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Snow and Garnett, a Troublesome Duo.
by Sam Smith
Posted on Dec 19
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors. His sources are not known to the Bulls and he has no special access to information beyond the access and privileges that go along with being an NBA accredited member of the media.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Chicago Bulls. All opinions expressed by Sam Smith are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of the Chicago Bulls or their Basketball Operations staff, parent company, partners, or sponsors.
It is, after all, about basketball, and playing the Boston Celtics it is about Kevin Garnett. He’s what makes all this work even as Paul Pierce was Finals MVP last spring. Garnett’s intensity and commitment, especially on defense, is what separates this Celtics team, which was 26-2 and on a 16-game winning streak heading into Friday’s game with the Bulls.
Garnett’s always been a talker on the court in this era’s acceptance of so called “trash talking” to challenge opponents. Though with Garnett it’s virtually non stop, so I was asking Drew Gooden, who’ll play Garnett, what he says out there that has earned the Celtics all these technical fouls again this season and emboldened teammates like Kendrick Perkins to lead the league in technicals. Rasheed Wallace is jealous.
“I don’t know what he’s saying,” said Gooden. “He mostly talks to himself out there. He’s always yelling at himself.”
And though Garnett is the focus of any team, perhaps the most vital man for the Bulls Friday was trainer Fred Tedeschi.
Tedeschi is the serious, professional guy you always see run out when a player is hurt. That’s a vital role, though on the road Tedeschi also is the travel coordinator, and Friday was shaping up as a doozy with a blizzard in full white out by the time the team was heading for the arena.
What this meant, especially with another game Saturday back home against the Jazz, was not only doing everything possible to get back but preparing for every eventuality. The players are only vaguely aware of all this. I doubt some would know what city they were in if not for the opponent scouting report.
No one is treated better than American professional athletes in this era.
The players arrive at a charter air terminal at a designated time, drop their bags, which get loaded on the plane for them. When they arrive, the bags are taken off by the support staff traveling with the team, including Tedeschi and equipment guru John Ligmanowski. The Bulls, by the way, continued to have to wear their black socks on the road since they now were wearing black shoes on the road.
Asked about the difference, Ben Gordon quipped before the game, “Well, we’re 0-2 so far.”
The traveling group includes a media relations staffer, broadcasters and TV technical personnel, coaches, often a team executive and the players. That generally requires two buses, waiting on the tarmac when the plane arrives. Then it’s off to the hotel, where room keys are waiting and players are told when to be on the bus again for practice or a game.
But with the storm conditions Friday night, Tedeschi has to plan for every eventuality: New hotel reservations if the team cannot get out, new bus plans if that is the case, coordination with the charter service and constant weather checks. Coordination with the league on the situation. Hotel plans if the team is rerouted, alternative ground transportation possibilities. It goes on all through the day and night, and as the team arrived at the arena about 90 minutes before the game the storm, predicted for about a foot of snow, was only intensifying as local reports were advising drivers to stay off the roads.
Garnett! C’mon. He’s no problem in comparison.