Preparing for the Finals is a lot like getting ready for any other game. On Tuesday morning we practiced as usual - except the NBA made us practice in the Delta Center instead of at Westminster College, so we could talk to the media afterward. There are something like 2,000 media members here. It's crazy, but fun.
I had fun at the media session, but not as much fun as last year because I'm more used to it now. Last year it was sort of like being a kid in the candy store. I was excited about the whole deal. This time we're more focused on business as a team.I look at talking to the media as part of the job, part of the whole experience of being a professional athlete. There are guys on the team who don't like it at all, but I don't mind it. I figure you can either make it hard on yourself in dealing with the media, or you can make it easy on yourself.
Besides, if I take time out for the media, I figure they won't write bad stuff about me.
Maybe I'd feel different about the media if I was at the superstar level like Karl Malone, John Stockton and Michael Jordan, but it doesn't bother me. It's part of the package.
After practice on Tuesday I went and got a haircut. I want to look pretty, you know, because there are going to be millions of people watching tonight. I go to a barber named Nixon Pierre at Salon Cearune downtown at Third and Main. We talked basketball like we always do. He's a helluva barber. A lot of the guys go to him - Howard Eisley and a few other guys.
Then I went to the gym that I go to so I could take a sauna, hot tub and cold dip to kind of get my legs loosened up a bit. A cold dip is like a cold whirlpool which I do after going in the hot whirlpool. The contrast between the hot and cold relaxes my body and brings it back to life a little bit. I do that when I'm sore, maybe three times a week.
Other than that, Tuesday was pretty much a kickback day. I didn't want to do too much.
I have a bit of a routine on game days. I get up in the morning and eat a small breakfast, then I go to shootaround and work out there. At shootaround we go over scouting reports and some strategy for our game plan. Then it's time for lunch. After lunch I like to take about a two-hour nap, then I have another small snack. Sometimes after my nap I'll have time to break down some film of the team we're going to be playing. Then it's time to head back to the Delta Center or the gym where we are for the game.
The layoff was tiring, taxing and a pain. I'm anxious for the Finals to begin. We all are. But I think everybody on the team is calmer this year, including myself. I just hope we're not too calm. We need to be ready to go and fired up to play these guys. We need to guard against being flat in Game 1. It's a fine line. You don't want to be overly excited, but you can't come out flat.