In Praise of Gossip

By now in the day, this is nothing new: you all know by now that my illustrious colleague Miss Gossip interviewed Greg Oden, and that it was amazing. Here it is, on the off-chance you haven't observed it already.

Now granted, Oden's already proven himself a gabber supreme, and big men are often far more ready and willing interview targets than those sneaky guards and cagey swingmen. But still, on so many levels this is revelation. I always thought that SAS was great at wringing earnest, if occasionally over-cooked, truth out from the souls of players. This, though, is something altogether different: it's someone kicking it with an athlete like they weren't important or special. It's not irreverent or mean, but there's no attempt to place Oden on a pedestal, or act like he's anything other than a smart, friendly kid who happens to have millions in the bank.

It's funny, there's been so much internet whispering and snickering about that Oden photo. But as far as I know, Gossip's the first person to ask him about it, and the response he gives both makes light of it and allows us to see how he (and assistant Chris Paul) might feel about this kind of thing being out there. Too often, we view athletes as sacred cows, who need to get cut down to size. As a fan of the game of basketball, I'd rather see them in this altogether mortal, and far more endearing, light.

It's a truism that with journalism, the "conversation" is superior to the rigid "interview." Maybe in the realm of sports, this kind of interaction is a third way altogether. Talking to Greg Oden shouldn't be like engaging Susan Sontag, but that doesn't mean it has to be stilted or inherently self-defeating.


At 7/12/2007 5:30 PM, Blogger Trey said...

Oden has a mohawk in that picture right?

He's boss.

At 7/12/2007 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

brilliant clip. This is the first time it's hit me that he really is just a teenager, behind all the hype.

and this might be the wittiest Oden line yet:

"What's the secret to being a big man in the nba?"
"I can't tell you."

At 7/12/2007 5:51 PM, Blogger Ty Keenan said...

It's not just that you can tell he's a teenager; he also comes across as a particularly considerate and funny one relative to his fame and hype. They've been talking about those qualities in the media for the last year, but Miss Gossip's interview made it exceedingly obvious without featuring the boring stock questions of "What did the year in college mean to you?" It's really pretty fantastic.

At 7/12/2007 6:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Part of what makes this interview endearing is the long form. People are much more personable when they aren't cut down to ten second sound bites.

That said, Oden seems pretty damn genuine, and Miss Gossip comes off as a very natural interviewer (if a little preoccupied with blogs).

At 7/12/2007 6:14 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7/12/2007 6:16 PM, Blogger Brickowski said...

I'm glad Shoals posted this here. Amazing all around, but like Will I was fascinated by the end. What's with this secret tribunal of legendary NBA bigs? Were Ewing, Admiral, Lanier, Russell, and Walton just hanging out together? Do they fight crime like the X-Presidents?

At 7/12/2007 8:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

A propos of nothing save the "Wire/Street Fight" nexus that informs our world, peep:


On a more relevant tip, Oden is way likable. I'm looking forward to saying "Cool, the Portland game is on!" for the first time since, ever.

At 7/12/2007 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wang ZhiZhi mimicking Quentin Richardson is FD.

At 7/12/2007 9:21 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Yeah, I love "interviews" like this, where it feels more like a conversation with friends, teasing and joking with each other. In his own, lame way, this is what Elie Seckbach does, right? I would rather see Miss Gossip do this than Elie, but the point is it is always nice to see athletes humanized.

It's helps offset all the negative coverage.

At 7/13/2007 12:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More brilliant, cross-sport video:
AI vs. Jim Mora, yeah it's what you think.

At 7/13/2007 1:36 AM, Blogger Mr. Six said...

"That was not an infection, believe me."

G.O., holding out for the free hotel internet service!

At 7/13/2007 2:07 AM, Blogger Zach Fields said...

I just got back from a free concert in LA with E-40, David Banner, UGK and Common in which I won a free Zune player from winning an around the world shooting contest.

And that interview was the best thing I've seen all day. G.O all day, everyday

At 7/13/2007 6:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like with Shaq, and unlike with Duncan, i feel pretty good about the NBA being in Oden's hands for the next 15 years.

At 7/13/2007 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is what you get when you don't have the NBA's "partners" doing interviews, and/or any other organization that has to worry about the bottom line or appealing to a family audience. Just has to appeal to all 5 readers of Fanhouse.

At 4/13/2009 4:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...




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