Back to School: Kris Humphries

It’s best for Kris Humphries to put down the celebrity gossip magazines and crack open something a little more intellectual.

Prerequisite reading: Despite his robust price tag and his mainstream status thanks to a certain sham marriage to a certain sham “celebrity,” Kris Humphries is not the star of the Brooklyn Nets (did this uber-popular Nets site just refer to Hump as the team’s most “famous” player?). When asked about Hump’s placement in the offensive pecking order for the team, LeBron James reportedly responded, “not one, not two, not three, not four …” (*this report can’t be verified by a link anywhere, so don’t look). With a starting line-up and bench filled with offensive stars who can score in a variety of ways, Hump’s role this year is to fill in the gaps – especially on the glass and defensively in the blocks. As for every other aspect of basketball, he just needs to do what is requested of him by his teammates.

Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree follows the relationship of a tree and a boy from childhood to old age. Throughout the story, the boy comes back to the tree with requests  – branches to swing on, shade to sit in, apples to eat. Throughout the story, the tree always obliges, until he is nothing left but a stump to sit on, and even then, when the boy/old man needs a place to sit, the tree is there.

Kris Humphries needs to be that tree (this is not a joke about his intelligence). When aligned with Brook Lopez, Hump needs to focus on rebounding and help defense, nothing more. If the Nets put Hump on the floor with Reggie Evans, he can focus on his offensive game. If the defense keeps collapsing on the paint and DWill has a pick-and-pop flow going with Humphries, the PF-turned-reality star better connect on those 12-15 footers. If Hump can’t be flexible and selfless, he will be relegated to the bench, regardless of his contract and status, because the Nets potentially have a number of other guys in Evans, Mizra Teletovic and Andray Blatche ready to step in if Hump regresses to the player he was prior to Avery Johnson’s arrival.

Film Studies: The Art of Warfare in Urban Environments. Course description: Few players mastered the art of physicality, intimidation and the occasional mid-range jumper like Charles Oakley. Oakley was the defensive enforcer and overall glue that helped make the Knicks into perennial contenders in the early-to-mid-1990s. In terms of size and length, Humphries and Oak are very similar – both range about 6’8” to 6’9” depending on the listing and about 230 lbs. Both have great basketball bodies which more than makes up for the fact that they’re a little “short” for the PF position. Humphries comes across as a bit more athletic – pulling in a higher percentage of rebounds over his career than Oakley, as well as registering a higher block percentage. And yet, Oakley is indisputably known as the smarter, more imposing player. Humphries needs to channel his inner Oak, and the best way for him to do that is to watch and mirror all the dirty business Oakley was able to accomplish against superstar teams like the Bulls, the Cavs, the Hawks, etc.

Elective: Crisis Management in the Age of New Media. Course description: I’ll admit that even I thought it was a bit humorous when NBA fans were booing Humphries wherever he went last season, and while Hump always managed to compose himself on the court, he still hasn’t exactly figured out how not to be an object of scorn away from the court. Here’s a clue, don’t give an interview with a media outlet called “Hollywood Life” about wanting to be an Olympian.  Don’t spend your free time constantly modeling for magazines like GQ. And obviously, don’t put your love life out on the open market as part of a reality show. In the world of PR, Humphries is in desperate need of some crisis management training. He needs to get ahead of the stories being pumped out about him, and the best way to do that is to keep himself away from the public eye. In this age of Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, 24 hours, The Soup, Ryan Seacrest, etc. etc. etc., everything you do is going to be consumed by people who are just looking to destroy you. You  made your mistake, now don’t go compounding it by being oblivious to the cold harsh realities that people only care about you to mock you.