One of my favorite parts of Summer League in Vegas was getting the chance to interview and befriend Matt Stainbrook.
Having attended Xavier, he became a twitter sensation during last season's NCAA tournament. "StainTrain," "The Big Yeti," and "Holy Shit Who Is That Guy?" were all popular nicknames.
Stainbrook does not look like your typical NBA player. Sure, he's 6'10", but even after losing 50 pounds in college, he's still not exactly your, um, svelte prototype.
But he is highly skilled, and highly skilled big men are hard to come by.
His journey has been one of perseverance and faith. "I went from getting one offer to Western Michigan coming out of high school, transferring from Western Michigan to the Big East and Xavier. Now I'm trying to make a professional team?" He shook his head and laughed, "I mean, it's just been a crazy story."
Matt is known for his off-court exploits perhaps more so than his on court achievements. A recent ESPN story chronicled his side-job as an Uber driver.
He also gained a healthy amount of accolades when he gave his basketball scholarship to his younger brother, who was a walk-on on the team.
"Being able to experience college for two years—especially college basketball with my brother—was an awesome experience. And when I could help him out in any way, I'd gladly do it," he said smiling. "I got to go to Brazil with him, as a team. We played at the Staples Center in the sweet sixteen. We were in Madison Square Garden. So those are all memories that, you know, when I look back and hopefully I'm telling my kids and his kids and stuff like that, it'll be like, 'Yeah! That was really a cool experience.'"
As far as his future with the Warriors, he recognizes that nothing is set, while also pledging to "continue basketball no matter what. Whether it's in the NBA, overseas, what so, you know, D League, whatever. I want basketball to be a career for as long as I can. And then, you know, after that, I'll go from there."
Matt wears prescription goggles on the court, and I asked him whether he had ever considered trademarking them.
"There's 'The Brow,' and 'The Beard,'" I said.
"You know what, I should!" he said. "You know—"
"You should jump on that man."
"I really need to, because it's starting to become a trademark. I think people, people don't necessarily always notice me cuz I'm not wearing goggles out in public so they don't understand that."
"Well that's good. That's like a 'Clark Kent' situation."
"Exactly! I can sort of sometimes weasel my way through, but yeah. I might need to make some T shirts and get that trademarked."
"You should man! You'll make some money!"
Whatever the future holds for Matt Stainbrook, you can be sure that he'll make the most of it. And I, for one, will be rooting for him.