Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Impressions of the Nate McMillan press conference

From l., Portland GM John Nash, Head Coach Nate McMillan, Owner Paul Allen, and President Steve Patterson greet the media and Portland fans.

One helpful comment here suggested that, since I was in Portland, I should pee on the side of the Rose Garden. I didn't want to do that, necessarily, but I did the next-best thing - I crashed the Nate McMillan press conference, put on my best Serious Journalist Scowl, broke out the digital audio recorder, and joined the press in the front row for the formal conference and other members of the Seattle media for informal one-on-ones afterwards.

I also considered taking a hot dog - take that, Portland!

Here's my report:


After 45 minutes meandering around downtown Portland looking for
Washington Park, a curiously coiffed young man with head-to-toe tattoos
finally pointed me in the right direction of the Portland Trailblazers'
introductory press conference for head coach Nate McMillan.

It had to be the most bizarre setting for a press conference I have yet
encountered. Instead of the drab, cheerless, beige room de rigueur for
media events, this was a full promotional event, held in brilliant
sunshine, in an amphitheater ringed with 200-300 fawning Trailblazers
fans. Hot dogs and frozen novelties were on offer; the throngs of fans
waved "WELCOME TO PORTLAND, NATE!" placards, and McMillan was delivered
to the park in a bus with a sign on the side saying the same thing.

As I descended into the bowl of the amphitheater, I felt a bit like the
proverbial Christian walking voluntarily in among the lions.

Having the public in attendance for an otherwise fairly typical press
conference was a bit awkward. The crowd would roar in approval to a
McMillan response to a serious question, and people began visibly
fidgiting during a long stretch in which the Seattle media in
attendance kept grilling Nate on his reasons for leaving and asking
Seattle-specific questions - especially ones that called into question
the Blazers organization and the quality of the roster.

The audio of the formal press conference has evidently been on Seattle
radio, so I'll just summarize some of my impressions and
information gleaned during informal one-on-ones afterwards, during
which I wedged in with Steve Kelley, John Levesque, and Dave "Softy" Mahler while trying not to draw the attention to the fact that I'm not actually media in any way
that was relevant to the event.

The Portland fans were waving these mildly nausea-inducing placards.

This is long; for more, go here:


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