HoopsHype Media rumors


March 26, 2015 Updates

It gave the encounter the feel of a highly personal, Deion vs. McCarver grudge. But Andrew Gilman, who writes for FoxSportsSouthwest.com, said Tramel wasn’t the target. After all, the first reporter Westbrook stiffed that night was Nick Gallo, who writes for the team’s website and whose business card says “Web Content Manager.” “When people ask, ‘Why doesn’t Westbrook like you?’ I have two standard answers,” Tramel said. “My joke is: He really does, he just doesn’t know it yet. My true answer is: He really doesn’t dislike me anymore than he dislikes somebody else. He couldn’t pick me out of a crowd.” Grantland

Royce Young, who writes for ESPN and DailyThunder.com, also noticed something strange that night. Durant was watching Westbrook from two lockers over. And Durant was laughing. Grantland

But Westbrook can also be unnecessarily harsh on reporters. One night, a game ran late. Darnell Mayberry, the Oklahoman’s senior Thunder reporter, was up against deadline. He brought his laptop into the locker room to move quotes directly from the players’ lips to his copy. Mayberry sat in a chair in front of an empty locker. Westbrook saw him and told him the chairs were for players only. Mayberry got up. But then a funny thing happened. Backup point guard Reggie Jackson took his chair, wheeled it across the locker room, and offered it to Mayberry. Remember that when you wonder why Jackson now plays for the Pistons. Grantland

More than once, Durant has accused Mayberry, the toughest of the Thunder reporters, of angling for a job in a bigger market. Durant is sophisticated about the media, but he’s not above the old trick of using a perceived slight for motivation. On December 8, 2013, Paul George visited Oklahoma City. Grantland

“Durant at the All-Star Game said, ‘The media’s not our friends,’” Tramel explained. “Well, he’s right. Nobody on a serious journalism level pretends to be. But with the Thunder, there’s not even an acquaintance. There’s no relationship.” It was a gripe I heard again and again from the Thunder press corps. Nobody held a grudge against Durant or Westbrook. They knew the locker-room scrums would produce a poor harvest. What frustrated the press corps was that the players — especially Durant and Westbrook — remained largely out of reach. Grantland

But in the Thunder locker room, there’s a watchfulness that prevents all but the most formal interactions. Reporters said that nearly every time they approach a player, even with tape recorders holstered, a Thunder PR rep sidles up to listen. “If you have a conversation with a player about parenting, someone is going to be standing right there hovering and trying to steer it whichever way they think it should go,” Mayberry said. “That’s the kind of culture they’ve created here. No one has a personal relationship with any of these guys.” Grantland

This poisons the locker-room atmosphere in much the same way as limited access. “Any question I ask that’s perceived as threatening is going to look worse when these guys are asking softball questions,” Mayberry said. It turns the basic work of journalism into enemy activity. The in-house media has another effect. If Durant and Westbrook talk for tightly controlled amounts of time, questions from team employees can run out the clock. Grantland

The next time they met, Tramel asked Westbrook a question. Westbrook answered it with something other than a Lynchian catchphrase. No one remembers what was said. They simply moved on. “I’m actually more encouraged about our relationship now than I was before,” Tramel said. “Because it’s literally the first time he ever acknowledged that he knew who I was.” Grantland

March 25, 2015 Updates
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March 20, 2015 Updates

Jeff McDonald: Since several have asked: As a general media policy, Spurs tend to treat their players as grown ups who can decide who to talk to and when. That's not to say there aren't occasional frustrations with access, but generally we're allowed to cultivate relationships with these guys. And I think that's good for both parties. You tend to get better info from people who you sort of know, rather than a stranger and on the flip side, it's harder to completely rip an athlete who knows who you are and will see you the next day in the locker room. Twitter @JMcDonald_SAEN

March 18, 2015 Updates

Turner Sports announced the sideline reporter Craig Sager, who has been recovering from leukemia diagnosed 11 months ago, will not work NCAA Basketball Tournament games as schedule. In a statement, Sager said, “I’ve been waiting a long time to return in a full-time basis, but my doctors suggested additional testing and I will not be able to travel to Omaha this week. Physically, I feel great. I’d like to thank everyone for their overwhelming support throughout this journey and look forward to being back very soon.” San Antonio Express-News

Even though his head was lowered, using his peripheral vision, he some somehow managed to catch one of the media delegates taking a picture of him while he was semi-bare." James' response: "That's not cool, man. I don't miss anything." The offender, meanwhile, "was able to manipulate his phone gallery in such a way that buried the most recent pictures taken." But the story doesn't end there, weirdly enough. After the Cavaliers lost to the Miami Heat on Monday, James had a towel on but was speaking to the reporters. Two unnamed members of the media used their phones to snap photos and were caught and removed by a member of the Cavaliers' staff. James was told about the aforementioned removal and had one response: A shake of his head. He joined countless others with the same reaction. Newark Star-Ledger

March 17, 2015 Updates

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