MEDIA AVAILABILITY OPENS ALL-STAR FESTIVITIES
NEW ORLEANS – Each year, the format and even the questions are fairly repetitive, especially for multiple-time All-Stars like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.
But even as they are being asked about the host city, what it means to play in the game and to give a litany of “shout outs” and responses to fans around the globe, the annual All-Star media availability on Friday never ceases to be interesting.
Griffin and Paul were stationed across from one another in a large ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans with the rest of the members of the Western Conference’s team and Head Coach Scott Brooks spread out through the room. Each player was seated at a dais on a riser with a blue All-Star backdrop, a white name card on the table and a scrum of reporters in a half-moon shape hovering around them.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant drew a large crowd of the more than 1,800 credentialed media members slated to cover All-Star Weekend as did Dwight Howard and hometown forward Anthony Davis. Paul and Griffin were highly sought after as well. They both answered questions for the duration of the 40 minutes they were in the ball room. It ranged from a play on the newly renamed Smoothie King Center in New Orleans: “If you had to market a smoothie what would you put in it and what would you call it?” to what’s your favorite meal to what’s on your iPod to a number of basketball-related questions.
Asked if the Clippers are ready to win a championship, Griffin said, “That’s the goal. Obviously, over the past three years the Heat, the Thunder and the Spurs and now Indiana have been the teams at the top every single year. So, those are the teams that you have to conquer if you want to call yourself a champion.”
Talk of the second half of the season consumed much of the day. Reporters wanted to know if the East was a two-team race between Indiana and the Heat and how the West could shake out. Brooks, who is the Western Conference coach for the second time in his career, thinks there could be as many as three deserving teams in the West miss out on the Playoffs.
And that’s somewhat of the beauty of the NBA’s media day in the middle of the season. Everything is discussed, all at once, in a flood of 30-45 minutes.
Paul said in the days leading up to All-Star Weekend that he was excited to return to New Orleans and now that he’s in the Crescent City, he said “I’m biased. I can’t take my bias out of it. I love it.”
Here are some more of the zanier questions from reporters to Griffin and his responses:
Question: “It’s Valentine’s Day, what’s your go-to romantic comedy?”
Griffin: “Do you consider ‘I Love You Man’ a romantic comedy?”
Question: “What’s your pick to win best picture at the Oscars?”
Griffin: “The one movie I loved was ‘Wolf of Wall Street.’”
Question: “What player past or present would you most want to dunk on?”
Griffin: “Probably a great shot blocker like [Dikembe] Mutombo. No disrespect, but to me it’s just the challenge of dunking on somebody that’s such a great player, such a great defender.”