Robert Horry came to a ballroom at the Biltmore Hotel on Thursday morning to give a pep talk to the troops. He fired them up, telling stories about his game-winning playoff shots (Sacramento Kings fans wouldn't have been entertained) and spoke of the fission of energy a player gets at this time of year.
He was honest about his disappointment when the Lakers let him go. "Phil (Jackson) said my legs were gone," Horry said. "I said it was because he played me 30 minutes a game the year before." As his voice rose and fell in the telling of all his playoff stories, the audience was entranced.
But this wasn't a locker room talk to the Lakers or Orlando Magic.
It was a "Get out there and shoot great video, tell great stories, find the emotion" rally for the NBA Entertainment (NBAE) crew of about three dozen.
Headed by Paul Hirschheimer, NBAE senior vice president of multimedia production, the Thursday morning meeting was all about storytelling with the cameras.
There were instructions to everyone to watch out for any interaction between Olympic "Redeem Team" mates turned adversaries Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard.
There will be a piece done with Hall of Fame center Bill Russell and Howard. And in the works is a story about Magic forward Rashard Lewis and how he coped with a mystery illness suffered by his daughter earlier this year. "If there's a chance to get shots of his family," Hirschheimer said, "get them."
And when Howard walked into Staples Center on Thursday afternoon, there was an NBA Entertainment cameraman walking in front of Howard down the hall. He was incredibly good at looking forward, backward and sideways, but Bryant didn't suddenly appear in the hallway.
Hirschheimer's pep talk wasn't punctuated by videos of him hitting game-winning shots, but he pushed his crew to produce stories that were wanted by ABC, which is doing the game telecasts.
"We want to tell the good stories," he said four times during the pregame. Like all coaches, Hirschheimer had to demand his team to "move closer." Nobody, after all, wants to sit in the first row and be noticed. There were technical instructions about camera angles and placements but always the discussion came back to telling stories.
And the stories will be told through 300,000 feet of film, video and high definition tape. There are 20 miles of camera and microphone cable laid for the series. There will even be two T-Mobile Rookie correspondents -- Kevin Love and D.J. Augustin. As UCLA fans already know, former Bruin Love can talk. And tell stories.
Good to watch Friday
Tee it up, first with the LPGA's State Farm Classic at 9 a.m. on ESPN2 and then Tiger Woods and friends at the PGA Memorial on the Golf Channel at noon. And Cal State Fullerton's baseball team hosts Louisville at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2 in Game 1 of an NCAA baseball super regional. It's the fourth college game of the day.
Good to watch Saturday
The defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies are at Dodger Stadium at 1 p.m. on Channel 11. The crew on the call is Dick Stockton, Eric Karros and Ken Rosenthal, and Chris Rose will host the pregame show, which will be highlighted by a Ryan Howard interview. Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals will be back on Channel 4 at 5 p.m.
Good to watch Sunday
Besides Game 2 of the NBA finals at 5 p.m. on Channel 7, Roger Federer may be playing for his first-ever French Open title and his record-tying 14th major championship at 6 a.m. on Channel 4. Ted Robinson will anchor the coverage with John McEnroe and Mary Carillo as analysts.
Versus is showing the first stage of the big pre-Tour de France prep race the Dauphine at 2 p.m., and it is notable for the return of Lance Armstrong's Astana teammate Alberto Contador. Contador didn't race the Giro d'Italia and he is a Tour de France favorite.