As is known, this season marked my first time in an NBA lockerroom. Here are some notes on individual players:
- Chuck Hayes – Easily my favorite guy on the team to interview. Chuck is not only polite and courteous, but he is ‘raw.’ He actually internalizes his responses. He’s also the guy who most made me consider the human element of basketball; after a loss, while everyone is affected, Chuck looks like he lost a family member. Usually joking, he sits slumped in his corner chair, dejected, as if the season itself were completely over. I now understand what it means to have a veteran presence in the lockerroom.
- Courtney Lee – Probably the nicest guy on the team. As you all saw, he and Chuck became my go-to guys in the lockerroom as the season progressed. (Though this was partly due to the fact that they hung around the longest.) Courtney treats reporters like they are his friends and makes them feel welcome to ask questions. This is surprising considering how he treats opposing shooting guards.
- Yao Ming – Seeing Yao Ming for the first time was a surreal experience.
- Luis Scola – Scola is a very poor interview but this is partly because, as I have been told, he is extremely shy.
- Shane Battier – I still think of all of the questions that went unasked of Battier before his trade to Memphis. I used to love the feeling of knowing I could approach him and ask anything, on any level, and receive an intelligent response. His absence was the elephant in the room after the deadline.
- Kevin Martin – Martin is usually one of the first guys to speak and leave, and thus, I rarely caught up with him.
- Kyle Lowry – Not a particularly good interview. Polite, but gruff, but very much in the habit of giving cliche responses.
- Chase Budinger – Chase is a good interview primarily because he gives off the feeling that you are talking to a friend from college.
- Patrick Patterson – Probably the worst interview on the team just simply because, due to his professionalism, he has a list of talking points from which he does not stray away. A ‘Houston Rocket’ in the sense of what that phrase has come to mean.
- Jordan Hill – Jordan is not the sharpest tool in the shed and often requires some time to process the simplest questions. Nevertheless, a very amicable, good-spirited fellow.
- Hasheem Thabeet – While I am a good three or four years older than Hasheem, I do not look the part. Nevertheless, he’s always treated me with the utmost respect; just an extremely well-mannered, humble kid who I really hope can somehow put it together. Thabeet is also probably the best dressed guy on the team, regularly sporting a fresh pair of Jordans.
In his own category:
- Terrence Williams – In my adult life, I don’t recall too many times where I was addressed as disrespectfully as during my encounters with T-Will. I am simply stating that point; I’m not basing any conclusions off of that experience or attributing that as cause for his struggles. I do not hold any resentment towards T-Will nor do I let that at all cloud my analysis: I still hope he is given a chance on this team as I feel he is a dynamic talent.
- Lebron James – probably one of the most awe-strucken moments of my life came when I stood, with a group of about maybe fifteen other journalists, two or three feet away from James as he spoke. (This was prior to the flipcam purchase so there is no Red94 evidence of this encounter.)
- Jason Kidd/Kevin Garnett – same feeling as above; just this crazy sensation like, “wow, I’ve been watching these guys for 16 years now.”
- Rudy Gay – If I recall, probably the most surprisingly nice opponent I interviewed this year.
- Mike Conley – the most surprisingly poignant opponent.
- Shawn Marion – winner of the ‘never ask another open-ended question to this guy again’ award. Shawn, bless his heart, after a request to compare Steve Nash and Jason Kidd proceeded to inform me of the merits of Stephon Marbury for three minutes. Did not seem like a guy who liked to talk.
- Glen “Big Baby” Davis – easily the best interview I saw all year. The part that kills me is that I was not rolling tape at the time; after the loss to the Rockets, Davis proceeded to go off on a five minute rant reminiscent of Kellen Winslow. For my truancy, the digital world is a poorer place today.
I’m sure there are others I am forgetting but that’s all for now. You can access all of my video interviews from the ‘Recent Interviews’ block on the sidebar.