Monday, June 23, 2008

Notes from the exit interviews

So I went ahead and watched all of the Lakers exit interviews. Of note to me:

Sasha:

My favorite moment of his interview was around 4:48 when he said, "I want to be the best shooting guard in the NBA." There was just something so sweet about the way he said it, his complete seriousness about the sentiment expressed, the way the reporters all laughed even though it wasn't clear whether they were laughing AT or laughing WITH.

Reporter: "You know, there's uh, a pretty good one here already [in reference to Kobe Bean Bryant], is that like a challenge?"

Sasha responds with complete confidence: "It is a challenge. I know what I can do . . ."

And you know what? He's absolutely right. Everybody should be trying to improve and working to be the best. Good for him.

I think this whole exchange illustrates why Kobe enjoys Sasha a lot too (although, strangely, Kobe calls him "Shi-Shi." Has anyone heard this nickname before?)

Andrew Bynum:

The thing that struck me about his interview was how much more specific he is than most athletes. Examples --

When he talks about whether or not he's completely healed, he doesn't just say "I feel great" or "I only have a little bit of pain" but specifically says he feels mostly healthy and has only a small amount of pain and swelling on the left side due to scar tissue which is supposed to heal within the next 2-3 weeks. He goes on to clarify that there is no pain underneath the kneecap.

When he is asked about how he thinks things will work with him and Pau playing side by side, most athletes would give some boring answer about being "unselfish" and "making sacrifices to help the team" and "he's a great player and I'm sure we'll work well together." But Bynum doesn't really resort to cliche, he actually paints a detailed picture of what things will look like: "he can be on the weak side with Kobe . . . he'll be playing the pinch-post, isolating on the wing and the side-block, and I'll be in there . . . boxing out and getting rebounds . . . getting in post position and waiting for him to pass me the ball."

When discussing what he needs to improve for the summer, he could have used some version of the uninformative answers everyone else gave: "you know, just becoming a better player, keep working every day," or "shooting, ball-handling, passing, defense, free throws, setting screens, moving off the ball, watching tape, sitting on the bench, getting dressed, and so forth" or something along those lines. But instead: "There are two areas I want to focus on, one being rebounding and one being lateral quickness, because obviously the screen and roll gave us some problems . . .. Being able to pursue rebounds, and being able to jump quicker to get them back in."

I heart specificity.

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