Inside The Huddle
I’m often asked what a road trip with the Warriors is like, and so, with the accompanying photos, I will attempt to do so. What does a team do to prepare for a game? What is the travel like? What do players do with all that downtime? All of these questions are not particular to the Warriors, and for many NBA teams the routine is the same with subtle variations for each team and each head coach. With that in mind, let me take you behind-the-scenes and "inside the huddle" on the Warriors' recent east coast road trip where they played four games in five nights.

We have also assembled some accompanying photo galleries to go along with this journal. To view those, click here.




January 1, 2002 - Oakland to Cleveland

10:40 a.m.---
Arrive at the airport in Oakland and the luggage is stowed in the plane. Fortunately, on a chartered flight, we don't have to walk through the terminal and proceed straight to the plane on the tarmac. The flight to Cleveland will take over five hours.

11:15 a.m. ---
We take off on the New Years holiday and head east.

2:20 p.m. (West Coast Time) ---
I am working on the plane preparing for the Cavaliers. As I work the coaching staff is watching tape of the previous games. The players are studying film, watching DVD movies, playing cards or sleeping.

8:40 p.m. (East Coast Time) ---
Arrive in Ohio where it is cold and there is a hint of snow in the air. California seems far, far away.

1:00 a.m. ---
With my body on west coast time, I’m still wide awake and try to read myself to sleep. Happy New Year!!!




January 2, 2002 - Cleveland
9:45 a.m. ---
I head downstairs where I board our bus, which takes the team to a morning shoot-around. With everyone still bleary eyed, the shoot-around begins at Gund Arena at 10:00 a.m. (7:00 a.m. California time). At a morning shoot-around, the players break a sweat and take some shots to warm up. Then, they run through some of the plays and sets that they will use in the game. Assistant coach Marc Osowski will demonstrate the plays they feel the opposition will use and how the Warriors will try and defend them.

11:00 a.m. ---
Back to the hotel.

12:30 p.m.---
I go to lunch with the Warriors PR representative where we discuss the trip and the NBA in general. We are the only people in the restaurant with sweat pants on.

1:30 p.m. ---
After the lunch I enter the mall, which always seems to be near our hotels. NBA players will use this haven of shopping as a way of killing time and shopping for family and friends. Armed with a cup of Caribou Coffee, I head back to the hotel where I work on the broadcast. Most of the players are sleeping at this time, but unfortunately for me, I have no such capacity to nap in the afternoon. I guess it is a sign of age.

4:30 p.m. ---
I head to Gund Arena where I make final preparations, interview Cavaliers Coach John Lucas and talk with players, coaches, fellow broadcasters and writers.

6:50 p.m. ---
Ten minutes until game time and the Warriors gather back by the locker room before heading out to the floor.

10:30 p.m. ---
Following the game, I head to the bus and it is snowing outside.

11:30 p.m. ---
After having our plane de-iced, we take off and head to Charlotte.




January 3, 2002 - Charlotte

1:15 a.m. ---
A rather bumpy landing in Charlotte brings us to a southern city paralyzed by a freak snowstorm.

2:00 a.m. ---
The hotel is littered with our bags. It is a tremendous chore to load and unload the bags and Athletic Trainer Tom Abdenour and Equipment Manager Eric Housen organize it and handle it without complaint. At the hotel, the hotel staff will place everyone’s room keys out on a table to forgo the usual “check-in” process. One of the perks of a very large traveling party, I guess. After grabbing our keys, it’s off to bed.

10:00 a.m. ---
When the Warriors play back-to-back games on the road, they often substitute a team breakfast for the shoot-around. The players eat and the coaches hold a meeting where they discuss strategy, watch tape and go over the same details they would at the shoot-around.




11:00 a.m. ---
After my breakfast of grits, eggs and bacon, it’s back to work while it snows and in effect - terrorizing the Piedmont Hotel.

1:00 p.m. ---
I wander down to the workout room in the hotel, and while I ride the exercise bike, I read recent newspaper articles on Charlotte and the NBA.

4:30 p.m. ---
Once again, it’s on a bus and off to the arena. Usually, the Warriors have two bus times to depart for the game. The early bus brings the assistant coaches and players who look to get in extra work before the contest. The late bus brings the head coach and the rest of the roster.

6:00 p.m. ---
Antawn is back “home” in North Carolina, so he has many friends and family coming to the game and sits down with “This Week in the A.C.C” for an interview to catch up on some of his North Carolina days.

10: 45 p.m.--- After playing in front of some 800 fans who braved the storm, the Warriors embark on their usual post-game ritual. Bus. Plane. Flight to the next city - in this case Orlando.

1:00 a.m.--- We arrive at the hotel in Florida, and as usual, are greeted by sports card dealers. They know the schedules and the hotels we stay in and when the players step off the bus they have cards on clipboards ready for the players to sign. They take the cards back to their stores and the price obviously increases with the players signature. Whether it is 2:00 in the afternoon or 2:00 in the morning, they will always be out front of every hotel in the NBA.




January 4, 2002 - Orlando
Coaches sometimes prescribe a day off, but in this case, after losing the first two games, Brian Winters calls for a practice. The practices are held in various places, ranging from the other team’s arena, college gyms or in this case, the Magic’s practice facility.

11:00 a.m. ---
The Warriors get on the bus and head to practice. A two-hour workout with some weight room work at the facility, which is one of the best in the league.

5:00 p.m. ---
I hop into a cab with colleague Jim Barnett to venture to NBA City where we will broadcast the “Radio Roundtable” and after that sit down to dinner with Coach Winters and his staff. The restaurant put our party in a special room where we watch the Orlando-New Jersey game along with Miami’s contest.




January 5, 2002 - Orlando

11:00 a.m. ---
Another shoot around and at this one, Tracy McGrady’s name is mentioned often.

12:30 p.m. ---
Lunch with a couple of the writers at Johnson’s, an Orlando soul-food landmark, where we run into Dean Oliver, Antawn and Gilbert Arenas. I recommend the peach cobbler.

4:45 p.m. ---
I get on the bus for one of the shortest rides in the league as T.D. Waterhouse Center is located directly opposite the hotel where the team resides. As far as pregame rituals for NBA players go, it varies greatly. Some players like to shoot early, others sit quietly in front of their locker, listening to music or watching tape of their opponent that evening.

11:00 p.m. ---
Bus. Plane. You're starting to get the drill. The loss to the Magic makes the trip a potential 0-4 sojourn.




January 6, 2002 - Miami

1:00 a.m. ---
We arrive at the hotel in Miami and again, the front of the hotel is filled with Warriors luggage. What’s amazing about Miami is its’ late night energy. The hotel we stay at is located in Coconut Grove and at 2:00 a.m., there are more people on the streets than there will be at noontime.

11:00 a.m. ---
Another breakfast meeting.

1:00 p.m. ---
I force myself to get out of the hotel room (the view from my hotel room when I wake up helps get me out and about) and I read game notes while I eat lunch. Game notes are an endless compilation of stats and information about the Warriors and their opponents. The public relations staffs of the respective team’s involved prepare them.

4:30 p.m. ---
I share a cab with Matt Steinmetz of the Contra Costa Times and arrive at the American Airlines Arena.

11:30 p.m. ---
After losing four games in five nights , the Warriors prepare to depart Miami, which is the longest flight of the year for Golden State, over seven hours when you count a refueling stop.

3:00 a.m.(East Coast Time) ---
Land in Omaha, Nebraska and the refueling begins.

3:45 a.m. ---
Depart Omaha, Bay Area bound.

4:00 a.m.(West Coast Time) --- 7:00 a.m. (East Coast Time) ---
And we are informed by the flight crew that the Oakland Airport is closed because of fog.

4:30 a.m. ---
We are diverted to San Jose and Athletic Trainer Tom Abdenour - who is also the club's unofficial "director of travel" -calls for buses to pick us up.

5:20 a.m. ---
Buses arrive in San Jose and after loading all of our bags, a very tired traveling party heads to Oakland, arriving at 6:30 a.m, roughly 10 hours after leaving Miami. It’s the glamour part of the job.

I depart the airport, hitting rush hour morning traffic and realize that in 36 hours, the Warriors will welcome the Milwaukee Bucks at the Arena.