Chuck Hayes' duties as a Rockets co-captain along with Shane Battier have been limited. He had to answer a question about being a captain.
“I'm a captain?” he said. “I didn't know I was. That's news to me. Wow. I can't remember the last time I was a captain. I guess as far as the captain is concerned, I'm more of the Robin to Shane's Batman.”
Never before have I witnessed a player so hopelessly overmatched perpetually emerge so thoroughly triumphant.
Watching Chuck Hayes at his craft, one wonders, in some less cruel world, were he afforded that oft taken-for-granted privilege of full sizedness, wherein would his fate lie? This is a 6'6 stub portraying dominance in a time when power forwards were crafted as some superhuman race.
I should mention that Hayes possesses leaping ability paralleled in futility only by the late Matt Maloney. To consistently smother into submission men towering above him, on the strength of basic positional leveraging and fundamentality is the pinnacle of cerebral excellence. When I watch him completely suffocate an All-Star, or merely hold ground on a routine post-up, I admit that the sight never fails to evoke amazement.
It's a shame. While he doesn't garner anywhere near the praise and adulation of his more celebrated teammates, Hayes is undoubtedly the best defender on this team. One must wonder, were his offense not so egregiously dreadful, would the experts finally take note? Will the day come when it is finally discerned that Hayes is in fact, not the same person as Carl Landry (or the infamous "Carl Laundry" for that matter)?
Alas, I can assume he will go on unappreciated, uncredited with the plaudits he so rightfully deserves, even by fans of his own team, his sheer mastery of his craft unnoticed.
So usually goes the stinginess of appreciation of the finer subtleties of life, even if manifested throughout an 82 game season.