Fan Blog: One Fan's Take on Media Day
By John Hartman, hornets.com Fan Blogger
Hornets fan blogger John Hartman is a lifelong Charlotte basketball fan and current Swarm 365 team member. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Hornets organization.
A few weeks ago I received an invite to attend Hornets Media Day and very quickly responded, yes! The entire day was an experience, from initially walking from the locker room area out of the players’ tunnel and onto the court, to interviewing the players and coaches. Before I knew it, I was sitting in on Head Coach Steve Clifford’s Media Day press conference. In person it’s easy to see how genuine coach is and how much he loves the game of basketball. He answers each question with the same passion as the last and doesn’t skirt around the difficult questions. While he has high hopes for the team this year, he knows that outside of the Top 3 teams (Cleveland, Boston and Toronto), the Eastern Conference is up for grabs. The underdog mentality is something the team needs to feed off of this year and from what I could gather, the team has already adopted it. When asked if he thought people have high expectations for the team this year, Coach Clifford was very quick to dispell that theory in a tone that sounded as if he felt the Hornets were being disrespected. His hunger and passion to lead this team are as high as ever. Roy Hibbert elaborated that Kemba scheduled player-only workouts at the beginning of September, of which the majority of the team attended.
The rest of Media Day was run like a well-oiled machine where players moved from station to station at timed intervals. There were photoshoots where players took action shots. The player reactions to being sprayed with water at these stations to simulate sweat were great. Apparently the water was pretty cold. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist jokingly forced Christian Wood out of his shoot early, noting it was his birthday so he got to do whatever he wanted. Of course MKG told Christian he was joking and let the shoot continue. Then there were the general media interviews, aka let’s see how many cameras and microphones can fit in a 10-foot square area. Surprisingly the questions flowed without people cutting each other off. The most memorable moment at this station was when Frank Kaminsky was asked who had the nicest car on the team. He responded by saying Kemba has a nice little Jaguar and for us to notice how he stressed the word little because Kemba is tiny. Throughout the day you could tell the team chemistry off the court remains strong. The new guys – including Roy Hibbert, Ramon Sessions, and Marco Belinelli – were all excited to join the team and commented on how they felt during the free-agency process. This is again a testament to the coaching staff and players who are making Charlotte a free-agent destination rather than an afterthought.
The remaining stations included interviews with WFNZ, Matt Rochinski and Matt Carroll (Live with Matt and Matt) on hornets.com, and a social media station that produced some epic snapchat selfies. Frank’s was the winner there in my mind. I recommend checking all the pictures out. While all of this sounds like a full day’s work for the players, in reality, it was a whirlwind tour that only lasted a couple hours. Just another day in the life of a professional athlete. Overall, I walk away from my experience encouraged that this team is hungry to get the season started and has the tools to compete in the East this season.