I'm no longer sure who I'm writing these pieces for. It started out as for everyone else to enjoy what I did but I'm pretty sure that this final one is just for my benefit.
A (lengthy) bullet point list, if you will, of some of my highlights from the 4-5 days I got to spend with the NBA.
- Getting that 'Media Pass' for the first time and having the lanyard round my neck.
- Getting free media food.
- Making Avery Johnson laugh.
- Speaking to LB about his time in Phoenix and seeing his face light up.
- Speaking to Jay Triano, Jerryd Bayless and Sundiata Gaines away from the glare of the media and without my recorder turned on and finding out how down to earth and normal they are.
- Telling Jerryd Bayless that his good performances in the '09 playoffs against the Suns hurt me.
- Making him laugh because of it.
- Telling Robert Horry I hated him for what he did to the Suns and Steve Nash.
- Finding out that I could hold my own in a media scrum.
- Being able to say I was part of a 'media scrum'.
- Getting free media drinks.
- Going 'behind the curtains' with the NBA and seeing things that cameras don't.
- Sitting in on a press conference, asking a question and not sounding like a nervous teenage boy.
- Speaking to Jordan Farmar like I would a mate.
- And him talking to me the same in return (We're not mates).
- The feeling of satisfaction at having prepared questions and ask them. Preparation for the win.
- Hearing LB whinge about how quick strength and conditioning coach, Francesco Cuzzolin, was running through the warm up.
- Listening to P.J Carlesimo drop a ton of F-Bombs during practice and have Bayless remind him that the media were present.
- Making Brook Lopez laugh. The man, from the outside, is scarier than the Blair Witch Project and the Ring put together (cue backlash stating those films weren't scary...)
- Having that media pass at home as a constant reminder of what I accomplished.
- Finding out first hand that Demar Derozan has no fear about becoming the next franchise player for the Raptors despite the potential to be booed mercilessly if he ever left ala Chris Bosh and Vince Carter.
- Watching in person as the Nets players shoot half court shots to end a practice. I'd heard so many stories about teams doing it and although it isn't a shocking thing by any stretch, I was still happy to see it.
- Sitting in on an afternoon Raptors practice session despite being told we could only stay for 30 minutes.
- Visiting the Lithuanian Embassy for a presentation, rocking up too late for said presentation but still being able to indulge in the sandwiches, the beer and a talk with a rather unwilling Arydas Sabonis.
- Drinking that morning starbucks coffee from the o2 arena everyday to start the day and feeling like 'this is what the media do...so this makes me a media member'.
- Evaluating the Nets dancers with Hoopsfix.com creator, Sam Neter, being overly critical of them but knowing that they were all WELL out of our league.
- Cringing at the kiss cam as it focused on uncomfortable couples but ultimately thinking it was funny and likeable when the couples looked more being on it.
- Seeing the mexican wave take place in the arena, hating it and then turning to Twitter to see that I wasn't alone in my dislike of it.
- Hearing players give standard or off topic responses to well thought out questions.
- Sitting in the press section during the second game, looking up at the very back row and being so grateful to have the chance to be a fan in a privileged position.
- Hearing players asked the same questions over and over again and then smiling when they give cold sounding answers knowing that fans hearing the interviews will think the players are rude but knowing why they give those responses.
- Having Popeye Jones call me 'Sir' and then asking me for directions like a tourist.
- Having Kris Humphries non-news worthy response to my question quoted on the website of a UK national paper website and also a Toronto paper online.
- The other journalists during my few days at the O2. Genuinely decent folk who were more than happy to give me some advice without making me feel stupid or incompetent.
- Doing the media work for free. There's something about doing work for free that gives me an extra buzz, like I'm doing myself a favour or something.
- Receiving an email from NBA Europe saying 'You're in'.
Thanks NBA. You really are 'Where amazing happens'.