Henry Abbott of TrueHoop had an interesting interview with Steve Shenbaum, a media coach for a number of NBA players, including Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, on a recent NBA Today podcast. Audio here.
Shenbaum talks briefly about his experience meeting Oden during the 2007 NBA Draft process and notes that the movie Stomp The Yard helped him get Oden to open up.
"First of all, ironically, I had seen the movie. You might not think this but I really love old school hip hop and rap and that kind of thing. I always wanted to be a breakdancer.
"When Greg's agent sent me out to Indianapolis, we were doing some work prior to the Draft, I'm meeting this really awesome guy, I really like Greg. Greg of course does not look his age, he's older, he has some challenges socially because he's taller. We're walking into the room to do this session and I happened to ask him, 'What's one of your favorite movies?' He said Stomp the Yard.
"He was in front of me and he started doing the moves. I stopped him and said, 'Greg, that is actually hilarious.' I shared with him, 'If and when the Portland Trail Blazers call your name and you go out to Portland, it would be really wonderful to loosen up and show this 7-foot guy who is 22 but looks so much older, and show him untucked and basically do that move.'
"It's vulnerable, sincere and it's really funny. And Greg was willing. That was like the first moment I realized that could show a different side to Greg to allow the fans to realize he's a total human and he can make fun of himself."
"I think of funny as someone who is intelligent, and there's a lot of intelligence in the NBA. Someone who can be self-deprecating. Greg's career has not transpired the way we had all hoped but I think he's self-deprecating."
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter