MarShon and Me

As I write this I am sitting inside the press room inside Newark, N.J.’s Prudential Center. About 45 minutes ago I sat down with MarShon Books, Nets rookie guard, for a profile I’ve been assigned to write. I pitched Brooks because he has a unique back story; because he’s playing well (13.6 ppg) in relative obscurity; because I haven’t read much about him and I like digging into people who’ve sorta hid in the shadows of their fame.

Alas …

Thirteen minutes, 26 seconds.

That’s how long my interview with MarShon Brooks lasted. I’m not mad or angry, and I certainly wasn’t done wrong. MarShon Brooks is under no contractual obligation to bare his soul to me or, for that matter, even talk to me. He seems like a quiet guy, and quiet+rookie=occasional trouble. That said, I am pretty bummed, because the interview, well, stunk. We sat at courtside during Raptors-Nets pre-game. A couple of guys were shooting, a bunch of young fans were screaming for autographs. MarShon Brooks wasn’t engaged. He answered my questions with one or two sentences, didn’t respond to the sort of things most interviewees respond to (hometown questions; mother questions; etc). He was just … flat. And when an interviewee is flat, an interviewer is flat, too. One feeds off the other, and if there’s no grub, well, you’re left with little. It’s my job to get the person to talk and—clearly—I did a crap job.

That being said …

I actually love these challenges. Just because an interview doesn’t work out doesn’t mean a story can’t work out. There are people to call; details to report; blanks to fill in. It’s easy to write well when the person just blathers on and on and on and on. But the true challenge arrives when, in a sense, you have to write around the interview.

Stay tuned …

1 thought on “MarShon and Me”

  1. While I’m sure there are exceptions, interviewing a professional athlete/coach has to be one of the most soul-sucking experiences for a person whose job requires them to do so.

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