By Lang Whitaker
For the last few years, about once a week I’ve hopped on Skype with my NBA Digital colleagues Sekou Smith and Rick Fox to record a new version of the Hang Time Podcast. We’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together… no wait, we haven’t done any crying, unless it was from laughing. Basically, we’ve had a lot of fun, and done a lot of chatting, and we’ve learned a lot about each other and the NBA. Oh, and we got honored by the Webby Awards, which was pretty cool.
The past few months, we’ve been trying to spread our wings a bit. During the Finals, whenever we were all in the same place — normally I’m in New York, Sekou’s in Atlanta and Rick’s somewhere in the ether — we recorded a couple of video podcasts. (We also had a pig roast in Miami thanks to friend of the podcast Genesis Rodriguez.) This summer at the Las Vegas Summer League, we actually called a few games together.
And on Sunday, we’re embarking on our biggest adventure yet: Can you say road trip?
NBA training camps have convened around the country, as franchises put last season behind them and focus on the future. Anticipation abounds, as franchises see where all the wheeling and dealing over the last few months has left them and fans buy into that as-yet untested and unproven vision for the future.
How do we best explore that lovely feeling of hope, the unanimous excitement that comes around once a year? How do we capture how much fun this time of year is? How do we check in with players and coaches to see how their summers went, to find out what their expectations are, and most importantly, to discover which teams really are ready for the new season to begin?
That picture up above? That huge bus? That’s how we’re doing this.
And, just so you hush that fuss, here’s the back of the bus!
So yeah, the bus is our home for the next week-plus. Starting on Sunday night in Cleveland — where the Cavs take on Maccabi Tel Aviv in an exhibition (6 p.m. ET, NBA TV) — Sekou, Rick and I will be zig-zagging around the country to take the pulse of players, teams and fans. We’ll sleep on the bus, drive on the bus, and interview players and coaches on the bus.
We’re starting in Cleveland and heading East, at least on this initial trip — saving the West for next time — and we’ll be recording and posting a couple of video podcasts each day. We’ll attend NBA preseason games each night, then power on overnight to the next city. We’ll stop at roadside attractions and truck stops at midnight and cool restaurants and pull pranks on each other and try to have as much fun as we usually do. And when the whole thing is done, we’ll edit together a best-of show that will air on NBA TV.
We’ve got a schedule tentatively mapped out, but we’re keeping it fluid, so the best way to keep up with us will be to follow us on Twitter or Instagram, where all three of us will be posting real-time updates (using the hashtag #HANGTIME):
- Rick Fox (twitter | instagram)
- Sekou Smith (twitter | instagram)
- Lang Whitaker (twitter | instagram)
I’ll also be posting regular updates here on the All Ball Blog. If you see us out on the road or in your city, please come say hello! Interacting with you folks is what makes this so much fun, and we probably have questions for you about how you’re feeling about your team.
I think that’s everything. Saddle up, everyone. See ya on the road…