...Next up on my hit list of people to speak to was Kris Humphries. It wasn't necessarily that I was desperate to talk to him but he was sitting on the sideline seemingly watching the meddia mass surround Deron, so I went over to him and asked him a couple of basketball related questions.
And then, with confidence at an all time high, I asked about his other half – Kim Kardashian. Nothing inappropriate as some of you may have. I simply asked if she'd be joining us in the UK as she'd travelled to Minnesota and Houston previously.
Humphries looked completely dumbfounded until he politely told me he was only there to talk basketball. Fair enough.
But it didn't stop the British tabloid 'The Sun' from using his quote and a Toronto online paper. The media can get something out of nothing.
I spoke to a few other players from the Raps and Nets, including coaching staff but nothing that stood out. I then made the trip across London to the Westfield shopping Centre where they had an NBA fanzone. Robert Horry and Dikembe Mutumbo were there and I wanted to grab a word with whichever one I could. Surprisingly, they were both free to chat and I had to choose which one I wanted to speak to.
Now do I speak to Dikembe Mutumbo – the defensive legend who has contributed so greatly to so many wonderful charities throughout the world and is an overall fantastic guy?
Or do I talk to Robert Horry who has won more rings than MJ and has pretty much seen and done it all?
It's a close call. Two guys who would be unbelievable to interview. But in the end, my decision came down to one thing:
Rick Adelman sums it up within the first 10 seconds of that clip. I wouldn't understand a thing dude says. No offence Dikembe, I love you and I love what you stand for but listening to you would be like trying to understand what a bumbling pot is saying. No chance.
So I spoke to Robert Horry, conducted a quick fire question round where he said Demar Derozan can dump better than Blake Griffin and that the Knicks have NO WAY of winning the title this year. I hated Robert Horry before I spoke to him, told him as much (to which he laughed and said 'So do a lot of people!') but by the end of it, I liked him. He's a good guy. Good sense of humour, honest and up for a laugh.
So that was day one. No idea how any of it happened. Not sure why any of it happened to me but there is no doubt I took none of it for granted. None.
Day two was pretty much the same as day one, spoke to a few different guys, the most likeable being Anthony Morrow and Jordan Farmar. You get the feeling with those guys that you could probably be buddies with them pretty easily whereas with someone like Brook, he looks like he wants to eat your babies.
Day 3 was game day and the schedule was something like:
More press was limited to a rushed 15 minutes session so it was a case of throw your questions in quick or you miss out.
First up was Deron who was more open but then I saw the big man, Brook Lopez, was walking through.
I'm a 6'3 guy but next to Brook I felt like a dwarf. He had a big ol' scowl on his face and looked, once again, like he wanted to cause me some serious harm but I still went ahead and asked him whether he'd ever done what Lebron, Wade and Bosh had done but done it with his brother, Robin, and discussed playing together in the future.
It elicited a laugh which instantly dropped my fear factor from 97% to 95%. For a guy of his size and for a guy with his demeanour, making him laugh was a big win.
I then asked him a question about his rebounding numbers being low (which he then made me look incredibly smart for asking before the first game against the Raptors by grabbing 2).
And then, just as other media had turned up to ask him if he liked the UK and what he thought about the coming Olympics I asked him a question I thought he might appreciate:
“Which comic book film are you most looking forward to?”
He laughed, answered and then laughed again. Me and Brook are now BFF's.
Now, for me, the one part of the days schedule that stood out was the visit to the Lithuanian Embassy. Randomness personified. It was for the Lithuanians to talk about Eurobasket 2011 which is being held in Lithuania.. The sole reason I went was because a NBA great was there. Who do you think it was?
Now, I'm not gonna say he hated everyone in the room but it certainly seemed it. Talking to him, you clearly got the impression that he'd had his fill of media over the years and as a result was loathe to speak to any of us. Still, I got a 4 minute chat out of him whereby he said a lot of nothing.
It was great to be able to tick of the list the fact I'd spoken to an NBA legend but he'd also soured the experience by being prickly.
After the chat with him I went on to raid the free food they had on offer and drink the Lithuanian beer they had waiting for us. So I still won at the end of the visit.
Back to the arena and with the game approaching, we got access to the locker rooms. First port of call on this occasion was Jordan Farmar.
Because I'd been tasked with asking him a question. The question came from Twitter from one of his biggest fans/stalker and related to a tattoo she had. I had to ask Jordan what he thought of it.
This is the tattoo:
So, I approached him, asked him and he told me he thought it was 'Cool. Crazy but cool'. Frenchy got involved and said he'd had a fan do the same for him.
Spent only a few more minutes in the locker rooms and then went court side for the game.
I'm not gonna go into details for the game because you all watched it but it was hella difficult writing a game report, watching the game, tweeting about the events and popping up on Netsdaily.com to make the occasional comments. But I achieved it with minimal sweating and crying and felt proud of myself.
Gone are the days of simply watching a game now. I have to be doing something else whether it's tweeting or commenting on a team's game thread, I've lost that simple pleasure of just watching a game.
And that's one thing that struck me as I sat there, 5 press rows back from court side:
Reporters and journalists can rarely just watch a game now. They have to be doing something else.
I had the game going on live in front of me, I had a tv monitor by the side of me showing the game feed, I had my laptop open with the game stats on one webpage, twitter on another webpage, netsdaily.com on a third web page and a note pad and pen by the side of the laptop to record noteable events and potential questions. Crazy shizz.
It's a dream job, there's no doubt about it, but don't for one minute think these guys have it easy because they don't.
To be continued..