Someone gave my wife and I two tickets to have lunch in SF with the Warriors this Friday. Whoa. It's at a super fancy hotel like the Fairmont. I'm imagining round tables and one player at each one.
I tend to get obsessed with a sport when an amazing athlete comes along. It was basketball during the reign of Michael Jordan and the Bird/Magic years. It became basketball again when Curry emerged and the team became so exciting to watch. But honestly, I really only watch playoff and finals games, as I have with the Warriors the last three seasons, hardly able to breathe they were so exciting.
Brian already asked me to take his Warriors hat and get an autograph under the bill. Do I buy some Warriors clothes to wear? How do you chat up a player at your table?
In terms of Warriors gear, I found this video of last year's lunch, which has some people dressed like they're going to a business meeting and others in Warriors gear.
When it comes to talking to players or coaches, I think we often forget that they're normal people like us, who just happen to be really good at basketball and get paid a lot to do it. They expect fans to freak out a little, but in my experience, there's an appreciation for those who can just have a normal every day conversation with them. With social media such a big deal these days, depending on which guy is at your table, you might even be able to engage them in convo about how they use social media.
Sometimes these events and experiences are as awkward for them as it might be for you at first, so if you're just friendly and ask them some non-invasive questions, or talk about your kids/grandkids getting into basketball... etc, etc... I think you'll find they'll warm and it'll be really easy.
Holy cow this is incredible! I don't know if I have any good advice for you, I've never met an entire NBA team, but @Rebecca's comments seem pretty spot on. I'd probably be pretty star struck so hopefully you can get over that and have some good conversations. Really excited to hear how it goes!
They probably get tired of typical fan worship so agree with taking a different approach. Figure out their other hobbies and see if you overlap. Most of the team members are fascinated with tech and are investors in early stage tech so that might be a fun topic to bring up. Sounds like fun!
Wonderful. I think you should probably go with one of your signature hats.
I've been around quite a few athletes via friends in the pro sports world and often I'm reminded that they're often still very young adults. Given your background growing up you might have a lot in common with some of them.
You have a passion for social media. I'm sure this will be a topic they'd love to discuss.
In particular the players on the Warriors as I've seen in the news are exposed to the Silicon Valley culture especially with investing and startups. Many will probably have an interest in starting companies, working with Steve (Jobs) and of course building one of the next great discussion / social media platforms.
Also apparently you have an eye for Fashion as well which they might appreciate :)
This is way cool, Chris!!! Have a blast! Getting to hang out with NBA players is really cool, especially since you'll be hanging out with the Warriors! If you need some Warriors gear, just hit me up. I got a couple of cool hats you could wear, haha.
As far as what I would advise you to do, just soak up the moment. You're going as a fan so don't worry too much about fan boying out or anything. Think of some interesting questions that you would like to ask them and in general, have fun getting to know them as people and see the human side of them.
I'm not sure if everyone on here knows this, but I cover Cal men's and women's basketball for Rivals.com, which has given me the chance to know guys like Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), Ivan Rabb (Memphis Grizzlies), and Jabari Bird (Boston Celtics) back when they were playing for Cal. I also get to interview recruits, so there's a bunch of future NBA players that I've gotten to know as well such as Troy Brown, Jr. (Oregon), Charlie Moore (Kansas), and Jemarl Baker, Jr. (Kentucky).
Without question, my favorite part of being a sports journalist is getting to know these athletes as people and see the human side. Basketball might be their profession, but they have other interests as well. So, more than anything Chris, I would advise you to use this as a chance to see the human side of these guys and just soak up the moment. This will be an experience that you'll carry with you for the rest of your life. I look forward to reading about your experiences in this thread!
I'd love a hat! Brian is lending me one and wants a sig under the bill. I'm sure I'll be hanging with Steph, talking about kids and stuff. If I get a hat from you, Toni and I will both have one to wear. You want a sig on yours?
@Rebecca, your advice was perfect. We sat near Klay Thompson and he seemed very uncomfortable. They told us to ask players about growing up in Israel or the country of Georgia, not about Steph's sprained ankle.
Some of them were hilarious, like Durant. He said it hurt to show up on the team bus at a hotel and have someone scream "Oh my God, it's Omri Casspi!" Then 100 screaming fans mobbed Omri. Durant said, "I've been in this league for 11 years and played pretty well. Getting off the bus is my time. To have Omri steal all the fans messed with my ego, but I had to adjust. Anything for the team. (There was a Jewish wedding reception going on at the hotel.)
Zaza Puchilia, who comes from the country of Georgia, apologized for his teammates not dressing for the occasion. Klay was in sweats and Durant was in an old flannel shirt. They have to keep two blow driers in Zaza's locker for hair care.
The team owners said talent is just one element of success. You have to make it fun so it's not a grind. For example, at your work, after a bad day you don't have to get up in front of cameras and explain your performance. After you apologize and say you did your best, you don't have to hear that's not good enough, your co-workers are disappointed. He said they hire for character, for people who like being around each other, and who know how to have fun.
They said Andre Iguodala has the best sense of style.