We know what Willie Cauley-Stein can do on the floor. His elevation has been a key in the Dallas Mavericks successes.
The NBA world is also increasingly aware of one of Cauley-Stein's off-court passions. WCS is an artist at heart.
“They put that tag on you,'' Cauley-Stein recently told Anthony Olivieri of ESPN. ‘Well, you don’t love basketball because you do other things.’ You’re like, ‘What?’ I bet there are a lot more (artists in the NBA than we know about) just for that reason. They don’t want people to know.”
There is some truth to Cauley-Stein's accusation; scouts are comforted by knowing that a prospect is willing to run through a wall due to his love for the game. But in WCS' time in Dallas, while we've seen no lack of basketball passion, the 7-0 center has himself conceded that guidance from coach Rick Carlisle has helped the player "fall in love with the work'' it takes to excel ...
And there is still room for an eclectic love of painting, and of Bruce Lee, Pac-Man and Jimi Hendrix.
“I just got him tatted on my leg,'' Cauley-Stein said of the iconic musician. "I just love everything he did for me, man. He is the embodiment of ‘jiggy’ and just the creativity that he brought, flipping the guitar upside down and playing that new sound, is just revolutionary to the game.”
WCS says he's a fan of the Rennaisance era ... and a popular Japanese anime, too.
“My crew is infatuated with anime and the Naruto story. I mean, it’s pretty much the bible to us.”
Willie Cauley-Stein has the respect of teammates like Luka Doncic in the basketball world ... and yes, probably in the art world as well.