Boom Tho! Rod Benson Unleashed
KBL Dongbu Promy's Rod Benson stands out wherever he goes. Not because he's 6'10 - but because of his unique style in whatever he does. The sometimes controversial, but always entertaining Benson is anything but the prototypical jock. Sports Illustrated called him the best athlete blogger out there.
WONJU, South Korea - Consider these three names: Shaquille O’Neal. Gilbert Arenas. Chad Ochocinco.
In a word, Rod's lifestyle is busy.
According to Rod: “It started with a stupid saying in college that led to an even dumber music video, that eventually became my tag line on the path to the NBA. Today, it's a clothing line and lifestyle brand centered around fun, hype, and swag,” he says.
Started in 2006, the “Boom Tho!” movement came to life with a small idea based on a catchphrase from his blog. Since then, it has grown into a successful company that has NBA players like Blake Griffin, Eric Bledsoe, Channing Frye and a host of actors and DJs all sport ing the brand which comes on products ranging from clothes to lunchboxes.
You're A Long Way From Cali
Undrafted out of college, Benson spent several years in NBA preseason camps giving it his best shot, and four years in the NBA’s D-League, playing in Bismarck, North Dakota and Austin, Texas, with a small stint in France thrown in as well. He still stands as the all-time rebounding leader in the NBA’s Development League, but for some reason or another the breaks just never seemed to go his way.
Though there were some bumps in the road, there were a lot of memorable events. Most notable was his camp with the Indiana Pacers, when Larry Bird asked him to shut down his blog, which of course he did – sort of – he kept a diary and published it later.
Though he never got the call to the NBA, he has come to terms with possibly never making it into the league, though he’s not giving up hope and would surely jump at the chance.
“I do indeed (want to play in the NBA). I'm always getting better, and there's nothing like playing ball in the USA. Nobody wants to say they spent their 20's alone in Korea.”
Back in the early Boom Tho! Cal days
In 2010, he joined the Korean Basketball League, where he made an immediate impact, leading Dongbu to the finals. During the 2011 finals, playing with injuries, Benson was clearly not at his best. They lost in six games. Losing was not something he was used to.
“As a competitor, I want to win every game. I've been to a few championship games in my time as a pro and that was the first time I lost. Back to the drawing board,” he said.
Coming back for a second year, he seemed to be more focused and determined according to Kevin Campigotto, who covers the Korean League for EuroBasket.
“He seems to be much better this season at focusing his frustration. Last year, he’d sort of get angry and check out a bit,” Campigotto said about Benson, who led the league in technical fouls. "This year when he gets angry, he really attacks whoever is guarding him on the offensive end."
Showing up at the KBL draft all Boom Tho!'d out
As for his teams chances this year, Benson thinks they should be considered a favorite, though they need to step up just a bit more than last year.
“I'd be happy with the exact same season as last year, just with 2 more wins in April,” he said.
Whatever he does, whether winning or losing, Benson is sure to have fun in the process.
And then there's the wild side: Showing up to the KBL draft done up in Boom Tho! gear - a pink hat and a blue muscle t-shirt, which when asked why he chose that, he responded that "It's the only thing I wear."
Just for fun, I asked Benson his thoughts on the marketing possibilities if he played basketball for Busan's KT Sonic Boom?
“Sonic Boom tho? Haha.. never gave it a thought.”
Rod Benson KBL Stats:
2011 - Wonju Dongbu Promy- 19.6 pts., 11.5 rbs, 1.5 asts, 1.5 stls, 1.5 blks
2010 - Wonju Dongbu Promy- 17.4 pts., 9.7 rbs, 0.7 asts, 1.1 stls, 1.3 blks
You can follow Rod Benson on Twitter at #!/boomtho
Check out Rod’s very funny HoopsHype blog about life in Korean basketball here.
Photos courtesy of Rod Benson
Read more from Jeff Liebsch