His name is Elie Seckbach, and he's the most entertaining media member you've never heard from.
It took me a few years to appreciate what Seckbach does, but the Israeli hoops correspondent has certainly grown on me. In short, the LA-based gent runs around locker rooms at the Staples Center with a video camera in search of humorous or off-color commentary from NBA players. His skill is in his fearlessness, as Seckbach - who operates as a freelance journalist of sorts - is a master at asking questions no one else will ask or would ever even ponder. Tonight, for example, he polled Kings players on their knowledge of the upcoming Hannukah holiday.
Some players shy away from Seckbach, and some embrace his off-beat approach. He's been around, though, for nearly a decade, plenty long enough to get to know local legends Shaq and Kobe and capture some priceless moments. A few more must-sees include Seckbach's routine dealings wtih Kobe and a "Yo Mama" joke battle with Shaq.
He pulled some good material out Ron Artest tonight that included an update on Artest's hometown buddy and Israeli hoops legend Willie Sims (see "priceless moments" for the backstory). He got Kings coach Reggie Theus talking, too, asking him about a locker room vibe that he perceived as much-improved from last season. More specifically, Seckbach wanted to know if there was a secret to maintaining a harmonious locker room.
"I’m pretty straight forward," Theus said. "I treat everybody pretty much the same. But at the same time, I make no bones about the fact that if a guy’s getting me 20 (points) and 10 (rebounds a night), I’ll be taking him to dinner almost every night. They’re the same, yet they’re different. I took care of my power forwards during (his playing days), too."
Series smack – Francisco Garcia’s loyalties have long been known.
The New York native who grew up a few blocks from Yankee Stadium is, of all things, a Boston Red Sox fan. But after Garcia bound through the Kings locker room bragging that his Sox were up 3-1 in Game 1 of the World Series, Artest convinced no one that his sudden love for the Colorado Rockies was anything short of jumping on the bandwagon.
“C-R baby!” Artest yelled after professing his allegiance.
From across the way, Mike Bibby hollered, “Yeah, since last week.”
Before the first pitch of what eventually became a Red Sox Game 1 win, Garcia predicted a fast start for his squad.
“Oh, you know we’re going to win tonight,” he said. “(Boston starting pitcher Josh) Beckett is real big for us, so we’ll be alright. (The Rockies) have been hot, but it’s nothing big for us.” - Sam Amick