Look, Dan Dakich isn’t my cup of commentator, but I know how that goes.
“Dear Dillweed” pops up in my email queue more often than Prince Dakare Njibe of Nigeria wanting to make me rich.
Local hacks and national yakkers; all are acquired tastes. Dakich’s shtick on ESPN college basketball broadcasts and his Indianapolis-based radio show goes down with much of his audience like a Vinegar Collins, and he almost seems to prefer it that way.
And yet, the man steps up.
On Sunday morning, Rem Bakamus left Boise and pointed his car back toward Spokane with a full tank of last laugh. From now until the end of March Madness, the avatar that will greet the 150,000 followers of Dakich’s Twitter account will be a picture of a one-time Gonzaga Bulldogs basketball walk-on/bench performance artist/social media butterfly who scored 19 points in his college career.
“I’m just glad I didn’t have to put his picture on mine,” said Bakamus.
For that, he can thank his old team, which beat Ohio State in Boise over the weekend to reach the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
And, OK, he can thank the gadfly in his nature, too.
Because this was one part inspiration and another part instigation. Bakamus nudged Dakich into a friendly wager over the outcome of the game, what with Dakich’s son Andrew being a backup guard for the Buckeyes and Dad having a rooting interest at all and just kind of being, well, Dan Dakich.
Plus, the two of them have a history – or a Twitstory, if you will.
It all started back in November, the night Gonzaga and Ohio State met the first time this season during the PK80 Invitational in Portland – when ESPN thought it would be a good idea to assign Dakich to work the game behind the mic.
(Note to networks: This is never a good idea. Everybody thinks your announcers hate their team anyway. Why confirm it?)
Naturally, Gonzaga viewers began taking umbrage at Dakich’s first breath and it made its way to Bakamus’ Twitter mentions. So the smart-ass in him surfaced and he posted: “The best part about being at the Gonzaga vs. Ohio State game is that I don’t have to listen to @dandakich announcing it on tv! #blessed #zagup.”
And sometime the next day, Dakich fired back: “Best part for me was not having to watch some sad walk-on for the Zags … great night otherwise though.”
What do you suppose he meant by “otherwise?”
In any case, it was on. A flurry of back-and-forth followed.
Bakamus: “Do some homework.”
Dakich: “OK sonny boy … Ur only important to your daddy and mommy.”
“I might have been a little out of line,” Bakamus allowed. “I get in those little arguments and he does the same. It really wasn’t as bad as it looked.
“I really haven’t heard him that much. He’s got a good coach’s mind and I do like to hear the insights. It just sounded like people were complaining, and you know me – I’m going to stick up for the Zags.”
Naturally, when the teams were paired in the same pod in Boise – and won their openers – Andrew Dakich was going to be quizzed about this old dustup. As if sonny boy could hope to keep his dad’s many Twitter feuds straight.
As if Dad could, either.
“Who is @RemFifteen and what’s my beef?” he tweeted at one point.
So Bakamus reached out with an olive branch and Dakich “was a good enough sport to accept the bet,” he said.
Twitter avatars at 20 paces.
“That’s not easy to do when you work for ESPN and have hundreds of thousands of followers,” Bakamus said.
Apparently it’s easier than growing a beard. ESPN’s Jay Bilas took time out last March from playing Che to the NCAA Batistas to say he’d match the wondrous whiskers of Gonzaga’s Przemek Karnowski if the Zags made the Final Four. What Bilas has been showing off on TV lately doesn’t qualify as a payoff.
“The beard ain’t looking that good,” Karnowski tweeted recently.
But Dakich is covering his IOU with gusto:
“#NewProfile Pic … lost bet w @ZagMBB legend @RemFifteen in OSU v Zags … his face on my avatar for the remainder of March!! Gonna change the picture every few days!! Zag fans if you have any of him please send … more embarrassing the better. Go Zags”
And now it’s Bakamus’ turn to sweat.
“I hope nothing comes up that’s too bad,” he said.
Viewers have been known to say the same thing when they tune in Dan Dakich. Or so I’m told.
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