Thursday, June 17, 2010

Basketball stories

In honor of the NBA finals I decided to write about the time I got thrust onto working on an athletic sportwear account. When I first landed on this account, I didn't know my Kobe from my Shaq. My only experience with the sport was that I once worked on a movie called "Blue Chips" that featured a somebody name Shaq.

His former personal assistant became a magazine rep and told me hilarious stories about how her first job was working for a big sports agent who had just signed this kid named Shaq. Somehow or another, she ended up having to pick him up at the airport. Only after she collected him and his luggage did she realize there was no way he was going to fit into her VW bug.

The good-humored and good-natured Shaq somehow pretzeled himself into the car and a relationship was born.

But I digress... getting back to my real story,

I land on this sports gear account and all the AEs and everybody are totally into it, talking about KG this and KG that, telling me the Duncan board goes here, the Dwight Howard wall goes there. It was like they were speaking a foreign language. What the heck is a KG? Plus, none of the artwork was labeled and I had no clue what any of these characters looked like.

How did I overcome what I call my non-basketball handicap? A very kind sales rep took pity on me and bought me some foil covered chocolates. I don't know where he found them, but each chocolate coin had the photo of an NBA player on them. He brought them in and patiently went through each one, showing me what each player looked like. (KG was Kevin Garnett, btw).

I lined the coins up on my desk and told myself I wouldn't eat the chocolate until I memorized the name and face of the player. I think most of 'em lasted until the summer when we had an ant invasion (see 'Jerry Maguire' if you want to see the level of ant invasion I'm talking about).

Watching KG tonight reminded me of the above, and the guys who worked on this account with me who turned out to be really nice folks.


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