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Rooming with Mister Unlimited
EPISODE 10: Behind closed doors with Nate Tice and Russell Wilson, America’s most memed — and yet unknowable — superstar.
Every college in America has someone I like to call That Guy.
Who is That Guy? There are a few rules.
That Guy is a campus celebrity.
That Guy is insanely ambitious.
That Guy is image-obsessed.
That Guy is utterly undeterred by the fact that people are cringing at him, all the time.
My personal That Guy, for instance, was my classmate: Vivek Ramaswamy.
Vivek was That Guy who’d raise his hand, all the time, in lecture — and also performed, onstage, as his alter ego: a libertarian rapper he called “Da Vek.”
Da Vek is now fulfilling his cringeworthy destiny as a Republican presidential candidate. And Da Vek, I think, would be the platonic ideal of That Guy…
…if it wasn’t for my friend Nate Tice’s That Guy, at the University of Wisconsin:
Russell Wilson is now the superstar quarterback of the moribund Denver Broncos, fulfilling his cringeworthy destiny as the most memed but least understood athlete in America.
You may have heard that Russell Wilson has an alter ego (“Mister Unlimited”). That he spins around in circles, at midfield, eyes closed, arms out, pregame, alone, with TV cameras watching. That he ends his interviews with practiced catchphrases. And that his new coach, Sean Payton, has already told him to stop acting like he’s running for office.
But Wilson is also fiercely private: according to ESPN, he used to make visitors to his private box at Seattle Mariners games sign non-disclosure agreements before they entered.
As I said: That Guy.
But I wanted to know what That Guy was like in college. In the primordial ooze where such guys are truly born. Before the NDAs, before the memes, before his Broncos were getting blown out, 70-20 (!), by the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Before Russell Wilson became America’s weirdest athlete.
And so please enjoy today’s episode, with Friend of PTFO Nate Tice: the only man in America who backed up Russell Wilson in college, and roomed with him on the road, and attended his first wedding.
I believe that you’ll begin to understand That Guy, for the first time.