ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — Before I moved into the All Ball Nerve Center earlier this year, I spent just over a decade working for SLAM magazine. This meant that every morning I woke up and took the subway down to Manhattan’s Flatiron District, then walked over to what we called the SLAM Dome — the SLAM offices, located in an office building just across the street from Madison Square Park.
When I started my daily journeys to and from the work space back in 2000, it wasn’t much of a neighborhood — there were a couple of fast food restaurants and some delis around, but it was mostly office space and empty storefronts waiting to be developed. Since then, things have come a long way. Now there are hotels, and fancy restaurants and stores. The city invested in the parks and roads, and you can now find actual crosswalks and sitting areas all over the place.
Last night I made my first return trip in a while, in order to see the fellas from TNT’s “Inside the NBA” do their season-opening show live, basically sitting in the middle of traffic. Here’s how it looked to me …
Things actually began on Monday afternoon, as Turner Sports hosted a luncheon for the assembled New York media. Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal entered the conference room and sat down exactly in the order in which they usually sit on TNT’s Atlanta set. (Ernie later said they had no idea they did that — they just grabbed seats and it happened naturally.) They guys picked right up where they left off last season, cracking jokes and making fun of each other. At one point when Shaq began a story by saying, “You know, when I retired…,” and Charles quickly interjected, “Two years too late!” (more…)