On a night of great moments, my favorite came long after the final buzzer had sounded.
Adjacent to the court, there’s an area at Toyota Center maybe best described as the loading zone. Postgame, if you hang around–sorry, media and staff access only–you can see some really cool conversations go down as players from both teams hang out before exiting, sometimes with their families. I once saw a long encounter between Luis Scola and Jason Kidd and wondered what the hell they could possibly be talking about.
I hung out there for a bit last night after lockerroom duties just wanting to soak in every minute of the Heat’s only trip to Houston. Patterson and Jeremy Lin were there as were Shane Battier and GM Daryl Morey. But no Lebron or Wade. That wasn’t anything out of the ordinary – most of the time, the opposing team’s players head straight out to the team bus.
I left that loading area and headed back to the media workroom, on that same floor, which is basically just a room where us writers do our work after the game. As I’m settling in, the door opens and a Heat representative is leading Dwyane Wade and Lebron James into the room, the first time I’ve ever seen a player in our space. (I’m guessing they were being led through this route as a detour to avoid whatever at the usual exit.) James and Wade look at us typing away at our keyboards and we all stop; both parties size each other up in surprise for a whole two seconds I wish I could have captured on camera. We had all just been together minutes before in the lockerroom, invading their space as they dressed.
“So this is where it go down, huh?” said Wade smiling behind a pair of dark shades.
Added Lebron, “We in ya’ll lockerroom now!”
Someone in the corner shouted, “Could you pipe down?”