Top 10 Sports Interviews

Posted by Mr. Guy August - 10 - 2009 - Monday 1 COMMENT

A quick rundown on my favorite subjects. Click on their name to read article. Drumroll, please.

10. Eric Gagne
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Original Magazine: Men’s Edge

Setting: Dodger Stadium. Dugout. Opening week 2004.

Liked: Getting into a discussion of “The Zone” with Gagne, and him telling me under his breath not to start the interview until his teammates cleared our vicinity. He was afraid they would give him shit for being interviewed, yet again.

Quote: “Wait’ll these fuckers pass.” Me: “You mean, those fuckers right there?”

9. Anthony Carter
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Original Magazine: ESPN Magazine

Setting: Staples Center. 2007-2008 Season

Liked: His humbleness. Admitted the reason he was forced to play in Italy in the beginning of the 2007 season was because he partied too much. Also liked his candor about how he needed to stop drinking in order to truly focus on his job. Note to Melo.

Quote: “Anyone who said they expected this of him is crazy.” George Karl on Carter’s play with Nuggets.

P.S. Article never got published because the editor was worried that I made up my comments about Carter’s option of selling drugs and robbing people or playing ball in A.C.’s hometown of ATL. Like most editors, overworked and unwilling to go the extra inch.

8. Derek Lowe
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Original Magazine: Men’s Edge

Setting: Telephone interview.

Liked: How D. Lowe wasn’t afraid to mix it up with a few nicely placed curse words and impressions.

Quote: “This generation of players is completely different. They understand kind of what happened before. But I think the majority of players don’t really care.”

P.S. Later ran into him at a Laker game
and tried to introduce myself but he was totally faced and surrounded by women grabbing for his loins. I decided not to compete with them in the Loin Grab Comp.

7. Randy Couture
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Original Magazine: Men’s Edge

Setting: Telephone interview.

Liked: Really personable guy for being such an ass-kicker. Taught me how to ruin someone in a street fight with elbows and knees — oh my!

Quote: “Everybody picks on the seventh graders. This ninth grade kid decided I was the guy he was gonna pick on and he started harassing me at lunch hour. I hit him with a double-egg and put him on the ground and punched him in the face about five times. Nobody ever really picked on me after that.”

P.S. If you haven’t seen his performance in Red Belt, you definitely should, great fight movie. Get it here:

Redbelt

6. Lamar Odom
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Original Magazine: ESPN

Setting: Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo.

Liked: Having to maneuver my recorder from one side to the other as L.O. got his beard trimmed in a back room by one of his posse members. Felt good to finally get L.O. and his posse members to crack a smile with my Kobe Bryant impression. I asked Lamar what Kobe said to him when he raised his jersey over his mouth: “Hey Lamar! Pass me the fucking ball, man!”

Quote: On why it’s good to have Kobe as a teammate: “The open looks that I get. You know, he demands so much attention. We get a bunch of television games. You know what I’m saying? That’s because of him. You could feed off the energy. When we walk into a game, he has a great following. So his followers becomes your followers.”

P.S. Once again, nixed by ESPN Magazine. However, later an excerpt appeared on the ESPN Magazine blog.

5. Elton Brand
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Original Magazine: ESPN, Los Angeles Magazine, L.A. Times

Setting: Santa Barbara, Los Angeles

Liked: That I was interviewing “The Horse” at the old city college where I had dropped out of my first, and only, journalism class after one week. The teacher was a prick. He locked the door at 8 sharp. My hangovers hadn’t cleared up by that time. Also liked how available EB was when I was the Clipper Blogger for the L.A. Times. (Got fired b/c the Times’ Weasel NBA Editor wanted to be my best friend and I refused his lonely-ass advances and he made up some shit about how my speling and grammer sucked.)

Quote: “Kaman has the biggest entourage on the team. He has five friends that are down with him, in his crib.”

P.S. Elton later asked me if I wanted to run his film company. Had a bunch of meetings and emails with him. Ended when I told him politely that the idea he wanted me to turn into an award-winning screenplay was just not going to happen. It was THAT bad. And I was THAT close to being a full-fledged posse member. Aw, shucks, ma!

4. Luke Walton
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Original Magazine: Some forgettable named assholian magazine that still hasn’t paid me. You’re on notice, pal!

Setting: Telephone interview.

Liked: Walton needed hardly any prompting at all. Took the rock and ran with it up and down the court with glee. When I was at Laker camp later in the year, remembered who I was — and didn’t have any women grabbing for his loins.

Quote: “My dad can walk through a garden and name out every single plant. The first thing he does every morning is a walk off his yard. He checks out all the plants and yells at the gardeners.”

P.S. Work on your J, Luke!

3. Barry Zito
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Original Magazine: Men’s Edge

Setting: Telephone interview.

Liked: Going all Self-Help with Mr. Zito. Should be an example to all athletes. Unfortunately, he’s not. Read any books lately Manny?

Quote: “It taught me the power of the mind, and how powerful words and thoughts can be. Everywhere we go, people tell us how hard life is and how we have to struggle. It’s up to you if you want to focus on that.”

P.S. Also once wrote a piece on Barry going on surf trips with Brent Mayne & Ryan Klesko (the worst interviewee ever).

2. Brett Favre
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Original Magazine: Heartland USA

Setting: Telephone interview. Fahvera on the Farm.

Liked: That Favre wasn’t doing any lengthy interviews at the time and I got 45 minutes. How he just took charge of the entire interview/huddle and just spilled his guts. Having my ESPN Mag editor telling me he wished I’d done it for them. Well, duh!

Quote: On the possibility of Something About Mary 2, “I hope they don’t call me.”

P.S. This interview was stretched out over the years and enabled me to buy many, many Cup O’ Noodles. (This version is just a small excerpt.)

1. Gerry Lopez
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Original Magazine: Water

Setting: Phone interview.

Liked: Speaking to one of my few teenage-years heroes, as I idolized his smooth, soulful surfing style while growing up on the California sand.

Quote: “It’s always easier to ride the horse (or wave) in the direction it’s going.”

P.S. A freelancer’s bread and butter is being able to resell his article (sometimes in different forms) after a certain grace period with the original magazine. When it came time to do that with this article, Lopez, through his contact, said he wanted half the money for the next magazine. Suddenly my hero wasn’t my hero any longer. Sucks to grow up!

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The Best Randy Couture Interview

Posted by Mr. Guy July - 23 - 2009 - Thursday ADD COMMENTS

TGR: When was the first time you knew you could fight?

RC: I was in a fight in seventh grade. And you know, everybody picks on the seventh graders. This ninth grade kid decided I was the guy he was gonna pick on and he started harassing me at lunch hour. I hit him with a double-egg and put him on the ground and punched him in the face about five times. Nobody ever really picked on me after that.

TGR: Worst damage you did to somebody?

RC: The cut I put on Pedro Rizzo’s cheek the second time I fought him. It opened up a pretty good gash on his cheek.

TGR: What’s the worst you were hurt?

RC: An elbow to the eye socket when I fractured my eye. That was the worst one, for sure.

TGR: Who delivered that blow?

RC: That was Ricco Rodriguez in Connecticut.

TGR: Do you remember the first time you ever saw your own blood?

RC: Yeah. I was play-fighting on the playground in the second grade and my buddy swung me around head first into the cement wall. I cracked my head open and laughed it off at first. Until I reached up and brought my hand down and saw a handful of my own blood. It freaked me out.

TGR: Did you ever feel remorse after crushing somebody?

RC: You never really want to hurt anybody. But as far as beating somebody up to win the fight, within the limits of the rules, I don’t have any remorse about that.

TGR: How long does it typically take your body to heal after a fight?

RC: A typical fight, a week. But I’ve had some fights take months, you know, with the eye injury and things like that. The leg kicks that Pedro laid on me, the first time we fought, took about three weeks before I felt right again.

TGR: What is the best thing about Ultimate Fighting?

RC: The things I love most are the tactics and the technique involved. That’s what I got into. The one-on-on nature, as well. It was just me out there alone. I’ve got no one else to blame.

TGR: You’re doing some acting now…Who would play you in a movie version of your life?

RC: I guess it depends on which stage of my life you start it at. But probably right now, Ed Harris.

TGR: Ed Harris?

*

Recommended reading: Babes in Action Sports

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