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My Day with the World Champs

Every once in a while in this job you do something that reminds you why you went into this line of work. This was one of those days for me. I went down to Auburn Hills to a Pistons practice. You drive to a remote building across the parking lot from the Palace and sit a room with dozens of internet connections being used by dozens of print journalists, some of whom are from Indianapolis and are complaining about not being able to get to their hotel because of construction (welcome to Michigan). The team also provides the service of collecting all articles written about the series in the Indianapolis and Detroit media in one packet so that each reporter could see what all the others are writing. Sadly, no one used the Rick Carlisle quote I used after game 4; 'We couldn't hit the back end of a bull with a bass fiddle.' No one I asked has any clue what that means.

After a wait of about an hour we headed down to the gym where the team was practicing. The reserves were standing at one end with Coach Larry Brown running through typical drills while the starters stood at the other end watching Ben Wallace try to hit a three pointer. Tayshaun Prince appeared to be reading his mail. The reserves by contrast seemed rather serious about their work except when Carlos Arroyo appeared to be teaching Ron Dupree a proper boxing stance.

Interviews are done in what is commonly refered to as 'Cluster Fuck.' One person will wander to the side and every journalist in the building will try to stand with in three feet of him while holding up a microphone. For most of the afternoon I had to rsort to ballancing a camera on top of my head to shoot over everyone else, a trick I picked up in the just as crowded Green Bay Packers lockerrooms in the late 90's. This situation for conducting interviews is less than ideal for us, but it's not in place for us. It's there because that way the players don't have to be ushered into a press conference room or waste tons of time doing interviews one at a time.

One thing really stood out. This is the greatest basketball team in the world, 24 hours away from a vital game 5 against the Pacers, and they seemed like a bunch of guys who just met up at the gym for a pick up game. Rasheed Wallace jocked around with some of the radio guys and at one point during his interview mentioned Chauncey Billups being an underrated player defensively, then yelled across the room at Billups 'Second team all NBA defense!' Lindsay Hunter talked about his 11 month old dog. Life as a pro athlete must be nice.


comments (1) 05-17-2005

The People's Comments:

cdeezy:
Hmm... I could have sworn I saw that line either in the A2 News or in one of the CNNSI articles. Anyway, doing a Google search on the phrase ''bull with a bass fiddle'' turns up some interesting results, including a sports article about last year's NBA finals (ahem!). I bet that's where Carlisle picked up the phrase.

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