Finals Press Conference and Road Trip Wrap-up

by June 19, 2008

By Sam Rubenstein

Yesterday, Lang, Pascal Giberne, and I took a day trip up to the NBA Finals in Boston. We decided on renting a car at home, driving up for the game and then coming back after it was over. Was it worth 10 hours of driving in one day for roughly 18 minutes of competitive basketball? Well, the trip was fun, we got some mission critical work done, and the good news is that the NBA season is over. Regarding the game, I am writing the game story for the Championship issue of SLAM, and my notes include such insights as “It’s party time already” with about 5 minutes to go in the second quarter. I started downloading the new firefox during the game.

There is nothing more to say about the game itself. The Celtics were awesome, the Lakers sucked. The end. I sat through the postgame press conferences, which were a lot of fun. First came a stunned Phil Jackson. He peaked early. Someone asked him “Were you surprised by the final score?” Phil replied “Let me see what it was…” he looked down at a print out, then said “yes.” Exit Phil, enter Doc… to a standing ovation.

There was a weird mix in the room. The usual beat writers, mixed in with national media stars, but also people that had day passes who were as best I can tell, extended Celtics family. There were ovations for all things Boston. Doc Rivers accepted the accolades, deservedly so. Someone brought out a bottle of Moet and left it on the table for him halfway through the thing. Good for Doc. Once again he got choked up about the recent passing of his father, but maintained composure, no tears.

Paul Pierce entered the room, informed us that he wanted to get this over with because he had some serious partying to do. Well said, sir. Sorry to take up your time. He was in a good mood, and there were more ovations. Up next was Ray Allen and Rondo. That one began on a much more somber tone, with Ray talking about his child’s recent diagnoses of diabetes, and Rondo talked about being happy just to contribute, knowing that he could play as great as he did in the finale. This was the serious basketball and life exchange. We wish the best to the Allen family as they deal with their child’s illness. Yes, very serious and somber… and then KG entered the room…

Ho… lee… sh-t

My closest interaction with KG before last night was at the All-Star Game in Vegas two years ago, at the Steve Nash GQ party. I was amazed watching him down shot after shot, and appear to be unfazed by the alcohol. Last night he entered the room drunk with joy. There was a long clip of his whole “performance” on youtube yesterday but it has been taken down. Here is one exchange with a familiar face. Scoop Jackson sighting! Kevin Garnett is a lot of fun. Even if he brought yet another championship to the city that wins everything all the time, except for the Super Bowl when the almighty Giants triumphed in the greatest victory of all-time.

So, that was it for the Celtics… or so we thought. Waiting around for Kobe, and in comes Scalabrine uninvited. He wanted to fire back at the haters in the media that dared to doubt his Celtics. Another fun press conference, but the media really had nothing to ask him. Scalabrine is funny, good-natured and all, but we were waiting a long time for Kobe.

And yes, Kobe spoke in depressed two or three word answers. That is until the final question, when super journalist Samuel P. Rubenstein, using his “serious voice” got him to open up with damn near a full paragraph’s worth of quasi-coherent thought. God, all of you beat writers and national media superstars are amateurs. Thus concludes the basketball portion of this post. Let’s talk ROAD TRIP!

When I was booking the rental car, the economy option meant no radio. Eff that, we would have been punching each other in the face two hours into the ride. Instead, we had XM Radio and some really surprisingly great stations. Many genres, from classic early 90’s rap to music from the 1940’s. Yes the 1940s! We needed that radio badly because…

The Highway commission posted an outright lie of a road sign, claiming a McDonalds existed somewhere in nowheresville, Connecticut. We ended up taking a tour of the countryside. We saw cows, we saw trees, we saw tractors, we saw a roadside “restaurant” called STEAK. The delerium set in.

Instead of having lots of time to kill, we got to the arena right before the locker rooms opened up, and the media ratio:player availability was infinity. It was dinner time, nothing to “write home about.” Then came the basketball game, the presser, the celebrations, we got out of there by I believe 2 AM. Lang drove us home and kept yelling at me that I wasn’t allowed to go to sleep. The message did not sink in, and I spent much of the trip real groggy. I take back everything I said. It was sleep talk. By 4 AM, I just wanted to sleep so badly, more than anything in the universe. I wanted to go to sleep like KG wanted to win a championship. But I guess that’s not allowed when the driver has to be wide awake and needs people to make sure he doesn’t drive off the road or something. I’m not one of these insomniac stay up all night people. I needs my rest.

Pascal stunned us when some random pop song from the early 90’s was on the radio, and I was desperately trying to figure out what movie it was from, and he called “She’s All That.” Wow! A miracle that makes the game 4 comeback irrelevant by comparison.

We got home safely, I returned the rental car, napped until 2 PM, the NBA season is over, and they all lived happily ever after.