I’ve been covering the Toronto Raptors for 18 years. I’ve gone from writing games notes and summaries after each and every Toronto Raptors game in my agenda of all places to video blogging all 82 games. For the first time in those 18 years I found myself at Toronto Raptors media day.
I tossed and turned in my bed the night before the big day, thinking to myself, “I hope they like me,” and “I hope everything goes well.” Yes, I was even that much of a nerd and lay my clothes out the night before just so I wouldn’t be late.
Rest assured walking over to the Air Canada Centre I did have my trusty old Starbucks in hand to calm my nervous. But once I got to gate 5 the flock of media was already in place waiting to interview the first player they saw. However, being in the NBA circle for a couple years now it was great to see some familiar faces and catch up for a few seconds before getting into the rigorous grind.
So, it began… “Always Looking Up in a Short Girl’s World,” was about to get real! Instead of having to battle my way into player scrums I elected to slide right to where all the action began. From picture taking, to radio interviews each player made their round. I on the other hand politely asked for five minutes of their time and proceed to have a little fun.
The highlights of this grand morning have to be listening to John Lucas III speak about his passion for the game of basketball. He couldn’t help but harp on the fact that he admires the legends that have come before him and paved the way for him and others to play this beautiful game. Let’s not forget he was an integral piece for the Chicago Bulls and their short lived run in the playoffs. I will be bias and say despite him being a third string point guard on the team under both Kyle Lowry and Jose Calderon, he is already my new favorite Toronto Raptor.
A guy I just know is going to be a completely joker and someone to keep an eye out for this season is Landry Fields. He is one of a few players who flew under the radar for a majority of the season and really shone when he was called upon with the New York Knicks. Look for him to continue to build his confidence and be active around the glass. Most importantly, watch out for the tricks he has up his sleeve, which aren’t just for the rookies.
After I began to conduct a couple interviews for my blog I felt comfortable and my neck didn’t feel sore at all. Or at least before I interviewed my main man Amir Johnson. Yes, by now you know that I have interviewed him for the past two years at Cold Stone Creamery and our friendship just continues to evolve. This time around he brought a smile to my face as we played rapid fire and discussed how much he loves to walk around the city. If you didn’t know already he was scouring the town with all the fans during Nuit Blache.
The one thing I learned this media day was not that John Lucas III will stop and talk to any fan that approaches him on the street; but that they call Dominic McGuire the forward out of Fresno State entering his 6th season in the NBA, “Play them things,” because of his dominance in dominos.
The Metro Newspaper on Tuesday October 2nd summed up my Raptors media experience with the awesome picture of Amir and I capturing the essence of previewing the heightened frenzy in Raptorland.