-Star power forward (not to mention U.S. Olympian) Chris Bosh, emerging point guard José Calderón and a slew of outside threats. They view O'Neal -- the marquee name in the six-player trade that sent point guard T.J. Ford, center Rasho Nesterovic, forward Maceo Baston and first-round draft pick Roy Hibbert to Indiana last month -- as the piece that could allow them to challenge the Boston Celtics.

    O'Neal didn't come cheap: He has two years and $44.4 million remaining on his contract. But after missing an average of 29.5 games over the last four years, he has accumulated relatively low NBA mileage. "This is a chance for Jermaine to really make a statement," says Raptors president and general manager Bryan Colangelo, whose team's doctors examined O'Neal on July 8 and declared him healthy. "He is extremely motivated right now to answer any questions about his health, his attitude and who he is as a basketball player. I can't think of a better mental or emotional state to find a player in."

    O'Neal was on the block because his career has been in decline since 2005. "I couldn't have dreamed in my worst nightmare that I wouldn't have won a championship by now and that the team we had would go into the dumps," he says. But after Pacers forward Ron Artest charged into the stands in Detroit on Nov. 19, 2004, escalating a brawl, O'Neal punched a fan on the court, earning a 15-game suspension. Subsequent off-court arrests turned the Pacers into the East's version of the Jail Blazers and turned off fans: Attendance dwindled each year, falling to last in the NBA (12,221) in 2007-08.

    As the pacers suffered their second straight losing season, O'Neal's relationship with team president Larry Bird soured. Worried that he was losing his love for the game, O'Neal reached a resolution with the Pacers at the end of last season: It was time for him to go. "I had the best conversation I've had with Larry in five years," says O'Neal. "It was really civil, really logical.... I don't think that we hated each other. I just think so much had happened that it made the job difficult, and the only way for that team to move forward was to move me."

    "You hate to [trade] your best player," says Bird. "But he was at the point where he thought a change of scenery would help him."

    O'Neal returned to his Indianapolis mansion and packed his things. "We boxed up all of my stuff, and the clothes I didn't want we took to the Salvation Army," he says, which must have been a record day for the store's big-and-tall section. Then he headed to Vegas, his new off-season home, to dedicate himself to the hard work of reinvigorating his health as well as his career.

    Before he could make this last stand, O'Neal first had to learn how to stand one-legged on a foam pad and catch a tennis ball -- a simple lesson in helping him regain the balance he had lost over the previous two seasons. Many stars with guaranteed eight-figure contracts might not have gone to such humbling lengths. Not only that, "Jermaine was bad at it," says Joe Abunassar, whose Impact Basketball training center in Las Vegas serves as an off-season camp for dozens of NBA stars. "Still he kept with it. We didn't touch a [basketball] for the first month, but he was here to work every day."

    Since beginning his summer regimen on May 10 alongside scores of collegians who were preparing with Abunassar for the draft, O'Neal has strengthened his hamstrings and glutes to radically improve his jumping technique and take pressure off the left knee. (He plans to wear a brace next season to prevent hyperextensions, which can lead to painful bone bruises.) He has increased the strength of his torso and legs by doing crunches and balancing exercises while shedding 10 pounds to get down to his current weight of 260 -- no small thanks to nutritionist Tony Falce. "Because he has type A blood, he stays away from red meat," says Falce. "No potatoes, no tomatoes, but he can have rice, egg whites, soybeans and broccoli."

    Falce communicates with O'Neal's chef to keep their client from dwelling on the don'ts. But O'Neal did notice he was eating too much fish. "Every single day," he says. "Everything started to taste really fishy." Falce has since shifted him to entrees of chicken and turkey.

    In order to complement the 6' 10" Bosh in Toronto, O'Neal will shift to center, where his knack for rebounding, drawing charges and altering shots -- he averaged at least two blocks in each of his eight seasons in Indiana -- will strengthen the Raptors' flimsy defense. At the other end O'Neal and Bosh are versatile enough to take turns playing high or low. Together they'll elevate 7-foot Andrea Bargnani, the No. 1 pick of the 2006 draft, who has struggled in his first two seasons but should thrive as the defense focuses on O'Neal and Bosh.

    O'Neal's impending arrival has already prompted questions about whether Bosh, 24, should surrender his leadership of the Raptors. "I'm not brought in to be the new face of the team; I'm brought in to take the team to the next level," says O'Neal. "It's Chris's team, and I'm not coming in to step on his feet or [coach] Sam Mitchell's feet. But I'm not just trying to fit in, either. I'm trying to be dominant."

    Few go to Vegas to recuperate; usually they have to recover from a long, dissolute weekend there. But O'Neal believes the investment he's making in himself this summer isn't a gamble. "People who want it to be easy are people who haven't succeeded in life," he says. "Now I'm in a position where I can play pain-free -- and I'm two months away from training camp. It's going to really be scary." In a good way, he means.

    :stirring the pot:

  2. #2

    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Jermaine was always great at talking, no doubt about that.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    well I heard this before.

  4. #4

    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Attention, Skaut Ech:

    O'Neal returned to his Indianapolis mansion and packed his things. "We boxed up all of my stuff, and the clothes I didn't want we took to the Salvation Army," he says, which must have been a record day for the store's big-and-tall section.

    Now you know where to shop!




    Best of luck Jermaine. But we've got the fastest player in the floor!
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...5/?eref=sircrc


    But O'Neal did notice he was eating too much fish. "Every single day," he says. "Everything started to taste really fishy." In :stirring the pot:
    How does his wife feel about this comment?

  6. #6
    White and Nerdy Anthem's Avatar
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Before he could make this last stand, O'Neal first had to learn how to stand one-legged on a foam pad and catch a tennis ball -- a simple lesson in helping him regain the balance he had lost over the previous two seasons. Many stars with guaranteed eight-figure contracts might not have gone to such humbling lengths. Not only that, "Jermaine was bad at it," says Joe Abunassar, whose Impact Basketball training center in Las Vegas serves as an off-season camp for dozens of NBA stars. "Still he kept with it. We didn't touch a [basketball] for the first month, but he was here to work every day."
    I'm trying to imagine this exercise. Do you do it on the hurt leg or the healthy leg? Both? Alternating?

    Interesting article. We'll see what happens in the season.
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Broken record. And by the way. Why couldn't he do this type of conditioning while he was in Indiana? If he plays in more than 60 games next season I'll be surprised.
    Turn out the lights, this party's over!

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    You'll be surprised; I'll be pissed. He acts like he got a raw deal here, but he was dogging it, and you could tell.

    Anthem, I imagine you probably do it on both feet. Doesn't seem like it would be too hard to accomplish, though...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacers View Post
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    Anthem, I imagine you probably do it on both feet. Doesn't seem like it would be too hard to accomplish, though...

    TWSS

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Why is JO a jerk for being the same guy as Rik Smits? Smits had foot issues that limited his output and had him talking retirement off and on. Then he went to Boston, got a "miracle" cure to get the scar tissue broken up and suddenly played great again.

    Now imagine if the fans were griping in 97 enough to get Rik traded and he did it with another team.


    Oh, and just exactly who has been the Chris Bosh to JO here in Indy? Exactly.


    Injured player with enough rehab time and treatment to start to really get better, paired with a strong complimentary player that makes him virtually the 2nd fiddle (and does it without being a total nutjob like Artest). Sounds like a formula for success to me.


    This is just like the Toronto fans being PO'd if Ford doesn't flop. What's wrong with both players going 75+ games and playing well, plus having Hibbert show positive signs his rookie year.
    Last edited by Naptown_Seth; 08-20-2008 at 01:59 PM.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Pacers View Post
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    Anthem, I imagine you probably do it on both feet. Doesn't seem like it would be too hard to accomplish, though...
    Walking isn't too hard to accomplish when you're healthy either.

    If one leg overcompensates for an injury to the other, your pathways connecting the brain and the injured leg will become less effective. Balancing on it, and doing just that wouldn't be too hard, but when you're concentrating on something else (catching a ball) it really helps reconnect those pathways.

    I don't understand why this is just happening now though. If it's been two years, why didn't this sort of rehab take place a long time ago? It's not like trainers keep secrets on rehab. Between conferences and research papers pretty much all of them are in the know.

    I've said it for years, when JO bulked up, he did it the wrong way. You can't add weight to the top of your body and expect the bottom half to work properly.

  12. #12

    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    I read the article yesterday and decided against posting a thread about it here because frankly I'm beyond ready to move past the JO Pacers era.

    It's not that I have anything against him...just that...

    I'm kinda taking the same stance as "Pacers" in that I feel like JO didn't get a raw deal while here. In fact, I'm more inclined to believe the olive branch was very well extended to him. I mean, can you blame TPTB for saying, "Look, we're paying you over $13M/per year. If you have to perform on one leg then that's what you do!"

    I've read all the sob stories about how he played on one leg for the last 2-years and to a degree I sympathize with him, but here's where I draw the line...

    It was his choice NOT to have surgery sooner, and it was his choice to come back so soon after finally having the surgery done over the summer (2007) instead of sitting back and properly going through rehab in the first place.

    Oh, I understand the catch 22...damned if he does have the surgery because it would only act to reinforce the notion that he's "injury prone"...and damed if he doesn't have the surgery and/or chooses to sit out longer after surgery and go through rehab instead of playing when the season began because it would have painted him as being weak, i.e., a player who's by all accounts nursing an injury or simply can't play through pain. Regardless of one's opinion on the matter, I think player and mgmt all played this issue wrong through and through.

    I try never to question JO's heart because I know he loves the game very much and he truly wants to win, but I do question his integrity now. I mean, why couldn't he have placed this same sense of urgency and importance for improving the strength and conditioning of his injured knee last year - or even this year! - while w/the Pacers? Why did it take him going to another team before he put forth this level of intensity and renewed commitment especially for a franchise he claims did good things for him? I think it was Peck who started a thread whereby posters was suppose to vent their frustrations concerning all things post-Artest/JO trades, but when articles like this one keep popping up where I read less and less of JO (or Artest even) taking responsibility for things that went wrong during their tenures but instead there's all this chest thumping......

    I wish JO well, but part of me will be tic'd off if he does come back to "dominate", as he puts it, even if it's only his stats that increase and the Raptors still fall short of post-season play. Why? Because the renewed JO could have still been playing here instead of somewhere else. The flipside of this, however, is I'm not sure if I could have dealt with two more years of +/-.500 seasons where we're down to the final game or two before knowing if the Pacers make the post-season. Thus, the truth of the matter is JO had to be moved in order for this team to start moving forward.

    I guess what it comes down to for me is I'm tired of reading about this guy's lone quest to dominate elsewhere. If he was as loyal to the Pacers fans and the franchise as he once so claimed he could have re-invented himself here. That above all else is what naws at me...that he couldn't be as loyal to us as we (or some of us anyway) were to him.

    'Nuff Said.

    (Sidenote: I can move forward now...)
    Last edited by NuffSaid; 08-20-2008 at 04:07 PM.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Why is JO a jerk for being the same guy as Rik Smits? Smits had foot issues that limited his output and had him talking retirement off and on. Then he went to Boston, got a "miracle" cure to get the scar tissue broken up and suddenly played great again.
    Thus the reason Rik holds about the same spot in my heart as JO. Well, that and his astonishing inability to rebound at 7-4.
    The best exercise of the human heart is reaching down and picking someone else up.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    I thought maybe this article was from any of the last 4 years that he was with the Pacers. I had to double check the date to make sure.

    I could have wrote this article and not even talked to JO.

    -I'm a team player
    -I'm going to dominate
    -I'm 100% healthy
    -I've really been training hard in the offseason

    Only thing missing is that he doesn't want to play centre. That will be for next year or the year after.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by NuffSaid View Post
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    I read the article yesterday and decided against posting a thread about it here because frankly I'm beyond ready to move past the JO Pacers era.

    It's not that I have anything against him...just that...

    I'm kinda taking the same stance as "Pacers" in that I feel like JO didn't get a raw deal while here. In fact, I'm more inclined to believe the olive branch was very well extended to him. I mean, can you blame TPTB for saying, "Look, we're paying you over $13M/per year. If you have to perform on one leg then that's what you do!"

    I've read all the sob stories about how he played on one leg for the last 2-years and to a degree I sympathize with him, but here's where I draw the line...

    It was his choice NOT to have surgery sooner, and it was his choice to come back so soon after finally having the surgery done over the summer (2007) instead of sitting back and properly going through rehab in the first place.

    Oh, I understand the catch 22...damned if he does have the surgery because it would only act to reinforce the notion that he's "injury prone"...and damed if he doesn't have the surgery and/or chooses to sit out longer after surgery and go through rehab instead of playing when the season began because it would have painted him as being weak, i.e., a player who's by all accounts nursing an injury or simply can't play through pain. Regardless of one's opinion on the matter, I think player and mgmt all played this issue wrong through and through.

    I try never to question JO's heart because I know he loves the game very much and he truly wants to win, but I do question his integrity now. I mean, why couldn't he have placed this same sense of urgency and importance for improving the strength and conditioning of his injured knee last year - or even this year! - while w/the Pacers? Why did it take him going to another team before he put forth this level of intensity and renewed commitment especially for a franchise he claims did good things for him? I think it was Peck who started a thread whereby posters was suppose to vent their frustrations concerning all things post-Artest/JO trades, but when articles like this one keep popping up where I read less and less of JO (or Artest even) taking responsibility for things that went wrong during their tenures but instead there's all this chest thumping......

    I wish JO well, but part of me will be tic'd off if he does come back to "dominate", as he puts it, even if it's only his stats that increase and the Raptors still fall short of post-season play. Why? Because the renewed JO could have been still playing here instead of somewhere else. The flipside of this, however, is I'm not sure if I could have dealt with two more years of +/-.500 seasons where we're down to the final game or two before knowing if the Pacers make the post-season. Thus, the truth of the matter is JO had to be moved in order for this team to start moving forward.
    I guess what it comes down to for me is I'm tired of reading about this guy's lone quest to dominate elsewhere. If he was as loyal to the Pacers fans and the franchise as he once so claimed he could have re-invented himself here. That above all else is what naws at me...that he couldn't be as loyal to us as we (or some of us anyway) were to him.

    'Nuff Said.

    (Sidenote: I can move forward now...)

    The highlighted part is the most important thing I've read in this entire thread.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    I can't fathom stating that Jermaine to Toronto is bigger than Brand to Philly.
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    I can't fathom stating that Jermaine to Toronto is bigger than Brand to Philly.
    Ya, but JO is a 100% healthy/team player who is going to dominate. So you have to consider that.

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Brand doesn't have Chris Bosh along his side.

    I'm happy that I get to see both Raptors and Pacers moving in good directions. Both teams will be in the playoffs this upcoming season, I'm predicting them playing each other in the 1st round, with the Pacers exiting
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Kegboy View Post
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    I can't fathom stating that Jermaine to Toronto is bigger than Brand to Philly.
    i can't fathom you believing 6'8" is bigger than 6'11"
    This is the darkest timeline.

  20. #20

    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Naptown_Seth View Post
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    Why is JO a jerk for being the same guy as Rik Smits? Smits had foot issues that limited his output and had him talking retirement off and on. Then he went to Boston, got a "miracle" cure to get the scar tissue broken up and suddenly played great again.

    Now imagine if the fans were griping in 97 enough to get Rik traded and he did it with another team.


    Oh, and just exactly who has been the Chris Bosh to JO here in Indy? Exactly.


    Injured player with enough rehab time and treatment to start to really get better, paired with a strong complimentary player that makes him virtually the 2nd fiddle (and does it without being a total nutjob like Artest). Sounds like a formula for success to me.


    This is just like the Toronto fans being PO'd if Ford doesn't flop. What's wrong with both players going 75+ games and playing well, plus having Hibbert show positive signs his rookie year.
    Yeah man. I think it is a "be true to your school" mentality. Anyone who leaves is automatically the villain. I hope JO is the MVP next year, why not? Let him put up 35/20, I am all for it.

    Toronto is my 2nd favorite team going into next season, I also am very intrigued in how Houston will do with Ron, but that is more of a morbid fascination, like watching Max X on tv.

    I am considering getting some kinda of direct tv or cable NBA package to be able to watch all the games. In fact if anyone has any advice on what the best packages are, that would be awesome.

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    I really hope for the best with Jermaine. If he is going to succeed anywhere, it's going to be Toronto. He needs another big man to take the effort and load he had to put in (especially on offense), something that Brad Miller did. I think he'll have a good year.

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    I have never been a fan of JO, and REALLY haven't been a fan the past few years. The guy sits on the bench in a suit and tie for half a season, and when he is in there you can tell he's dogging it. I don't care if the Pacers signed the Fever, if they're out there busting their ***, I'll cheer for them. JO didn't, so I didn't. I don't know for sure, but I don't think you can say the same about TJ. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong. And hell, if nobody knows, TJ will show it in a few months.

    JO wanted out a long time ago. You could tell he was dragging the team down because we would play better without him.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by pacertom View Post
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    (He plans to wear a brace next season to prevent hyperextensions, which can lead to painful bone bruises.)
    For his sake I hope it's better than this one was.......
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  24. #24

    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    JO is gone and out of my thinking. To me it seems like it was eons ago he was a Pacer. Maybe b/c of all DNP he racked up last season, or all the talk about Ford, Rasho, Hibbert, Jack and Rush. Whatever the reason or reasons, I'm glad he's gone, so the Pacers can move on now. He's gone, and I'll wish him luck, as I did Artest, except against the Pacers.

    At the same time I've heard all this JO talk b4, so I'm not impressed with his comments. I couldn't tell you how Artest did last season as I wasn't interested, and the same applies to JO. He's not a Pacer any longer, and the Pacer franchise moves on w/o him and his contract.

    I did find it funny in the article that JO never mentioned playing center for his new team. He never had a problem voicing his opinion about it as a Pacer. Let's see how long the honeymoon lasts.

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    Default Re: SI Interview: A Jermaine Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Oneal07 View Post
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    I'm happy that I get to see both Raptors and Pacers moving in good directions. Both teams will be in the playoffs this upcoming season, I'm predicting them playing each other in the 1st round...
    I think the chances of this happening are very, very slim... but I would be elated. Like, fly back to Indiana and buy from scalpers elated.

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