04 April 2009
It’s about that time.
While the NBA won’t officially announce their all-interview team until the end of the season, this is my first ever “NBA All-Interview Team” selection – even with three games remaining at the Rose Garden. The title says it all: a short list of memorable pregame and postgame conversations I’ve had throughout the course of the season.
Not an easy task. But here’s who made First and Second Team.
First Team All-Interview:
Point Guard: Mo Williams, Cleveland Cavaliers – Easily the best assist I got all season was receiving a postgame quesadilla meal courtesy of Mo right before a sit down interview. Sure I took it. No, I didn’t eat it. That’s a no-no. But Wally Szerbiak was all over it. Classic.
Shooting Guard: Brandon Roy, Portland Trail Blazers – A no brainer. Brandon is as classy as they come. Canned answers are not common place. Win or lose, he’ll genuinely take time for all questions – even the ones he answered five minutes earlier. The yellow stickynote that hangs from his locker says it all: Stay Humble.
Small Forward: Grant Hill, Phoenix Suns – Okay, so Grant didn’t want to talk about receiving electric message therapy on his wrist when we sat down (got it from dunking; said it was “embarrassing”) for a pregame talk. But once we got on the topic of Alvin Gentry returning to Phoenix – and Grant too – then it was all good. After all these years and all the injuries, Hill remains one of the leagues good guys.
Power Forward: Ben Wallace, Cleveland Cavaliers – I’d always heard Ben was a gruff cat when it came to interviews. Not buying it. While LeBron James dealt with a postgame media moshpit, Wallace sat feet away taking it all in before sharing his thoughts about the then approaching NBA trade deadline – the business and basketball side alike – eventually saying, “it’s not that bad….unless you’re the one being traded.”Solid.
Center: Shaquille O’Neal, Phoenix Suns – Don’t be asking him about no ninjas. Enough said.
Head Coach: Gregg Popovich, San Antonio Spurs - Pop tends to remind me of the crazy, funny uncle type that you see once or twice a year – sarcastic, candid, and always gives you something to think about. Any head coach who pretends to fall asleep during a lull in a pregame press conference gets my vote easy.
Executive: Otis Smith, Orlando Magic GM – Otis is doing good things down in Orlando and has no qualms about getting into the dynamics and personalities of his young team. Smooth enough. Has a good read on what’s going on around the league too. (As a sidenote, Kevin Pritchard is omitted from this award – guy would win every time out.)
Second Team All-Interview:
PG – Jason Terry, Dallas: There’s just something about those Seattle guys.
SG- Michael Redd, Milwaukee: Mike, if you are reading this – I think I jinxed you. One minute we’re talking about the importance of staying healthy and days later you’re done for the season. My bad.
SF – Travis Outlaw, Portland: While some may debate Brandon Roy and Channing Frye are the best interviews for the Blazers, you have to include Travis in the discussion.
PF – Carlos Boozer, Utah: Love him or hate him, Boozer gives every writer the courtesy of eye contact and a timely response – that goes a long way in my book.
C – Jason Thompson, Sacramento: The lone rookie to make the all-interview team, Thompson is something to watch on the floor and a go-to-guy if you’re looking for just a good all around kid to talk ball with. And that’s even after Rudy Fernandez bounces the ball through his legs for a preseason assist.....or after he neglects his rookie duties.
Coach – Mike Brown, Cleveland: Not a question he doesn’t answer from the heart.
Executive – Kiki Vandweghe, New Jersey GM: There aren’t a lot of former players turned GM that will tell you they still root for one of their former teams – Kiki still has love for Portland and the Blazers, just not when they are playing the Nets.
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