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San Antonio, June 6 -- Eric Snow is back in the NBA Finals. It has been a six-year sojourn from starter to reserve since he was the point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers as they waged battle against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2001 NBA Finals.
Now, as the 11-year vet who comes off the bench for the Cleveland Cavaliers, a bunch of Finals neophytes, he is looked upon as the sage.
"The first thing I did after we won [Eastern Conference Finals]," said Snow, "after taking Sunday off was to establish with them that there will be distractions. I established that there is joy and excitement and stressed to have fun but at the end of the day realizing while we are we want to play our brand of basketball.
"However, this was not the first time, we talked about this moment. It has been a gradual procession. From the beginning of the season, I have been talking to the team about what it takes."
Back in 2001, Snow was the backcourt mate of Allen Iverson, who is a singular talent like LeBron James. With the Sixers, Snow was prompted by Iverson to be that vocal leader while LeBron has taken on the role as well.
"LeBron wants to lead by example and by being a vocal guy," said Snow. "Right now, he's what I like to call 'anxious nervousness' but once the game starts he will be fine."
The Canton, Ohio native, has evolved into an elder statesman - a long way from his youth when his best memories are slapping hands of the Cavaliers players as they entered the court.
A beaming Bruce Bowen declares before a few dozen media members that he is enjoying media availability.
"Talking to you wonderful people is great," said the chatty Bowen.
By Game 5 or so, I wonder if Bowen will be as cheerful. As the Spurs best perimeter defender and the one charged with guarding LeBron James, the obvious gist of the Bowen questioning focused on LeBron.
"I don't know why people are trying to define what kind of player LeBron is. He is a phenomenal player period."
But Bowen has a plan in mind to check the one they call King.
"This is my profession," said Bowen, sounding as serious as singer and Cavs minority owner, Usher, with his chart topping single Confessions. "I prepare for this. I have in my mind what I want to do. As I watch film and study who I will be playing, I come up with ideas on how I should play."
Damon Jones known for his flamboyant ways seems undeterred by the spotlight of the Finals.
"It hit me with about 30 seconds left on the clock [in the clinching Eastern Conference game] when we got an offensive rebound that we were on our way [to the Finals]. But I love this attention. I love it. I love all the cameras in my face so the world can see how handsome I am."
Robert Horry aka Big Shot Rob, who credits former ESPN broadcaster Craig Kilborn with that nickname (a favorite Kilbornism of mine was any highlight of Toni Kukoc being met with song lyric, 'Tony, Toni, Tone, has done it again and it feels good!') spoke on the rumor that he may retire after the Finals.
"I'm not sure where that came from. I have one more year on my contract and I would like to win this year and repeat next year and that would 15 years (and eight rings). My mom also said, 'Donít give that money back.'"