In order to understand what "The Chemist" actually is, we must get the proper definition from the creators themselves: Grantland.com's Bill Simmons and Rembert Browne.
During pregame intros for a Knicks-Suns game at MSG, I noticed Renaldo Balkman had thrown himself into that James Posey-type role for the Knicks: In other words, he's the last guy every starter greets during the intros, and he's the guy who waits at midcourt before the opening tap for one last round of "good luck" hugs and hand slaps. That got me thinking ... why does every team suddenly have someone like this? Did James Posey start it? Was it Damon Jones? Was it someone earlier than them? Do teams elect this player or is it more of an unspoken embrace of that role? Does the player elect himself? What if two guys want to play that role? And what should we call this person?
Anyway, Grantland's Rembert Browne and I came up with the perfect name for this job ("The Chemist")...
This is the role that JaVale McGee has carved out for himself when he's not on the floor. Before games, McGee can be seen carrying out various "rituals" with teammates, folks at the scorer's table, and with the fans. Whenever George Karl calls on McGee to enter the game for the Nuggets, the big man glides over to the scorer's table and tosses his headband (that he only wears during pregame drills) into the crowd. And after games, McGee will throw various accessories into the crowd - including his Peak shoes (I even hear he'll sign the shoes if you can track him down).
JaVale McGee of the Denver Nuggets as "The Chemist"
Denver Stiffs | Feb 14