Wednesday, April 7th, 2010 at 2:24 pm  |  28 responses

Links: Hot Tub Time Machine

Plus a tour of the SLAM Dome…

by Lang Whitaker

I woke up yesterday morning at 4:45 AM. That part sucked. The rest of the day, however, was tremendous. You guys know I’ve been repping SLAM all year on NBA TV as a member of the show “The Beat.” Every Tuesday night for the last 21 weeks in a row (except for New Year’s), I’ve Skyped in from NYC and joined our host, Marc Fein, who’s in Atlanta at the Turner/NBA TV studios, and David Aldridge, who’s usually in D.C. We’ve had so many other guests — usually two or three each week — that I can’t remember them all, as we discuss whatever the biggest news in the NBA each week.

Besides getting SLAM on TV each week, it’s been an amazing experience for me, personally, just learning how all this TV stuff works. Marc and DA are pros at it, but I’ve kind of learned on the fly. For instance, I figured out that when you’re on camera but nobody’s talking to you or about you, you’re supposed to just stare at the camera and smile. The first show we did, I just stared into the camera when they weren’t talking to me, and when I watched it back I realized that I looked like the saddest person in the world. The next week I smiled into the camera. If you walked by my desk when we’re filming the show and you see me staring into the camera and smiling, I’m sure it looks weird. But on TV it looks normal. So there’s that. It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s been tremendous working Marc and DA and the guys behind the scenes there at Turner every week.

Anyway, yesterday. with Marc taking a vacation before the Playoffs get cracking, the Powers That Be at NBA TV flew me and DA into Atlanta for the day to do a special version of The Beat. So I woke up at the crack of dawn and hustled over to the airport, where I immediately got upgraded to first class. By nature, I am a suspicious person, always waiting for the other shoe to drop, and when you get the rare first class upgrade to start the day, it would seem things would be downhill from there. Only they weren’t.

I landed in Atlanta and went down to the NBA TV studios in the Turner compound. Hung out with Sekou, Dennis Scott and Brent Barry, taped a segment on The Jump with them and my main man Kyle Montgomery. Grabbed lunch with DA and our producer Jeremy Levin, then had a production meeting for “The Beat” where I found myself sitting next to Kevin McHale for an hour while he told all kinds of stories about playing with the Celts and being an NBA GM. We then taped The Beat, and by 5:30 PM, I was sharing a car to the airport with DA, caught an earlier flight home, got upgraded again, and by 9:45 PM, I was sitting on the couch back in Manhattan. Word to Ice Cube, I gotta to say it was a good day.

I may not provide you with 15 minutes of reading today, but here’s 30 minutes worth of watching. First is a clip from The Jump where I visited the guys to talk about the new issue of SLAM. I was also able to make fun of Sekou for wearing a vest, which was really the only thing I wanted to talk about on there.

Now let’s go to The Beat. The theme of the show was the past, present and future of the NBA, so DA came up with a reference to Hot Tub Time Machine, and the guy over at Turner who makes all the funny drawings (like the Gone Fishin’ pics) whipped up a Hot Tub Time Machine photo with all of us for this segment. That might actually be my favorite part of the day yesterday, that I was included in one of Turner’s funny drawings. Maybe I’ll make the Hawks’ Gone Fishing picture this year when the Hawks lose in the Finals. Anyway, here’s the beginning of The Beat…

On to the B-block, where we talked about the present of the NBA, mainly the Western Conference Playoff race. I totally took the easy way out when DA asked us which team we’d be if we had our choice.

The C-block was about the future of the NBA, and teams we thought were set up well going forward. During the production meeting I’d taken Milwaukee as the team I was going to talk about, and I knew the staff was going to get video of the Bucks, but as I brought it up on the air I suddenly got terrified they were going to show that Bogut injury video, which I never want to see again. But they didn’t. (Also, I gave a hand signal shout-out to Mad Dog Carter at the end of this segment.)

And for the last block we did our Three Points, which is how we end every show. The great thing about doing the show via Skype is that normally when we do our final point, I write out a script, position it just under the camera on my computer screen, and then basically just read it on air, like a teleprompter. But I couldn’t do that yesterday so I just winged it. Turned out fine, though.

And while we’re having A/V Club day today on The Links, I’ll throw this one in too, since it was emailed to me this morning. A couple of week back, a reporter from Canal Plus in Spain called and said he was in town, and he asked if he could come film something in the SLAM Dome. I invited him thru, and he ended up taping a bit about the best SLAM covers since 2002, which is when Pau Gasol came to the NBA and Spain really got interested in the L.

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  • http://slamonline.com Matt Lawyue

    Nice accent Lang.

  • http://slamonline.com josh d

    Great stuff Lang, way to represent for SLAM

  • http://Www.slamonline.com Myles Brown

    Don’t bet on Denver!

  • Milan

    The Spanish make Slam sound like Islam.

  • http://slamonline.com/ Tzvi Twersky

    Jealous of hearing the McHale Boston stories.

  • addam

    In response to what Sekou said during the three point segment about march madness; It’s the 7 game playoff format that dilutes the NBA playoffs. One and done creates excitement because so much is riding on each game! It’s the unpredictability that gives the NCAA tourniment it’s appeal. Do you know why nobody fills out an NBA bracket? Because it’s too easy to predict the results!

  • Marcel Mutoni

    Wait, Lang is white?!

  • http://digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    @addam: I disagree. Seven games lets teams prove who is really superior. Anyone can win a single game…winning a series means you HAVE to be the better team. ANd sekou’s main point was that in a game that is considered a classic already (Duke/Butler), there were only 3 field goals in the final eight minutes…how is that exciting again? How is watching teams swing the ball around the perimeter to jack up horrible threes because of zone defense more exciting? My favorite college defense is the “college kids play harder than NBA players, and they aren’t making millions of dollars”. BULLSH!T. I’d like to see a college team trying their very hardest to beat the Lakers/Cavaliers on a lazy day…just aint going to happen. I want to see plays executed, not a bunch of guys diving around playing ugly hustle ball.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    FWIW, I thought that the Butler/Duke game wasn’t a “great” game, but it was a fun game to watch.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Nima Zarrabi

    Nice work, Lang. In that first segment, did Montgomery not get the blue oxford memo?

  • Jesse Dunns Ghost

    What does FWIW mean?

  • http://www.slamonline.com Chris O’Leary

    Caught this today on Raptors TV, nice work. Do you think they use a glass table in the segment to show that McHale isn’t paying people under it? An old joke, I know. But it’s a good one.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Nima: Good question.
    @JesseDunnsGhost: For What It’s Worth
    @Chris: Funny, right before we taped they told us don’t touch that table under any circumstances or it would collapse.

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  • Hubert

    I bet Lang could pass as a Seth Rogen double. A little bit of sun may help, though.

  • thedimemachine

    Caught this yesterday. All the way from the Philippines. Way to rep SLAM, good sir.

  • http://www.nba.com/suns Dacre

    F.or W.hat I.t’s W.orth NCAA is awesome and the NBA is awesome. Even playing at the Snakepit in downtown Wollongong is awesome. go back to MySpace haters.

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  • http://tudobola.blogspot.com/ Edu

    Lang, did you read Bill Simmons piece about Sheed?


  • spit hot fiyah

    Eslam, that’s niiice. Milan is right. U guys should do a cover with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, Shareef, and Larry Johnson: Eslam

  • riggs

    FWIW lang looks like a retired MMA fighter

  • http://digitalthread.com AlbertBarr

    @Riggs: Hilarious comment. Sorry, Lang.

  • http://slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @Riggs: Coulda been much worse.
    @Dacre: Didn’t say NCAA wasn’t entertaining. It just wasn’t good basketball. There’s a reason not many of those guys make it to the NBA.

  • craptor

    Does the camera really add 10 lbs?
    I would have liked to see a 3-D vs L Dubb p90x-a-thon.
    I got my money on Lang!
    3-D where ya at? Nick Ander where ya at?

  • TyMo

    Good grief, Lang. We just can’t keep you off the tube right now. EJ, Jet, and Chuck better watch their jobs.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Lang Whitaker

    @craptor: More like 15. HD sucks.

  • http://www.realcavsfans.com Anton

    Invest in a new “dome”. For real.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    ‘Not dangerous snake’.