by Kamal Hylton
Hello War Room Nation!
This is Kamal Hylton, your boy from North of the Border, a writer/editor for NBA Nation Australia and part of the War Room Family with The Gaffer and Hooligan Soccer Podcast on the War Room Sports Podcast Network.
While the podcast is taking a break, I thought I’d hop onto the WRS Blog and give you a weekly view on the NBA… through my eyes.
I’m not feelin’ Russell Westbrook’s Interview
By now you’ve all seen Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook’s interview, the one where he only used the word “execution” in all its various forms to answer reporters’ questions after the Thunder beat the Western Conference leading Golden State Warriors 127-115 and he had a career night of 17pts, 17ast and 15rebs.
To refresh your memory or for those that haven’t seen it, here it is:
Most people have come out and said things like “Screw the media!” and “Let Russ be Russ!”. I’m all for players being themselves and sometimes members of the media ask questions that deserve these types of answers, like when a reporter asked Westbrook this question in 2013.
However this trend is going too far and I’m now completely against it for a few reasons.
This isn’t even creative or original, copying Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s “Thankful” interview doesn’t get him any type of respect or brownie points with me… it just makes him look corny. Also, none of those questions were out of line in any way or could even be considered “dumb”. After the third use of “execution”, I would’ve shut my recorder/video camera off and walked away. Reporters only get limited time for post-game interviews, this nonsense cost those guys battery life and space on their devices as well as time that could’ve been spent with more engaging players.
Most of all it lacks professionalism on Westbrook’s part, those guys are there to do a job just like him and even if he doesn’t like doing interviews or has a problem with a particular reporter, I don’t think it’s that hard to suck it up and answer questions with an ounce of respect. Maybe I’m biased being part of the media, but this one word answer thing from players has gone from funny to tired REALLY quickly.
I’d love a Spurs vs. Hawks NBA Finals for one reason
I know it’s WAY too early to be talking about NBA Finals predictions, but the way the Hawks have been playing during this wining streak (currently at 13 games at the moment of writing this) has me wanting them to make the finals. Picking up the moniker “Spurs East”, I’d actually love to see them take on San Antonio for one major storyline.
Mike Budenholzer vs. Gregg Popovich… or what I like to refer to as Karate Kid vs. Mr. Miyagi.
Their story has the makings of a Hollywood film, let me set the scene.
Budenholzer spent 19 years under Popovich in San Antonio, working his way up from an unpaid video coordinator to assistant coach and as his right hand man. Together they won four NBA championships, Budenholzer playing the role of understudy to Pop until this season. Now striking out on his own, coach Bud has taken over a middling Atlanta Hawks team using the teachings of his grand master to make them one of the best in the association.
If Spike Lee or Steven Spielburg got hold of that script it’d be an instant hit! Being a self professed “basketball nerd”, I’m most fascinated by the high level game of human chess that these two would be playing on national TV. Popovich taught Budenholzer pretty much everything he knows about NBA coaching, but did he save a few tricks back for a moment like this?
I’m on the edge of my seat just thinking about the possibility of this game.
Dennis Schroder is my Homeboy!
I’m sure you all have non “superstar” players that you love watching or are fans of that others don’t understand why, maybe it’s the intense way he plays defense? jumps out of the gym? or drops dimes?
Well that player for me is Dennis Schroder, the second year German backup point guard on the Atlanta Hawks. Now I know what you’re thinking, why is he one of your favorite players? For one thing he has a smoothness to his game this season that’s enjoyable to watch on this Hawks team and the way he attacks the basket shows that few players can stay in front of him, how he comes off screens and glides to the rim is reminiscent of a slithering snake. The other reason why I like him is for the nickname that’s quickly catching on, Dennis “The Menace” is not only catchy but fits his style of play to a tee. It’s actually on a t-shirt, one that I bought myself (http://www.redbubble.com/people/laff/works/13048484-dennis-the-menace). I actually spoke with him for a few minutes after the Hawks defeated the Raptors at Air Canada Centre recently, talking about his development, the nickname and the fact he has fans in Australia.
(*Dennis Schroder interview courtesy of NBA Nation Australia)
He was fantastic, he’s a quiet guy but I get the feeling that’s mostly because of the minor language barrier. He has a great command of the English language, better than some people born in North America, but I get the feeling once he’s fluent in all the little nuances and references that he’ll hold his own in the trash talking department.
That’s all for now, but I’ll leave you with this cool “NBA On NBA” theme remix that recently came out by Boy Pierce.
To catch all my NBA writing, photos and videos be sure to visit NBA Nation Australia (http://nbanationaustralia.com) and follow them on Twitter @NBANationOz (https://twitter.com/NBANationOz).
Kamal Hylton of NBA Nation Australia, for War Room Sports