Mr. Uppercut Goes to Tualatin



Last Thursday, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to briefly interview Zach Randolph and Sebastian Telfair at the Trail Blazer's practice facility in Tualatin.  Being the first winner of the inaugural "be a sports reporter for a day" contest, I was invited by the Blazers to hurl questions at whichever players were foolish enough to agree to take a few minutes out of their busy schedules to field asinine inquires from yours truly.  Ironically enough, neither my position as blogger-in-chief here at Blazer's Edge nor my membership in the traditional media had anything to do with the opportunity.  So there you go: Good things do happen to bad people.

It wasn't all good though.  While I am grateful for the opportunity, it wasn't all it was cracked up to be.  First off, they didn't let me record the interviews, even though they had told me previously that I would be able to do so.  Secondly, players tend to be a little grumpy after practice, so it should come as no surprise that some of the answers to my questions weren't all they could have been.  Nonetheless, it was a fun experience, and it gave me some insight into what the guys on the team are like off the court.  So without further ado, here is what I can remember from my question and answer session with Blazers Zach Randolph and Sebastian Telfair.

The Powerball jackpot currently stands at 195 million dollars.  If I were to win that prize, do you think it would be a good investment for me to become at least partial owner of the Trail Blazers?

I asked this question to both Zach and Sebastian, and they both gave me the same answer, something to the extent of "yes it would be a good investment because we've got a lot of good, young players."  I'm not sure that Paul Allen would agree with them at this point.  I told Sebastian that I might be signing his checks one day, and he replied that "They better be big ones."  Savvy businesses man that Telfair.

In 18 years, who do you think is going to be the best basketball player: McKinley Randolph, Samaya Telfair, Vladimir Khryapa, or Anthony Przybilla, and is it true that Zach, Vik, Sebastian, and Joel have been pressuring Juan Dixon to have a baby so as to fill out the future starting line-up?

Once again, I asked this question of both Zach and Sebastian, but this time I got varied answers.  Telfair stated that he wouldn't be allowing his daughter to play basketball, as he's hoping she'll play a sport that makes more money.  He mentioned that he thought golf and tennis would be better avenues for Samaya to pursue, as you can make more scratch playing on the LPGA and professional tennis tours.  He also mentioned that Dixon should have a kid, considering that he's 28 and has been with his wife for a while.  He final got around to answering the question, in while he thought that "Baby Przybilla" and "Baby Khryapa" would eventually be the best ballers.
Zach, on the other hand, played the role of proud father when he stated that he was sure McKinley would be the best player in the future.  He didn't have any reaction when I told him Sebastian disagreed.

Why don't white guys look good in corn rows, and do you think I could pull off the corn row look?

I asked this question of Sebastian only.  Sebass told me that he didn't think white guy's hair was fine enough to get into a tight braid, causing the corn rows to look loose and messy.  He didn't seem to think I, a balding white guy, would be charming the ladies with corn rows, but he said that I might as well try.  I also mentioned that Vladimir Radmonivic tested out the corn rows last year, which surprised Telfair.  I told him I didn't think Vlad pulled it off, which came as no surprise to Mr. Telfair.

At what age do you think John Canzano started going bald, and how do you think his baldness has affected the way he looks at the world?

This is where things started to go a little sour.  First off, Sebastian had to ask who I was talking about, which tells me he must not be a reader of Mr. Canzano's work.  When I explained to him that Canzano is an opinion columnist of the Oregonian, he laughed and told me that he couldn't answer the question.  My handler, and nice young lady name Rebecca, got a little uncomfortable at this point and asked that I move on to my next question.  She later told me she was afraid any answer Sebastian gave would show up in Canzano's blog, especially considering Jason Quick was standing about 3 feet away when I asked the question.  I told Telfair this was his chance to badmouth the local media the way that they often do to the Blazers, but Sebastian, being the diplomatic guy he is, took the high road.

How many times a day do you read my website blazersedge.com, and why don't you read it more?

Once again, I asked both Zach and Sebastian this question, and once again, I received differing answers.  Sebastian tried to tell me that he read Blazer's Edge at least once a week, but I'm not so sure he was being entirely honest.  Then again, I have no reason t believe that Sebastian is a liar, so I can only assume I run one of Telfair's favorite Blazer-themed blogs.  Zach, on the other hand, had an answer that was a little more cryptic.  I'm not sure if he was pulling my leg, but Zach replied that, for the most part, he doesn't get on the internet, except to look for dogs.  I was a little confused, so I asked him to repeat himself, to which he said that he looks for dogs on the internet.  I told him that I had a basset hound and that he should consider getting one of those, to which he replied "A basset hound eh?"  I have to say that this little exchange didn't make a whole lot of sense.  I'm not sure if he was making some kind of reference to Qyentel Woods or if he was being truthful, but it was certainly the most surreal portion of the day.  I thought for sure that a stat guy like Zach would use the internet to do more than find man's best friend, but hey, to each their own.  So if you happen to see Zach walking a basset hound, you can be sure that I'm the one who put the idea in his head.

Which one of the coaches could you take in a fight?

I didn't bother asking Zach the Canzano question, as I knew Rebecca would shoot it down, so I came at him with my back-up.  Without hesitation, Zach answered "All of them."  He then stood up,  shook my hand, brushed off Jason Quick's request for an interview, explaining to Quick that he had a dentist appointment to attend, and walked out of the practice facility.

All in all, it was a good time, but I think I actually learned more from talking to the staff and watching practice than I did in the actual interviews.  Some of the more interesting revelations:

  • Steve Blake's wife is pregnant.
  • Darius drives a sick black Bentley the size of an Abrams tank, which also has black wheels that are about the size of an extra-large pizza pan.
  • Zach was driving a white Dodge Magnum, which in and of itself isn't all that interesting, but I noticed that he had a Boston Celtics cap sitting on the front dash.  What the hell is up with that?
  • The 1977 World Championship trophy was made by Tiffany's.
  • Strength and conditioning coach Bobby Medina is short.
  • The secretary at the practice facility was sleeping on the couch in the players lounge.  In her defense, she's pregnant.
  • Theo's energy drink looks like urine.  Either that or he was actually drinking piss, which I think is unlikely.
  • The sink in the bathroom at the practice facility drains really slow, and the lights are dim.
  • Jason Quick puts a lot of gel in his hair; where as Mike Tokito seemingly uses no products on his mane.
So that's about it.  I was really hoping to be able to have mp3 files of the interviews available for download, but I guess the public at large doesn't deserve the luxury of getting to record audio like the media does.  I mean, we've only endured season after season of heartbreak, shame, and instability; what do we deserve?
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