Jay C. Brandriet
I’ve been converting old mini discs onto more modern platforms. I’m able to hear my friends and I do interviews from years ago. It’s bringing back proud, exciting, and embarrassing memories. I’m also looking for a lesson or two for my step children.
Here are 8 times my interviews failed.
#8- I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO USE A MICROPHONE
The first NBA game I ever covered was a pre season matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Utah Jazz. I was a nervous wreck. Long time broadcaster Steve Klauke was giving me some pointers before hand. Do this, don’t do that, click this button, the basics ya know? The player I interviewed was Magic guard, Darrell Armstrong. I thought things went well. I walked away and Steve says in my ear…. “Hey, Jaybird. Next time put the microphone next to his mouth, so we can hear his voice.” I could then see how I had just left the mic pointing at myself. Real bright. To feel better I thought, “Steve didn’t remind me to do that.”
#7-RASHEED WAS SO PUT OUT
Rasheed Wallace was pretty awesome in his prime. I used to hype him up. One night after a game, I was in the Portland Trailblazers locker room. He was in the middle of everyone. I approached him and said, “Hey Rasheed, can I grab a couple of minutes when it’s good for you?” He just stood there. All 6’11” of him looking very bothered. He stared at me like I was the biggest idiot that ever lived. He threw his hands up, and walked away with a strut of disgust. I remember feeling like the entire world was looking at me. I doubt anyone cared. It was the best non verbal diss I’d ever received. Imagine if his team had lost.
#6- GRANT HILL HAD TO CORRECT ME
As I was introducing Grant I said, “13 year pro Grant Hill.” Before giving me his first answer he corrected me. “12 year pro, Grant Hill.” It was easy to laugh it off and end up with a good chat. Hill was smart and engaging. It always bothered me. Hearing it again made me cringe. It’s one thing to mess up the name of the gas station in his home town. To mention something as basic as his seasons played, and blow it? Not cool.
#5- KENYON MARTIN PULLED OUT THE RUG
The New Jersey Nets were in town. I had a quality conversation with Kenyon Martin during his stretching routine. I was repeating what my buddy Jared Adams had thought of Martin’s game. Jared said Kenyon was a “mixture of Xavier McDaniel and Scottie Pippen.” Martin liked the comp and was being real cool. Hours later I’m in the back ready to do my job. Kenyon is destroying some popcorn. I say, “Can I get ya in a few minutes?” He loudly goes, “NOT NOW HOMIE!” I love popcorn too, but didn’t see that one coming.
#4- RAJA BELL AND I LOST OUR VOICES
Raja Bell once played for the Jazz. This was his first time back as an opponent. His team had lost a close battle with Utah, and the ending was controversial. I asked Bell the first question and he just looked right through all of us. He didn’t say a thing. I repeated myself and his glare intensified. It started soaking in how personal this was for him. He chucked his towel against the wall, and buried his head. I kind of froze. I struggled with my words, and was barely able to throw it back up to the desk. Bell’s personal pain threw me off. I later thought it was my biggest choke attempting an interview.
#3- IGGY DIDN’T TAKE THE BAIT
One evening I had Andre Iguodala in a one on one sit down. He was on the Philadelphia 76ers. His squad had lost (like most did in Salt Lake City) and he was being short with me. I had a few bail out/emergency questions I would go to here and there. The leagues athletes and coaches had a tremendous amount of respect for the Jazz organization. I’d ask them their thoughts or memories on Utah legends including Jerry Sloan. It was always a slam dunk. Almost always. I say to Andre, “what do you think of when I bring up the Utah Jazz franchise?” His response was, “nothing! I grew up a Bulls fan. They were in the the Bulls way and we handled business. What does that tell you?” He wasn’t going to let me win. Iguodala taught me I needed back up questions, on top of my back up questions.
#2- ISIAH THOMAS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING
Isiah was coaching the Knicks at the time. I was able to to share some words with him pre game. I gave him my break down of his career. He let out that classic “Zeke” laugh and told me to look him up afterwards. This was great. So his team gets smashed. He was either ejected or got an untimely technical foul. It was something I knew that was going to affect his mood. Coach Thomas came out to greet us and said, “No way guys. No way.” He and his New York size security brushed through us all, and headed to the bus. I said on air, “Isiah Thomas has left the building.” I then thought, “and my best interview ever just left with him.”
#1- A HEAD COACH CHEWED ME OUT, AND IT WAS MY FAULT
This was near the end of a season. The Golden State Warriors were here. Their then coach was Eric Musselman. The Jazz had demolished this group, and Golden State helped them out. They had shot horribly. I asked something about the Warriors poor shooting and then was blindsided by what happened next. Musselman goes off on me.
“Don’t you listen? Your asking the same question he just asked, but a little different. I just responded to that crap. Don’t waste my time. Why don’t you join the rest of us here on earth.” I did the only thing that felt wise. I shut up and took it.
My emotions were negative towards this coach. I’d shake my head when I saw him on tv. Something about this one was different though. I had to examine my part in it. I got opinions from those that were there as well. What stood out is how poorly this Warriors group had played and shot for weeks. They were feeling blue and ready to lash out. I wasn’t thinking about them. I don’t think I was listening. Just because I was comfortable in my job that night, doesn’t mean everyone else is comfortable in theirs. I learned it’s bigger than any of us. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. I relaxed, and got bit.
Jay C. Brandriet