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Publicity and Perception

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Krang wrote an interesting diary yesterday on a subject I want to bring up for main-post discussion.  I'll just give you Krang's own words:

I'm sure most or a lot of the fans on this site are familiar with Greg Odens YardBarker site. I just watched his latest video posting.

It was a copyrighted Blazer Productions clip. I haven't been to The Blazers official website but my guess is that it is running on that site as well. I was disappointed. Not in content, as it was interesting enough. Some comments from Oden about rehabbing and watching games to learn from them, some comments from Bayno (I think) about Oden getting the opportunity to learn by watching. For a Blazer fan, not a bad way to spend a minute.

My hope is that Oden continues to place real unproduced self made video clips on his Yardbarker site, or even The Blazer site if The Blazers want a piece of the action. I got a sense of the genuine Oden from his self camera held, self spoken videos. It was refreshingly unproduced, unscripted. In this day and age it actually felt somewhat unique.

I know as Oden "grows up" and his career progresses it might just become more difficult for him to maintain that level of connection. However it was a nice insite to see non-professionally produced video and read semi-spontaneous postings from Oden complete with the occasional spelling error. As a fan it made me feel I was getting a glimpse of Oden the human being, not Oden the N.B.A. "product".

 I'm not sure this is even a problem at all. Oden often posts and has posted other videos from interviews and commercials, I'm just hoping that he continues and is allowed to continue to post his own personally made comments and observations. Hopefully this isn't a case of The Blazers, or Odens advisors trying to control the image or "product".

Oden showing me his messy apartment and his favorite watermelon and Cookie Crisp seems so much more real, and unrehearsed than Oden carefully telling me about learning from watching the game, followed by Bayno more or less repeating the same message.

I suppose there must be both. The Marketed Oden, and Hopefully the "real" Oden. Even before we drafted him, his "realness" was a quality I liked about this newest Blazer. I hope he is allowed to continue to share this with fans, unrehearsed and unscripted.

What is your take on this?  What side is better for the players and the team to put forward?  The polished, scripted side or the unscripted, unvarnished, "come as you are" side?  It's a little bit of a question of era, isn't it?  I'm not sure you'd ever put Ruben Patterson or Zach Randolph in front of a camera without a tightly-worded script.  But guys like Brandon and Lamarcus?  Maybe you risk more the other way, hiding their natural selves?

Champs2009 adds another aspect to the discussion:

As part of the growing sentiment that loves the "All Access" to the new NBA, I have to agree with you. The videos, pictures, and Greg's own thoughts were always very refreshing and especially important because it reminds us that he's human and going through a particularly rough stretch...

Would we treat Darius Miles' return with such mixed emotions if we knew exactly how hard he was working to get back on the floor? Probably not.

But there was an interesting counterpoint that really got me thinking about this very subject (Bill Simmons most recent NFL Playoff Article - here ). In the past, there was an allure to the NBA (and professional sports in general), because information wasn't as easily accessible. We had to watch "Inside the NBA" and "NBA on TNT" because it was the only place where we got the inside scoop on say the Celtics defensive philosophy.

Now, with Blogging becoming ever more reputable and NBA teams granting an unprecedented amount of access to their practices, pregames, and even halftime speeches, the "god-like" status of the NBA player is nearly extinct. Now, we hear about every incident (planned or unplanned) of Roy helping an old lady cross the street... We hear about Darius Miles' exploits at a Saturday night strip club... And now we even see as Greg Oden swims laps hoping to speed up his recovery...

Is this a generally good thing?

It makes being a fan that much more interesting, because we are so informed, but at the same time, part of me longs for the days when Michael Jordan was superhuman for 48 minutes. From introductions to the final buzzer, we got to see Michael (or Bird/Ewing/Olajuwon/Drexler) in the only fashion that we knew him.

Now, it seems almost as if the shroud of mystery has been removed altogether from the game. Seeing Greg Oden struggling to doggie-paddle in a pool makes me think "Hey, if I was about 6 inches taller- that could be me!" whereas I used to think, "Man, I need Gatorade, Air Jordan shoes, and Hanes boxers/briefs (Did we ever find out?) because that will make me into superman..." since that was all I knew about Michael.

I guess what I'm getting at is: Have we come to a point where little kids are no longer saying "If we're the Chicago Bulls, I get to be Scottie Pippen..." because we now know Scottie is a jerk?

Has blogging/all access journalism killed the legend?

How much do you want to know about the players?  Does knowing the bran content of what they ate for breakfast enhance the experience or demystify our heroes so much that it interferes with adoring them?

What's your view?  The team has a potential publicity gold mine in these players.  How should it handle it?

--Dave (blazersub@yahoo.com)