A tribute to Jan Vesely, the NBA's Tobias Funke

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Reflecting on Jan Vesely, the lottery pick who may not have lived up to his draft billing, but kept it entertaining along the way.

A couple years ago, I compared the 2011-12 Wizards to the characters of Arrested Development. At the time, I compared Jan to George Michael, because he was struggling to find where he fit in with his family. Now that we've seen the Jan Vesely era in full, I can say with complete confidence that Jan Vesely is, in fact, Dr. Tobias Funke.

If you fall in the rare cross-section of humanity that's interested in the Washington Wizards and Arrested Development, I don't need to tease you any further. Consider the following:

Both are allegedly black men in white skin

After a solid game from Vesely last month, Marcin Gortat had this to say about Vesely:

While I won't go as far as to make that comparison, highlights from Jan were always exciting:


(Likewise, the Arrested Development writers have hinted that Tobias is actually albino, which would explain quite a bit.)

Both aspired to greatness

One of the more underrated aspects of Vesely's NBA struggles was the transition from being a key player one of the best teams in his league to a role player on one of the worst teams in the NBA. You could see him almost taste those meaty, leading man parts on draft night when he called Blake Griffin the "American Jan Vesely", but wound up only playing "Frightened Inmate No. 2" on the Wizards' bench.

Both had parts of themselves they desperately tried to hide from everyone

Forwards without jumpers are the never-nudes of the NBA. No matter how hard Jan tried to make his jumper work, he just wasn't able to reveal his thunder.


More than anything else, both wanted to be accepted by their peers

Jan tried really, really hard to be likeable. He came out with music videoshe made out with girlfriend after he was drafted, and he fielded questions on Twitter about Bon Jovi, but no matter where he turned, everyone left Uncle T-Bag hanging.

Both needed a new start

Jan was doomed even before his name was called at the 2011 NBA Draft. Everyone was upset about the Wizards' draft position. It was a critical year to find a second-fiddle for John Wall and the Wizards were stuck with the sixth pick in a draft that many felt dropped off after the top three players. Despite attempts to move up to get Derrick Williams or Enes Kanter, the Wizards got no traction and have to make a move with the card they were dealt. While most draftniks pointed to Jan Vesely being the smart choice, there was an understandable amount of apprehension for Wizard fans, given the franchise's struggles developing international talent.

To Jan's credit, he busted his tail trying to be the player the Wizards wanted and needed him to be. But alas, it was just a fallacy. It was like casting a therapist to play The Thing in an action musical version of Fantastic 4. There was no way it was going to work.

Now, Jan gets a chance to be a professional twice over as he gets to (powder) blue himself with the Nuggets. We won't know until the end of the season if he can make it work in Colorado, but at least we know what license plate he'll use when he gets there.

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