I recently had the fortune of being part of the media crew at the O2 in London for the two games against the Raptors.
Below are my tales...
Actually, before I begin, I have to say that I am not a journalist. Far from it. I like ball and I like writing so I occasionally combine the two. I'm simply a fan.
Okay, so just to recap, around the 16th February I thought I'd email the NBA to see if I could blag free entry to the NBA games down at the O2. I didn't want to pay for grossly overpriced tickets and I didn't particularly want to see the Nets or Raptors but the NBA is the NBA. I wanted in so I sent the email.
24 hours later, I got an email back telling me to email the european NBA contact to request a press pass. I was also told to wait until the 22nd as they would be busy with allstar game stuff.
So I waited until the 22nd and sent my email. Once again, credit to the NBA bods because within 24 hours, I'd received a reply. Unfortunately it said that I'd missed the 18th Feb deadline.
'But, fill out the online form and return it to us immediately for consideration. We can't guarantee acceptance at this stage'.
Result! I may not have my foot in the door but at least I have my finger in the letterbox.
I waited a couple of days but heard nothing. And then, just when I thought 'ah well, it wasn't gonna happen' I got an email:
'Please pick up your press pass from gate G'
I'd been given the green light! Mental. Absolutely mental. Needless to say I danced around my flat in a semi gangsta-mainly geeky way.
Flashforward to Wednesday and my first chance at proving my media worth. I turned up early because I'd rather be early than late and because I didn't have a clue what to do and wanted to kinda acclimatise myself to the arena and situation. The female NBA rep walked into the press room and told everyone there that the players practice session would be finishing shortly and so the press time would be brought forward. She then stated that everyone in the room would be able to talk to them before anyone got there.
I was the only one in the room.
Before I could mess myself with excitement, other media types turned up so there was about 6 of us ready to storm the floor and grab Deron.
When the time came, the Nets own bloggist (or is it blogist? Nah, that looks too much like biologist. Is bloggist even a word?!) went first and then Deron was left all alone. So I strolled over:
"Hey, you got a few minutes for a chat?"
He gave me the green light so I sat down beside him and asked my first, well prepared question. He answered it in his pissed off manner. Result. And then, before I knew it, all the other media types were around me, tv guys recording it and everything. I asked a few more questions before he cut me dead by answering in relation to 'which guys would you like to see here in NJ?':
"I can't talk about that. That'd be tampering. You get fined for that".
An hour seemed to go by before anyone else stepped up to the plate and asked him a question:
"What do you think to England?".
I kid you not when I say that I heard that question post practice session and from multiple people to the same guys. Painful and embarrassing.
Before I left Deron alone, I asked one more question:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1nG6fm40Wg - (at the 1:24 mark. I also make a visual appearance at other points in the video).
Just as I was doing an internal fist pump at my immediate success, I got up from my courtside seat next to Deron, put my hand on the chair next to me which immediately folded up, thus making me stumble and almost fall to the ground. As I walked away, the entire group laughed, including D-Will. Not sure if it was at me but my internal fist pump turned into an internal gut punch for me being a clown.
This is getting lengthy and I know that people's attention spans are short so I'll simply leave any continuation up to a poll.
If I never talk of my tales again, just know they were the greatest moments in my life.