by Lang Whitaker

SAN ANTONIO — Just got back from this morning’s practices. Actually, I didn’t see anyone practice, just went to the team’s media sessions. They had the bigger names (LeBron, Duncan, Tony Parker) in the interview room, which I avoided. All the other players were out on the floor. Some random notes…

• Spurs went first, being the home team. Francisco Elson was drinking some sort of protein drink out of a metal envelope. Very strange.

• Jackie Butler’s beard really is impressive. He said he is growing it out until the Playoffs end, but that he has been trimming it up to keep it from getting “distracting.” Too late, Jackie.

• Jackie also has three gold teeth, randomly distributed in his mouth.

• Oh, and he loves baseball, and he played in high school back in Mississippi. He played first base, was a pitcher (threw a fastball, curve and splitter) and he played “hind catcher.” Made me recall growing up in the South with “hind catcher.”

• While everyone else was rocking practice gear, Matt Bonner had on khakis and a plaid button-up shirt. I asked one of the Toronto beat writers why Bonner was dressed like that: “That’s just how he rolls.”

• Quin Snyder was in the house. Or maybe it was Andrew McCarthy. He looked pretty smarmy. That could just be me projecting because I know he went to Duke.

• Spurs GM RC Buford rolled in wearing jeans and a button-up with loud collars and cuffs. I don’t know if Bryan Colangelo’s biting off him or the other way around.

• Drew Gooden calls his haircut “the ducktail,” and he says it was a big thing when he was growing up back in the ’80s in the Bay Area. I took a close-up shot of it while Drew was fielding questions from the media. It’s really thick back there. And kind of gross.

• I also got Drew to give me his five favorite things about the ’80s. It’ll be posted here on SI.com eventually.

• I stood with Drew the entire time, maybe 20 minutes, and he was asked 10 questions about LeBron James. The only interesting thing he said about Bron is that he can listen to a rap album once and memorize all the lyrics.

And that was that. Fun, right? I’ll be back at some point tonight with more from the Finals…