The Friday of All-Star Weekend is set aside each year for players participating in the All-Star Game or All-Star Saturday to be available for extensive interview time. Last February, All-Star Media Day was held at one of the hotels on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans. It was an interesting experience to say the least, with all 24 of the All-Star players gathered in one place.
Even if you knew nothing about the NBA, just by walking around the ballroom, you could tell which players are the superstars, because invariably there are about 30 reporters crowding around that players station, all trying to get close enough to hear whats being said. As the most well-known representative of the host city in 2008, first-time All-Star Chris Paul was mobbed by media. Meanwhile, the always-low key David Wests station attracted a handful of reporters. Since I wasnt excited about the idea of having to push my way into position to hear CP3, I headed directly to Wests spot. With the majority of everyone else scrambling to get sound bites from LeBron, Kobe, Dirk and various other guys fans may know on a one-name basis, I was the first reporter to talk to West - and the lone media type to ask him a question for about the first five minutes.
Yesterday in Phoenix, Paul and West spent the first three hours of their day handling mandatory aspects of All-Star Friday. It began at 10:45 a.m., with the two-time All-Stars making stops along the NBA Entertainment media circuit, including getting their pictures taken by NBA photos, then being interviewed by ESPN Radio, ESPN television and NBA TV.
After that, all 12 members of the Western Conference All-Star team held a meeting, normally a very casual and informal session where players are introduced to the coaches and the agenda for the next 48-72 hours is briefly discussed. From 12:30 to 1:15, the Western Conference players were made available to the media, allowing the large contingent of reporters to speak with Paul, West and their teammates.
Following a 45-minute break, the Hornets stars headed out into the Phoenix community to participate in the annual NBA Day of Service at 2 p.m. Paul, who has done plenty of hands-on work in NOLA over the past couple years, had another chance to do so at Phoenixs Cesar Chavez Elementary. There Paul was joined by Dirk Nowitzki and Brandon Roy, as the trio worked on the schools Rebuilding Together Project.
Pauls busy day continued with three sponsor events, including a meeting with Right Guard from 4:30 to 5:30, and a Brand Jordan dinner at 7. Paul later attended an evening party hosted by Vitamin Water.