Hang Time Road Trip — Day 3

HANGTIME_PASSENGER

PHILADELPHIA — Day Three is in the books, and after a night on the (bumpy and not-so) open road, we just rolled into Philly and it feels like we’re trying to chase our tails, so to speak. The plan was to drive overnight from Indianapolis to Philly, and be here in Philly in time to grab some showers and breakfast before our first interview of the day. But apparently there was some sort of slowdown on the turnpike last night and we spent nearly two hours stopped on the highway.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. Let’s talk Day 3: At some point yesterday morning before sunrise, we pulled into a hotel parking lot near Plymouth, Indiana. We had two hotel rooms reserved, so we took turns using the facilities and getting prepped for the day. Once we were all cleaned up and ready to roll, we boarded the bus and chugged toward Indianapolis. We rolled through cornfields and amber waves of something or other, and it was a lovely ride through the heartland of America.

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Morning in Indiana #Hangtime

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Unfortunately, by the time we got to Indianapolis, we were running late, and one interview we lined up had to cancel at the last minute. Hey, stuff happens. Luckily, we had Rick around to make some smoothies with a blender he bought at Wal-Mart, to help me get my voice back.

David Benner, the Pacers’ longtime senior VP or PR, was standing in the parking lot holding an umbrella waiting for the bus upon our arrival in Indy. For Sekou, this trip was something of a homecoming. Back in the 1990s, Sekou spent five years living in Indianapolis and writing about the Pacers and the NBA for the Indianapolis Star.

Not long after arriving, the bus door opened and in walked Larry Bird, one of the greatest players in NBA history. Between Rick, Sekou and myself, we each had some history with Bird. Sekou covered him when he was coach and then president on the Pacers. When Rick was a rookie with the Celtics, Bird took him under his wing and schooled him in the fundamentals of NBA life. As for me? I grew up a Hawks fan, and spent way too much time having my heart broken year after year by Bird.

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No big deal just talking with LARRY BIRD. #hangtime

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And now he was on the bus. Bird sat with us and talked about the state of the Pacers, the landscape of the Eastern Conference, and what NBA players really prioritize. You can see that interview here.

When we finished with Larry Legend, we walked over to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the home of the Pacers and one of my favorite arenas in the NBA. It’s a gym built specifically for basketball, and the whole vibe of the place was fantastic.

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Love this arena.

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The highlight of the visit for us? They commemorated Sekou’s tenure by hanging a classic photo of him, which they placed directly above the trash can. Right where it belongs.

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BOUT THAT LIFE

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We got back on the bus, and once we were on the move, I spent the afternoon finishing off some of the NBA previews for NBA.com.

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Working. #hangtime

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Somewhere around Dayton, Ohio, we stopped for dinner at a Cracker Barrel restaurant. In the gift shop there following dinner, Rick made arguably the most important purchase of the trip — a little entertainment to get us through what was sure to be a long evening.

We also stopped by a home improvement store to buy a tall stool for a future guest. Rick commemorated the event by doing some shopping cart parking lot surfing…

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The Fox surfs. @imrickafox #hangtime

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Then back on the bus, where we shot last night’s podcast and had some fun with the Derrick Rose bobblehead that we procured in Chicago.

We watched the Clippers/Warriors game on NBA TV, and eventually, sometimes around midnight, I hit my bunk and went to sleep. It had been a long day, and while I found sleeping on the bus tough the first few nights, by last night I was so beat that by the time I scampered into my bed I don’t even remember drifting off.

Now, we’re in Philly, and we just banked a couple more interviews. I’m gonna grab a cheesesteak. See you guys tomorrow…

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