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Come see the in-demand bassist perform with his own band tonight
Kermit Ruffins and the Barbecue Swingers
Les Bon Temps Roule (10:00 PM)
Candlelight Lounge (8:00PM)
Shake your brass in the Treme with a blend of hip hop, R&B, and pop
Maple Leaf (8:00PM)
One of New Orleans’ best percussionist invites his friends to the stage
PubliQ House (9:30PM)
Brass with electric guitar and keyboard
Chickie Wah Wah (8:00PM)
Americana from Austin
City Park (6:00PM)
Thursdays at Twilight, tonight with one of New Orleans’ premiere contemporary jazz pianists
Gasa Gasa (8:30PM)
Hosted by the Swamp Lilies, feat. Greg Good
Mid City Lanes Rock N Bowl (8:30PM)
Zydeco from Ville Platte
Ogden Museum (6:00PM)
Tonight, Jimbo Mathus performs while guests enjoy contemporary southern art after hours, sip on cocktails, and enjoy grub from Miss Linda’s Soul Food Catering
Baller Beat: NoDef at Hornets Media Day
When selecting a writer for our comprehensive Hornets coverage, NoDef wanted to find someone who could give our readers a candid take on New Orleans’ own NBA team that true fans could appreciate. We found our Hornets Defender in Kerem Ozkan, a great writer who is anything but a fair weather fan. Read on for Kerem’s inaugural coverage, a trip to Hornets’ Media Day, where he talked ball with Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Austin Rivers.
By Kerem Ozkan
As a fan accustomed to appreciating hoops through TV screens and laptop feeds, finding myself amidst gigantic pro ballers in person felt a little surreal — like meeting Mickey Mouse as a child. I arrived at the Hornets media day a little intimidated; with the distinct feeling that I'll say something wrong and security will ask me to leave as the players and veteran reporters laugh at me.
The minute I walk into the Alario Center, Tom Benson is posing with Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Robin Lopez, and Greivis Vasquez. Holy shit. I stand around idly, starry-eyed and self-conscious, unsure what to do. Eventually, Anthony Davis heads off into a corner, followed by a crowd of reporters, all big cameras and fancy suits. I notice one of my favorite players, Ryan Anderson, chatting with some teammates. This is my chance.
"Hey Ryan, I'm a huge fan of yours from your Orlando days. How are you liking New Orleans?"
"Oh, thanks, man. I love it," he responds with a smile. “The food is amazing — obviously everyone wants to talk about the food — but the people are great. I’ve had a great impression so far here and I’m really happy to be here. It’s an amazing sports city, obviously. The fans have been very supportive.”
I could not have picked a better first interview. Ryan is an absolute sweetheart, answering 20 minutes worth of questions sincerely and thoughtfully. By the end of it, I'm set. I got this. I wind up participating in interviews across the board and shooting the shit with Robin Lopez and Austin Rivers.
A Few Notable Observations:
Don’t ever believe journalists who tell you today’s players are too guarded and on-script to give real answers. My experience today was that formulaic, overly professional sounding questions prompted formulaic answers. But when you level with players and speak to them like a real person, they usually reciprocate.
This Hornets team feels like summer camp, full of excitement and enthusiasm. In case you forgot, the average age of the team is 24 — and the team’s dominant personalities are even younger. There’s also a lack of ego. Players always defer to clichés about putting the team first, of course. But when Greivis Vasquez and Austin Rivers talk about sharing playing time, one gets the sense that they know they’re still paying their respective dues. As Eric Gordon put it, “These guys are too young to have crazy personalities.”
This team appears still unburdened with expectations, enthused with their own potential. Every NBA veteran on this roster has come from an undesirable situation — from returning Hornets, to oft-injured Eric Gordon, to the finally-Dwightmare-free Ryan Anderson. You can’t fake wanting to be somewhere, and these guys seem genuinely glad to be here.
Several players lit up when asked about the team’s playoff odds. The consensus seems to be that while the Western Conference is as tough as ever, the door is open for a team with this much potential.
On the whole, The Brow comes across as remarkably unphased by his first real taste of the NBA spectacle. One expects it, considering his Olympic and college experience, but it’s still remarkable to see such a composed and levelheaded young guy in person. He was swarmed with reporters every moment he was on the floor, but was nonetheless joking with his teammates and goofing around at every opportunity. It was also great to see his sassy side, on display in this video at NOLA.com(“Ain’t no secret.”)
It’s easy to see how Austin Rivers gained a reputation for confidence and swagger, just from how the rook carries himself. In a quiet moment, I asked the 6'4" how he feels about Jason Terry comparisons. “Huh,” he replied, “I’ve never heard that.” Who does he like to compare his game to? It’s premature to compare himself to all-stars, he concedes, but the guys he wants to emulate are Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker, and Kyrie Irving. Yeah. He’s not shy.
Eric Gordon proved a bit more guarded, appearing on court only for the bare minimum amount of time and eluding individual interviews. That said, for a guy who was very outspoken about his desire to skip town for Phoenix this summer, he is saying all the right things about being with this team and accepting his role. The bulk of his comments regarded his happiness with being surrounded by new talent. EG mentioned making the playoffs as his team goal, and becoming an all-star as his personal goal.
Apparently, I fared fine because the NOLA Media Group (formerly the Times Picayune,) decided to post my talk with Ryan Anderson on their site. Here’s a video of our conversation.
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