By Tank Spencer
There are a lot of perks that come with a radio gig. That's a big reason why many of us settle for the modest pay and long hours. Saturday was one of those days for me. I had the opportunity to cover my first NBA Playoff game as the Charlotte Bobcats tried to snag a game from the Miami Heat. That didn't happen, but it was still a good day for me.
Upon entry to Time Warner Cable Arena, I was ushered to the media work area, right next door to the media room. My first sports celeb sighting was damn near running into Chris Andersen of the Miami Heat while trying to figure out where to set my bag. That's a battle that despite my 300 lbs. physique, I would've most certainly lost. "The Birdman" is 6'10'' with a mohawk and a beard that rivals a Norse folk hero. LeBron James would put it best in the postgame press conference by saying he's got an "intimidating" look, something right out of Sons of Anarchy.
After locking eyes with guys like Ray Allen, Greg Oden and ESPN's Chris Broussard, I was like a kid in a candy store.
Another big perk to media is the free food. Entering the media dining area, my pulse shot up as there sat Hornets legend and Bobcats TV analyst Dell Curry. After enjoying my BBQ dinner, I made my way over to introduce myself. I thanked Curry for recently being a guest on the show, though I know he didn't remember at all having spoke with me on the phone. It was still pretty awesome.
Feeling sorta like I'm somebody now, having walked the locker room area and standing within inches of the greatest player in the league (LeBron James), I made my way toward my seat in the press section. That's where I found this name card waiting on me...
Of course! Thank you Lord for knocking me back down to Earth.
The game wasn't much to speak of after the 1st quarter, but during the opening frame... it was heaven. The arena was electric as the Cats made play after play and had an early lead on the Heat. Every time LeBron touched the ball the boos rained down from all corners of the arena. When his shot was stuffed by Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the place almost exploded. Al Jefferson set a franchise record with 15 points in the 1st quarter, the most any Bobcat had scored in any one quarter of playoff basketball.
Then, like all great champions do, the Heat made major adjustments. Also, Al Jefferson's foot clearly hobbled him the deeper the game went. The rout was on.
The final score margin of 13 points doesn't tell the story of how greatly the Bobcats were out matched by the Heat. The loss made the 7th time this season the Cats fell to the Heat and the 19th time in a row overall. My question to LeBron in the postgame was if there was something about the Cats that they just couldn't beat the Heat. His response:
It was a fun night. It was too bad the Bobcats couldn't win one playoff game before fading into obscurity. At least if they don't win one in this series, it'll make it that much sweeter when the Hornets return next year and hopefully end Charlotte's playoff losing streak.