Hang Time Road Trip — Day 2

PLYMOUTH, INDIANA — To be honest, I’m not exactly sure when it left me. It could have been while walking from the United Center through the brisk Chicago evening air to our bus in the parking lot. Maybe it was while yelling over a bad cell phone connection trying to talk to Kyrie Irving about Call of Duty. Perhaps it was being in close to the perpetually-hoarse Tom Thibodeau. To be honest, it was probably when we stopped at that farm-themed restaurant near the Illinois/Indiana border near midnight.

Whatever the cause, the effect is this: I woke up this morning with absolutely no voice.

Now, normally not having a voice wouldn’t be a big deal — I’m a writer, after all, not a talker. HOWEVER, right now, for the duration of this trip, I’m a talker. We’re filming interviews with players and podcasts and videos. And being able to, you know, talk, is sort of important to this endeavor.

My co-host Rick Fox says I’ll be fine — “You just need some tea.” I appreciate Dr. Fox’s confidence in this matter, so I’m sitting here on the bus in the early morning half-light of Northern Indiana, guzzling tea and mostly not talking.

Yesterday was the second full day of the Hang Time Road Trip, and it was indeed a full day. We drove overnight from Cleveland to Chicago, and woke up in the parking lot of a hotel near O’Hare airport. I rolled out of my bite-sized bunk bed and stumbled into one of the two hotel rooms we booked to use as a base for showers. Considering the size of the bed I’d been in 24 hours earlier, it was quite an adjustment…

http://instagram.com/p/t0JcXkGZXu/

Before we went to sleep the night before, there had been talk of stopping for breakfast at a Cracker Barrel restaurant, an establishment known for providing many satisfying breakfast options. But by the time everyone was on the bus and done getting ready, we only had time to grab a continental breakfast in the hotel lobby. I’m not sure on which continent they eat breakfast like birds, but it’s a continent I probably wouldn’t like that much.

Eventually we pulled into the parking lot at the United Center in Chicago, where the Bulls were finishing up their morning shootaround. As everyone on the bus gathered up their gear and got ready for the day, someone said, “Hey, it’s Scottie Pippen.” We looked out the front of the bus and, sure enough, Scottie Pippen had just pulled up in a huge truck. We were going to send someone out to invite him onto the bus, but instead Pip just walked right onto the bus to check it out and see what was up. We got him to sign a couple of basketballs that we’re getting everyone to sign…

Right about then, our bus drivers pointed out that we had a flat tire. Now, I’m no tire specialist, but I don’t think it was a particularly terrible flat tire. Like, if we had to drive with it, we probably could have traveled slowly to a service station or something. But they didn’t want to risk anything, so instead we would have to wait for someone to come out and fix it.

Luckily, we had nothing but time. And while we waited, Bulls forward Pau Gasol came out and joined us on the bus to talk about joining the Bulls, leaving L.A., and a lot of other interesting stuff…


VIDEO: Pau Bus

After Pau, our original plan was to wait for the Washington Wizards to have shootaround, and then we were going to give John Wall and Bradley Beal a ride back to their hotel while we filmed an interview with them. But our bus wouldn’t go, so while the Wiz practiced we tried to come up with an alternate plan. While we were kicking around ideas, I heard someone angrily yelling my name from outside the bus. One of our crew members said, “Lang, I think you’re in trouble.”

As it turned out, I was not. Instead, my main man, Wizards forward Drew Gooden, wanted to check out our bus. As Drew said, we’ve both come a long way from the days when we interacted via T-Mobile Sidekicks.

Before long, Beal and Wall arrived, and since we were stranded in the loading dock, we offered to instead call them an Uber. So while we interviewed Wall and Beal, Rick ordered them an Uber. They were awesome to talk with, especially the stuff they said about playing with Paul Pierce. That video will be live shortly.

From there we called another Uber and went over to a barbershop in Hyde Park where President Obama gets his hair cut. Sekou needed a haircut, and we decided to take the opportunity to create some content of our own. Just before we walked into the barbershop, Rick pulled Sekou and me aside and gave us each a prop: Rick had brought along his three Lakers championship rings. We each put one on before entering the barbershop, because by Rick’s responsible reasoning we needed a championship caliber. Here’s Sekou and I rocking two of the rings…

We returned to the bus in time to find the bus almost repaired and still jacked up on one side…

While they finished off the bus, we walked over to the United Center to watch Bulls/Wizards. And on the way, we ran into another famous Bull, sort of…

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GOAT

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It was an energetic game, at least in the sense that within a few minutes Paul Pierce and Joakim Noah got into a shoving match. We had to leave at halftime to get back on the road, so we walked out to the bus and sat down to film a quick podcast wrap-up of the day…


VIDEO: Podcast Day 2

And because you’re here reading this post, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at our new rejected opening sequence for the podcast…

After the show is the after party, which in our case meant dinner at the diner, nothing could be finer. Then we made a midnight stop at Wal-Mart, where we ran into several people who were following the Hang Time Road Trip. Talking the NBA in a Wal-Mart in the middle of America at midnight is the best.

Regardless, right now we’re in a hotel parking lot in Plymouth, Indiana. If I know my history, and I’m pretty sure that I do, Plymouth is where the pilgrims landed when they first came to America. I have to say, it’s nice to be in the midst of such history. See ya tomorrow. Later…

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