The Rhino Diaries

January 15, 2007

Yo, what's the deal peoples??

It's the Rhino back to give you info on what's been going down these days and tell you some things that interest me in the 'Sota. You know ... That's Minnesota. But I like to call it "The 'Sota." Cool?

Let's start with my boy Randy Foye: He has been doing warm up drills with us and looks pretty good, so it seems like he will be back with us full-time very soon. As for the team, we had a good practice Monday getting ready for Golden State on Tuesday, and then it's back on the road for games against Phoenix, Denver and Golden State again. It was a tough practice ... We did a lot of running due to a day off the day before.

The Rhino claims he can take anybody in NBA JAM.
But enough about ball. I'm gonna take a different direction and talk about some of the things I do on a day off or after an early practice: First of all, I love going to eat breakfast late after getting a lift on an off day, so I go to a place called Uptown Diner. Then I may stop and get a manicure or pedicure (I know a lot of you may be thinking, "Why, Rhino?" Trust me ... When your feet get stepped on or hit and your nails aren't cut down, you can be in a lot of pain). It's very relaxing. For real.

Now, I may walk into a Best Buy or a FYE and look at, and then purchase some CDs. From there, I look to go home and relax, and some things that help me are old school video games like NBA JAM, Mario Kart, and the original Mario Brothers. But if I want to entertain, I'll bring out the Nintendo Wii.

Some of the guys are scared to see me in the games, especially Ryan Gomes, who took three losses in NBA JAM, but if you ask him, they don't count. Other guys from the team want to challenge me. I'll let you know what I beat them by next time.

Peace y'all from the Rhino.



November 30, 2007
Hey peoples, I'm baaaaaaack.

Yes, the Rhino is in the building. Just wanna get you guys caught up in the mix with what's been going with myself and my teammates. From a more inside perspective, that is. Let's get this out of the way, then we can talk about some more interesting stuff later.

Well as you know I played in the game in London against the Celtics, but we took our first lost of the preseason. Things were going OK in the preseason, but I was focused on getting in game shape (still recovering from the sprained ankle).

Al Jefferson calls the Rhino "Big Dukie," inspired by a Kid N Play flick. Yup.
The season kicked off and we as a team were feeling really good. The season opener against Denver at home was a great atmosphere for us. We came out tough, and the crowd loved it. It looked as if we were gonna come out with a win, but we couldn't pull it out against the Nuggets. But we did show everyone that we are fighters, and that being young doesn't matter ... We are going to battle.

Every game from then on we have battled and battled hard, but have fallen short in N.Y., L.A., and Sacramento (among others). Speaking of Sac, I injured my same ankle again during that road game at ARCO Arena on November 10th. So, I had to sit out my first game in the NBA against who else but the Kings at home. Even though I was bumbed about not playing, I felt great because we won our first game. Rashad and Al had great games, and both are having real great season so far.

I was able to come back against the Wizards and play limited minutes, but made an impact for us. I felt a lil' shaky, and I felt like that up until recently in the game against the Hornets. In New Orleans, I felt great for the first time in a while and we won the game. Guys were so happy, joking the whole time on the plane making fun of each other. The things they say that may seem weird to you, though.

Example: Corey said something -- I forgot what was said -- but someone came out to say he sounded and looked like Norbit. Me and Al have nicknames for each other too, and I called him Big Perm off the movie "Friday," played by Faison Love, cuz his hair looks like he has a perm in it. He calls me Big Dukie, not because of anything nasty with that word, just because there was a guy in "Kid N Play's House Party 3" that was big and buff and went by the name Big Dukie.

Well we are pretty much caught up ... Hope you enjoyed the diary!

Peace,

Your Boy the Rhino



Craig is a game-time decision on Wednesday afternoon.

Preseason, 2007
After a colorful trip through beautiful Istanbul, Craig Smith and his teammates hopped a plane to London, England, where they'll battle Kevin Garnett's Boston Celtics on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

But before we get there ... We've been keeping tabs on the team from here in Minneapolis, thanks in no small part to our favorite web correspondent's "Rhino Diaries." In his latest entry, describes Corey Brewer losing his passport, the progress of the Rhino's ankle and details how a chain-smoking British woman ended up kissing his cheek.

What's the deal, Craig?


ENTRY NO. 4
What's goin' on my peoples? I, C. Smith, am back for the fourth blog. Last I checked I was talking about the game with us winning and then heading to London. Here's how the schedule broke down: So the game we had against Efes Pilsen was at 9:00 p.m., and we got back to the hotel by 1:00 a.m. but had to have our bags packed and sent to our training room by 2:00 a.m. and be on the bus by 6:00 a.m.

So, we are at the airport, and Ricky Davis noticed that the plane was here and was wondering what were we waiting on. We found that one of our favorite rookies, Corey Brewer, misplaced his passport (worst feeling ever, I would imagine). But he found it, and then we got on the plane. We got into London around 10:00 a.m. and had about a 45-minute drive to the hotel. We got the day off, but had a film session. Since the trainers and I felt that I would test my ankle fully in the practice the next day, I just decided to rest.

We had a good film session and I felt we got better with the adjustments we made. Films session are pretty much what the coach wants to go over in a previous game, good or bad, offense or defense, to help us get better for our next game. After all that, a couple of guys and I wanted to go out see the city and get something to eat. Myself, Ricky, Ryan Gomes, Chris Richard, Corey Brewer and Rashad McCants went to a bar-b-q restaurant in Chelsea called the "Big Easy." We had a great time clowning around with each other, in which Chris and I got a kick out of Corey's voice and how he sounds like Chris Tucker at times and moves his head like Ray Charles.

Craig and his teammates think Brewer sounds like Chris Tucker.
But that wasn't the funniest thing of the night. As we were leaving, people began cheering to us wishing us well, and as we were heading out, two older women (one black and one white) were asking us who we were as individuals, thinking we were famous people. So, Rashad tells the lady, "You see who this guy behind me is (referring to me)?" The ladies looked as if they didn't know. He says, "That's Charles Brockley." The ladies thought he meant Charles Barkely. So one lady tells me to come close to her, I get a little timid too and then I say to myself, she is just gonna say a nice comment to you about being Sir Charles and that it's a pleasure meeting me.

Wrong.

She grabs my face and kisses me. It's one thing if a women kisses you but another if a (I don't mean this in a negative way) big-time smoker with teeth like cement blocks kisses you. So my cheek smelled like Camel Joes until I got back into my hotel room. The guys gotta kick out of that.

The next morning, I was a lil' nervous about practicing, but the Rhino prevailed. It felt good practicing the whole time; I was a little tentative on plays but overall, I played pretty good. After practice I was really tired and decided to just catch up on some sleep. The next day was even better because I felt a little bit more confident with my ankle, so hopefully I can play wednesday against the Celtics, but time will only tell. So I guess you will see if I'm going to play or not.

Peace ya'll from your boy, the Rhino.



Don't worry, folks, the Rhino is back on the court.
ENTRY NO. 3
Hey folks, it's the Rhino checking in once again with my third blog.

So, we had an appearance two days ago where the Timberwolves along with NBA Cares donated computers, new books and other resources to a school that was recently built. I didn't know I was speaking in front of a lot of people, and some of the others that were speaking included Julius "Dr.J" Erving and Clyde "The Glide" Drexler ... So you know I was nervous as hell. But I got through it, and seeing the happiness in the young children's eyes made me so proud to be a part of the whole thing.

After practice we had to go to the appearance, then afterwards we were heading back and once again ran into traffic. When we arrived back to the hotel we had about 20 minutes to get ready for the last double session, and man, was it tiring. But we got through it. The next day we had a great morning practice in which I did everything except contact (playing pretty much).

I've also been eager to tell you about an awesome experience we had in Turkey where we were able to help some special kids thanks to our owner. We had a Starkey Foundation event in which Glen Taylor donated a large amount of money (for hearing aids) to the foundation to help children of Istanbul who aren't able to hear. Right after Mark "Mad Dog" Madsen gave a great speech, along with NBA commissioner David Stern and founder of the Starkey Foundation Bill Austin, we got to help them put the hearing aids on. Ryan Gomes and I were the first to put the hearing aids in the children's ears, along with Dr.J, Clyde, Mr. Stern, Bill, and Glen. It was a wonderful experience. It made me realize what we take for granted. I mean, when the child expressed when he/she could hear, eyes opened so wide and bright as if they were glowing, it made me feel so incredible and thankful I got this opportunity.

The NBA and the Timberwolves provided hearing aids for kids in Istanbul. Craig said it "made me feel so incredible and thankful."
Now to some humor: Later on that night we had a team dinner to celebrate training camp being over since we played our first game the next day. Anyways, at the dinner, guys were makin' jokes at each other and all of a sudden, I became the butt of the jokes. First, someone said I look like Jax off the video game Mortal Kombat 2. Then I was also called Ving Rhames character "Melvin" in the movie "Baby Boy." I thought it was really funny. After being the butt of the jokes, we got into a little game of name the movie line. We got into the movie "Coming to America," and I said the Martin Luther King line where the barber talked about meeting Dr. Martin Luther King.

It goes like this. (Barber 1): "I met Dr. Martin Luther King, you ain't meet no Dr. Martin Luther King!
(Other barber): "Yes I did, I was walking down the street one day and a man came up to me, hit me in my chest. I looked up and said, 'Dr. Martin Luther King?' He said, 'Oh I thought you were somebody else.'" (You gotta see it to really think about it. It's hilarious).

So I got a call from my girlfriend Joana, whom I adore. We talked for a long time that night just explaining to her about my day, and I'm realizing we aint even talk about her day and it's already been 40 minutes! In my head, while we're continuing to talk, I'm like, my bill is gonna be a million dollars. Damn! But I love her so much, it doesn't matter. I know what you're saying, how can the Rhino be this soft? Well, when you love someone, even a rhino, you gotta have a soft side. Especially if you got a lady. You can't be gangsta all the time, that won't get you nowhere (point of emphasis). OK, out of soft shell taco mode (like my lines. lol - laughing out loud).

Craig's teammates said he looked like Ving Rhames. Or Jax. But who would win in a fight? (Jax, obviously ... Finish him! Fatality.).
I woke up the next day and got to see the gym we were playing in, and it was great. Then I went back and relaxed until we left for the game. I looked at the guys on the bus, and everyone was game ready. We got to the gym and guys did their routine to get ready, like for example, Al Jefferson and Gerald Green made a truce to stop joking on each other after joking on each other just a couple of minutes earlier.

Now the game begins, and I'm not playing so you know I was looking nice with a sharp blazer, collared shirt, and of course Tods, just like I told Trudell about on our timberwolves.com fashion interview. As far as the game, we got off to an OK start trading baskets, but we started to get a flow going into halftime, thanks to Gomes. We made some adjustments at the half with our defensive scheme, because they were killin' us on the pick and role. In the second half, we made a bit of a run being up by as many as eight, but they came back and went up by one in the final minutes. However, we prevailed to win by three. Next stop, London.

Your boy is out. Peace.

Much respect for the random Dr. Dre - Snoop reference, Rhino
ENTRY NO. 2
Hey everyone, it's your boy C. Smith again giving you an up-to-date on what's been going on these past two days here in Turkey. The last time I talked to you, we were just getting started. Now we are moving along full-speed ahead. But before I get into all that, I wanna explain to you guys how and when I got the nickname the Rhino, because I know some people have to be curious.* Trust me, I didn't come up with it myself.
*Truehoop, you know who you are...

Anyways, I think it started from the "Name the Rookies" campaign from last year, when the fans thought of a bunch of nicknames for Randy Foye and me. So now, every time I see Kevin McHale or someone from the training staff, they call me the Rhino. I just try and get used to it, because I think it's going to be around for a long time. It's cool though.

OK, back to the lecture at hand (old school Snoop, Nothing But A G Thang ... random). Yesterday we had a great two sessions -- guys were really getting after it. Corey Brewer played really well in the scrimmages and Chris Richard was holding his own on the block as well. Randy (Foye), Rashad (McCants) and Ryan's (Gomes) jump shots looked really good too.

In the second practice, I got to participate with everything since it was no-contact. My ankle felt good after the practice, too. One funny note: In the second practice, Chris Richard dunked the ball and broke the rim. It was funny because someone called him Baby Shaq, and after he did it he had the most innocent facial expression, like a kid who didn't mean to break something that wasn't his.

Al Jefferson's response to Gerald Green's jibe? "You look like Juvenile."
During the bus-ride back to the Istanbul castle that we're staying in, Al (Jefferson) and Gerald (Green) had their joking session on each other, in which Gerald said Al's nose is so big he could smell a thousand miles away. Al came back by saying Gerald looks like Juvenile (the rapper who used to be with Cash Money Records ... If you don't know who he is or what he looks like Google him, it's funny).

Today was also a great day because we only had one practice. So the guys gave 110% on the floor for about three hours. We had more scrimmaging, in which Ricky (Davis) had a couple of minutes of being a true point guard, and he didn't do bad at all, except he didn't play there when they scrimmaged. Then, after practice, we had the whole afternoon off and I slept all day long and elevated my ankle to get the rest of the swelling out.

So until next time, peace and hair grease. I'm out!





ENTRY NO. 1
Hey everyone, what's up?

It's the Rhino, a.k.a. Craig Smith, just wanting to say thanks to all you guys for checking out my diary.

As you all know, we are having training camp overseas for the first time in Istanbul, Turkey. It's been crazy so far, but let me start with the flight over here. We boarded a 757 jet, which was really nice, especially because our seats turned into beds. I thought that was pretty cool to add. The flight in general was really long ... We flew seven-and-a-half hours to London to refuel, then another three-and-a-half hours to Istanbul.

When we got off the plane, if felt different for me and Randy (Foye)* because it's another part of Turkey, and because we are professional athletes now, so we get treated differently. There were a lot of camera crews out there getting us on film and taking pictures of us. From the airport we got on the bus and as I looked around I could see it in everyone's facial expression that they were still tired, so there wasn't a lot of talking or joking like usual on the bus.
*Craig and Randy were teammates on the Team USA squad that captured the gold-medal at the 2005 World University Games in Izmir, Turkey.

Craig says Chris Richard had a really innocent facial expression after he broke the rim on a hammer dunk. Kind of like this one...
So, one of our interpreters told us that the ride to the hotel was about 45 minutes without traffic. I'm thinking, how bad can traffic be in Turkey, because I am from L.A., and we have too much traffic. That is, until I see how bad the traffic is here. I'm wondering where are all these people going? It's a Sunday! So an hour-and-a-half later we arrive to the hotel. Man, is it nice! Something you see off one of those Cinderella/Princess Diaries movies (not like I have watched them or anything). There is a nice pool view from the room with a nice bay and bridge to add along. They also have a little area full of stores to shop in downstairs. I'm thinking, man, if I was only on vacation ... But we're not. So we got dressed and got on the bus to go to practice.

We left 30 minutes before practice so there could be a window to get there, so we could start on a specific time, but once again we hit that traffic. So, an hour later, we got to practice. Unfortunately, I'm unable to participate because of my ankle (which looks really good and I might be back sooner than I thought). Still, guys look good fighting through the jetlag and the 110-degree gym. We finished practice, came back to the hotel, and I decided to take a swim. The pool is open 24 hours and it's right next to the bay water (which you shouldn't try alone because it can be a little scary). Since I am the Rhino, I took a swim and that put me straight to sleep. The second day came and went so fast. We have double sessions today and there were, no joke, guys dying out there giving it all they had, and I'm on the sideline riding a bike.

Well, that's been it so far. Tune in next time and I should have some funny stories. Peace y'all and be safe.

Your boy,
Craig