Whether hyperbole is truly warranted or not, Tony Parker, Joakim Noah, Ronny Turiaf and Kevin Séraphin have ushered in the Golden Age of French Hoops. So, being in Paris for the long Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to check out some Ligue Nationale de Basket Pro A action.
On the docket on Friday night, Paris-Levallois hosted Cholet, so we headed down to the Halle Georges Carpentier, which turned out to be a middling high school-esque gym with about 4,000 kids, teens and chaperones.
Ultras were in full force, if full force means a hot pocket of amped-up teens.
I had heard that Sean May and Jawad Williams, two stars of the 2005 North Carolina Tarheels national championship team, are the stars of the Paris-Levallois squad, but May was nowhere to be found. Instead, though, I found Duke’s Daniel Ewing, Michigan State’s Aloysius Anagonye and UVA’s Elton Brown, who played with Jawad and some local French balleurs.
But when I checked out the scoreboard up close before the game, one name stood out from the rest: Cholet’s #15, HO YOU FAT.
Wait, what? HO YOU FAT? Is that like He Hate Me, but more Def Comedy?
Was this a Metta World Peace situation? Nope, this is, by all accounts, the real name of the 6’8 power forward of French Guiana descent. Steeve Ho You Fat, double E and all. Does he get razzed for this constantly? Or is a surname just a surname, something over which you have no control?
After spending the majority of the game rooting for Ho You Fat — whose plus/minus was stellar, by the way, and who threw down a NASTY dunk in the first half — I finally got the close-up I wanted after Paris won by 8.
Black Friday has come and gone, but we’ve got a few weeks ’til Christmas in earnest: This is the must-have jersey of 2013. Good luck finding one.
Check out Ho You Fat’s les dunk reel:
I came home and tweeted about Steeve, but since I’m not big on Sports Twitter, I had to rely on others to spread the gospel of Ho You Fat.
Saw the He Hate Me of French hoops play tonight. Only much ruder, and also his real name: Steeve Ho You Fat! pic.twitter.com/ZWhEbYnD0s
— Slade Sohmer (@SladeHV) November 30, 2013
Sports Illustrated’s Luke Winn, my good friend from the Northwestern days, picked it up immediately with proper credit.
— Luke Winn (@lukewinn) November 30, 2013
As did my ’90s freshman year dorm neighbor Justin Kanew, who produced the forthcoming Welcome to the Jungle with Jean-Claude Van Damme:
— justin kanew (@justin_kanew) November 30, 2013
And then, Darren Rovell blew it up a bit more, albeit with a weaksauce via:
— darren rovell (@darrenrovell) November 30, 2013
And thus ends the saga of the best name I’ve ever seen printed on the back of a jersey. Steeve Ho You Fat, may you prosper in all you do.
Oh, and this game was fun as hell. The refs call nothing, the atmosphere is light, former American college stars! Go see French hoops.