Today, for the very first time, Andray Blatche will face the Washington Wizards as a member of another team. Today, for the very first time, I will find myself in the position of rooting specifically against Andray Blatche. For years and years, I, like all of us, wished he would realize his full potential. I hoped he would figure it out, even as I figured in the back of my mind that it wouldn't happen. I invested hope and angst in his development, and I reacted accordingly when things didn't go as planned.
In a weird way, it's odd to begin a season without worrying about him. The Brooklyn Nets have brought him in with zero risk and no strings attached, so they're not investing the same hope Wizards fans did in his development. But it still brings back interesting memories to read quotes like these from a New York Post story.
The 6-foot-11 Syracuse product chose to wear No. 0 after signing with Brooklyn, a reminder of the amount of support he felt he had after the Wizards used the amnesty clause to rid themselves of the remainder of his three-year, $23 million contact.
"Everybody thought I was going to be out of the league," Blatche said. "Zero reminds me I didn't have any support system outside of my immediate family, nobody who thought I was going to bounce back and get on another team."
All this is to say ... well, I'm not sure. Perhaps the best way to hit at these emotions is to ask this question: do you want Blatche to succeed elsewhere?
To me, the answer is an obvious yes. When Blatche was officially released in July, I compared him to the friend you have that gets depressed every time a relationship ends. You plead with them to get off the couch and go out again, but they instead stay there and feel sorry for themselves. One some level, your feel bad for your friend. On another level, you are tired of waiting for them to get their shit together. These are conflicting emotions, and you're really not sure which one should win out. So, they both do, and they come out of your system at seemingly random times.
But what happens if your friend does get his shit together? Maybe they meets the right mate. Maybe they enjoy single life. Maybe they do these things so much that you don't see them anymore. Are you happy for them, even if they have become too busy for you? I would be, at least. Maybe you wouldn't, which is why this is tricky.
And so, against the backdrop of Blatche's first appearance against his former team, I will ask the question again. If Blatche turns his career around and becomes a useful member of the Nets, will you be happy for him?