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2009, September 30: The Baseline – Jalen Rose on Next Season and Media Upheaval

October 1, 2009

BS: Yeah, but guys do talk more freely through these channels than they ever do with reporters. Do you think athletes take reporters less seriously now that they don’t need them?

JR: Athletes and entertainers will always take the media seriously, because they understand in 2009 that you’re a brand. If you have a movie coming out or a big game, you do interviews about it. Those relationships will be just as respectable and important. If you look at any performer throughout their career, they could dislike the media and the media could dislike them, but ultimately both use that relationship to accomplish what they’re trying to get accomplished.

BS: It does work both ways, though. It’s also a matter of consumers tempering their expectations, understanding that a team or players might not want everything out in the open.

JR: Fans are intelligent, and ultimately, with the escalating cost of entertainment, and in these recessionary times, they want to be entertained beyond the time of the game or the movie. If they’re going to reach in their pocket and spend their hard-earned bucks, they feel it’s their right to boo or blog about it.

[For the passive consumers,] it takes away the celebrity and fame element and puts the average individual in that position. When you’re someone like Kevin Love, and you’re gonna announce the team is making a move today before it happens, those are the things that blur the lines.

Companies want to be involved on a grassroots level, but sometimes things happen too fast and they don’t catch up until it’s too late. Guys like Kevin Love get the memo: You can have your social networking, but ultimately it’s our brand, and we don’t think you’re representing us in a positive light and you have to deal with the consequences. That’s just called having a boss.

BS: And there’s a lot of people will be engaged just because the celebrity is (supposedly) on the other side typing it.

JR: It’s different if you read it in a newspaper. It has a writer, an editor — it’s gonna be filtered. Twitter is direct. It’s like getting a girl’s phone number or having one of your friends get it for you. It’s totally different. It’s kind of like, are you man enough to go talk to her and say hi, or are you going to hide behind one of your friends or security and try and get one of them to do your dirty work.

BS: Okay, time for a few basketball questions. How good do you think the Celtics will be, and where do they stand with the entire East getting better?

JR: The Magic, the Cavs, and the Celtics are the cream of the crop in the East. If I had to pick a team on paper, it would have to be the Cavs. You have LeBron James, the MVP of the league, you add Shaquille O’Neal to the team with the best record in the league, and you still added Jamario Moon, Anthony Parker, and Leon Powe.

BS: I wanted to get your take on the Delonte West situation, specifically the public’s reaction to it. Do you find it strange that some people are surprised that athletes could have this kind of problem?

JR: If it exists in society, it exists in entertainment. Whatever illnesses, disorders, good things, bad things – you hope that being a professional gives you a different platform and helps you deal with those problems, but the reality of it is that they still exist.

BS: Do you think there are other guys around the league who might be dealing with similar things?

JR: In one way, shape or form, possibly. You have Michael Beasley going to a rehab facility this summer, you have Delonte West. It happens. No matter how famous you are or how many touchdowns you score, that doesn’t take you away from the realities of life. Everyone still has their issues.

BS: Your pick for Rookie of the Year?

JR: That’s a tough call. On paper, I’d probably have to say Tyreke Evans. He’s a combo guard who’ll get a lot of minutes in Sacramento. He can score off the dribble, finish at the basket. Just like any rookie, he has things he has to improve. But with his game and his opportunity from day one, he’s in as good a position to be Rookie of the Year as anyone.

My sleeper, although I know his numbers won’t be there as a rookie because he plays with a lot of other guys who are required to shoot the ball and score the ball, is Austin Daye of the Pistons. A 6-10 player who can score, rebound, assist, get steals, get blocks.

BS: Were you surprised at the way the whole Rubio thing turned out?

JR: No, not at all – it was a leverage play on all three sides. Number one, teams overseas aren’t grooming players to come to the NBA. That’s not their goal for Ricky Rubio when he’s a teenager, so as they rebel against that, they’re going to create these huge buyout clauses and huge obstacles for kids to come to the NBA.

Number two, Ricky Rubio knew that if he was a Top 3 pick, it would be worth it for him to come to the NBA and pay the buyout. He played his leverage by saying it wasn’t worth him to come to the NBA as the No. 6 pick, and oh by the way I’m in Minnesota and that’s not the most attractive place to me. And number three, Minnesota said they could draft anyone they want and, if you don’t come to the NBA, we have your rights. So we’re gonna back ourselves up by drafting Jonny Flynn in case this does happen.

BS: I just never figured it would come to this.

JR: I did a lot of draft coverage, and he was one of the main stories. He was on a national Gatorade commercial. The hype was there, but he felt like the financial opportunity was better overseas. Do you want to play in the NBA because it’s your dream, or do you want to come over because it’s financially feasible and your dream?

BS: It’s a pretty good argument that the NBA isn’t fixed.

JR: Absolutely. Had he gone to the Knicks or Lakers, even at the No. 8 or 9 pick, he’d probably be in the NBA. Had he gone to anyone at No. 3, he’d probably be in the NBA.

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