NBA Finals Check-In

by Adam Figman

So, SLAM is in the building. Not the American Airlines Center—yet—but rather this big-ass hotel that a visitor with a poor sense of direction could easily get lost in. (In my case, twice.) They say everything is bigger in Texas, and I can’t confirm that that’s true, but this Hilton is definitely bigger than any of its New York counterparts, at least from what I’ve seen.

I arrived in the Big D a few hours ago, checked in to the hotel, got some tacos at a local bar/grill called the Nodding Donkey (yeah, I dunno) with a friend who lives surprisingly close to the arena, and now I’m posting this quickly before heading over to the stadium in a little while.

Basketball fever has definitely hit the area, but not in the way that it sweeps up smaller, more centralized cities, like Memphis, where I was a few weeks back. The gift shops in the airport are proudly presenting Dirk Nowitzki tees in the front displays, and I saw a few Dirk/Kidd jerseys worn around downtown Dallas. Saw a couple of people rocking Heat gear, too, but those were all on hotel grounds, presumably mega-fans (I guess Miami’s got at least a few of those) in town for the week.

Quick story before I’m out. I needed some in-flight reading material, so on my way out the door this a.m. I randomly grabbed one of the older issues of SLAM in my personal collection—SLAM 39—and was browsing through the pages while struggling to fall asleep on the plane.

(Sidebar: For those of you with old copies hanging around, I definitely recommend thumbing through them every once in a while. Never disappoints, in my biased opinion.)

Came across an interesting Hype piece on Shawn Marion in there. At the time, Marion was a to-be rookie, getting his first SLAM ink after being selected in the first round by the Phoenix Suns. In the story, Marion recollected on a trip to Arizona he took with his juco teammates during his freshman year, and how they saw some NBA players and excitedly took some pics with them.

The guy Marion snagged a photo with? Jason Kidd, of course. In the article, the writer found it pretty wild that the two would be competing for an NBA Championship together in Phoenix a few years after that little incident. It never worked out, but here we are, 15 or so years after a young Marion met one of his favorite players, a decade-plus after the featurette was penned, and things may just come full circle. Or not. We’ll see.

I’ll be holding down a liveblog on the site tonight, so be sure to check back in later for that, while Maurice Bobb will be tweeting from the @SLAMonline account if you follow us on Twitter. (If you don’t, uh, get on that.) See ya soon.