Wizards 2015 Media Day Hits: New Squad, Same Goals | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Wizards 2015 Media Day Hits: New Squad, Same Goals

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Updated: September 30, 2015

John Wall, Selfie, Washington, WIzards, Washington Wizards, Media Day, Adam McGinnis, Truth About It

NBA Media Day always brings a sense of optimism. Everyone is in great shape, everyone spent their summer working to improve their game, and everyone is excited for a fresh beginning.

This was my sixth straight year covering the press gathering. While it was not the circus frenzy of Emo Gilbert Arenas returning in 2010, it still was a spectacle.

TV cameras crammed for limited space around players, several media members asked inane questions, and somehow a Spike TV show called “Celebrity Sweat” was securing interviews. A Wizards championship belt and Twitter-themed selfie stick were the new team-approved props involved.

Perhaps foreshadowing the future landscape of “Media Day,” Monday felt more designed for Monumental Network and Washington’s in-house communication organs to gather #content than for outside press on the Wizards beat. The overwhelmingly majority of the players’ time was spent at stations set up for the team. The kid reporters, who I adore, received unique access to every player. Monumental TV’s interview with Bradley Beal trumped a hoard of reporters who stuck around specifically to chat with Big Panda. The scrums around Randy Wittman, John Wall and Beal were so intense that, similar to the playoffs, they probably should have set up those three on a podium. The lack of a set interview schedule wasn’t ideal, either. But, heck, what would Media Day be without a frenzy (whether it was by design or not)?

Anyhow, you want to know more about what’s going on with the team than my observations about media arrangements.  So, Leggoooo!

NOTES.

  • The main themes were shooting more 3s, playing small and getting over the second-round postseason hump.
  • John Wall spent the summer working on his shot selection, 3-point range, floaters, and post moves.
  • Nenê, who often dodges interviews, was in a jovial mood. He spent over half an hour chatting up everyone. This will likely rival his total of availability to the media for half of the season.
  • Bradley Beal did his usual routine of saying a bunch of stuff without much substance. However, to the jubilance of #WizardsTwitter, Bao Bao did finally concede that he needs to limit long-2 attempts.
  • Marcin Gortat sported no mohawk this year (neither did Martell Webster). Instead, the Polish Hammer was pumped to finally have his No. 13 jersey back, given Kevin Seraphin’s departure.
  • Towson University graduate Gary Neal is enthusiastic to be back in his home area. He already has a ticket plan for his friends and family. Neal mentioned he grew up a Bullets fan. Rod Strickland and Mitch Richmond were his favorite players.
  • Chef José Andrés was in attendance, taking pictures with Wall and Nene. I was able to interview Andrés about his Wiz fandom (check the quotes below). He opened up a new restaurant, Beefsteak, in Dupont Circle on Tuesday.
  • Winner of the Moronic Questions of Media Day … well, it was a tie between one journo asking Wall about a fashion rivalry with rookie Kelly Oubre and another wondering about Nene’s thoughts on Jonathan Papelbon choking Bryce Harper. The Big Brazilian missed the Nats altercation; he said he was playing with his kids.
  • DeJuan Blair strolled around in a PhunkeeDuck. He supposedly has lost 30 pounds.
  • Kelly Oubre’s hair is something else. He comes across as a very nice and cordial kid. Also, he’s been staying at Wall’s house in the lead up to training camp.
  • Kris Humphries is scared of clowns and mimes. Go figure.
  • Getting someone to jam about their vacation is usually an easy task, unless it is Otto Porter. Young Simba took a summer trip to Poland with Gortat and my questions about it were longer than his answers.
  • New additions Jared Dudley (back) and Alan Anderson (ankle) are both dealing with injuries. #SoWizards.
  • Martell Webster attended several weddings this summer, including that of his former Wizards teammate Trevor Booker.
  • Drew Gooden was his animated self, cracking many jokes about being a veteran and striking funny poses with the championship belt. He is still doing hot yoga and took a summer excursion to Venice, Italy, with his family.
  • My favorite part was watching Nene do Silento’s “Whip/Nae Nae” dance that is included in the video at the bottom of this post.

QUOTES.

Gary Neal on playing for the Wizards:

“I wanted to get back to playing with a point guard with John’s capabilities—All-Star, pass-first point guard. As I am getting older, up there a little in age, I wanted to be around guys that I feel can make the game easier for me. Also, getting a chance to come back home. And playing for a team that expected to be top 4, or top 5, in the Eastern Conference. It was a perfect situation for me.”

Kris Humphries on talking with Coach Wittman about not playing much in the playoffs:

“We talked at the end of the year. I am kinda looking at this as a new opportunity. Last year, a lot of things come into play with getting hurt at end of year… Cant really focus on last year, it is more about what we’ve got going on tomorrow.”

Drew Gooden on the team:

“One of the reasons that I like the additions, we have about 10 guys right now that are free agents next summer. There are going to be a lot of guys in tune, not only collectively as a team but as individuals on what they need to do to help them keep playing in this league, extending their careers. So if we can put that together, we could be a powerful team.”

Nene on his offseason:

“I just rest my body because, in the next two years, there are going to be bruises. Season, offseason with Olympics in Brazil… I took time off of basketball to spend with my family to do something else I like a lot, which is soccer.”

Chef José Andrés on his Wizards:

“I have always loved the NBA. Twenty-three to be in D.C., with [the Verizon Center] next to all of my restaurants and where I live, it is a dream come true. I will be in the kitchen and ‘OK, the quarter is going well. Let me go one second and watch a quarter then go back to the kitchen.’ I am lucky that I can do that and I love the Wizards.”

Kelly Oubre on being a rookie:

“I need to just play hard. It is going to be tough. I am a rookie. Just do all the little things that he (Coach Wittman) needs me to do. No matter what it is. He told me to just stick with it.”

Marcin Gorat on breaking up with Nene:

“It is not a secret that me and Nene, both of us, we are not going to be able to keep up with John at same time. Always, one of us has to take the ball out, sprint the whole court, and run under the rim. Hopefully, having the 4-man being able to take the ball out, only just going to sprint to the 3-point line and stop to be a threat automatically. This will be a good opportunity for us. But again, Coach will figure out what we are going to do.”

Otto Porter on Otto Porter:

“My role right now is to be Otto Porter. Go out there and play. Do all the little things to help the team.”

Bradley Beal on summer work:

“I worked on my ball handling, long 3s, and floaters too. Just being able to create a shot that is a little bit closer than long jumpers. The biggest thing is just getting to the basket and free throw line.” 

John Wall on the season:

“Basically, the same goals, we want to get to 50 wins, definitely want to get home court advantage, and want to get out of second round for once.”

PICTURES.

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Bradley Beal, Martell Webster

Webster loves to photo bomb

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Nae, Nae, Nene, Brazil

Watch Me Whip, Watch Me Nene

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Martell Webster

MC Martell is ready for the new season

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Marcin Gortat, Poland, Scrum

Gortat still won’t discuss what caused his funk last season

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Jared Dudley

Dudley is a sharp dude but also injured

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Kelly Oubre, GMan

Kelly Oubre flexing with G-Man

 

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Kris Humphries

Still bummed didn’t get a chance to talk wake boarding with Humph

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Drew Gooden, Championship Belt

Gooden would my Wizards pick for a future spot in the WWE. He can talk the game and his flopping skills in the ring would be on point.

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, John Wall Shoes, Adidas, J Wall 2, John Wall, Red

J Wall 2 Shoes

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Jose Andres, John Wall

John Wall with Chef Jose Andres

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis

Alan Anderson cracks up

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Kelly Oubre, Camera, Rookie

Oubre tells local news his first love was not basketball, but taekwondo.

 

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Otto Porter, John Wall shoes

Otto chats up 2 season ticket holders in Orange J Wall shoes.

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Nene

Nene explaining his soccer skills

Media Day, Washington Wizards, Truth About It, 2015, NBA, Verizon Center, Adam McGinnis, Bradley Beal

Bao Bao BACK

Social Media.

kelly oubre, alan anderson, bradley beal, john wall

Wall, Oubre, Anderson and Beal making funny faces at Training Camp (via Anderson’s IG)

Twitter:

Training Camp Invites:

Instagram:

VIDEO.

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Adam McGinnis
Reporter / Writer / Media at TAI
Adam is a bro from the Midwest who's been bopping around the District of Columbia for years. He's down with a range of sports, etc. and has covered the Washington Wizards for TAI since 2010.