I hadn't planned on spending my Friday afternoon in the Nets' locker room, averting my eyes as men—tall men, towering men, some only in towels—walked by me, talking to each other, nodding to the male reporters, eyeing me up and down, probably wondering what exactly I was doing in there. I was the only woman in the locker room. The P.R. guy who was helping me get up close and personal with the Brooklyn Nets had to do what I like to think of as a "dong check" before I could head into the locker room. The word "dong" was sort of front and center in my mind because my friend En Fuego* had, upon learning where I was, recommended via text that I "grab an errant dong, just in passing" and now all I could do was think about how to avoid any dong-grabbing because, how embarrassing. I am a professional!
I was sort of having to repeat that to myself in my head—over and over—from the moment that I arrived at the Barclays Center. I am a professional. Because, here's the thing, I am a professional and I know that. I get that. But most of the interviews I do, most of the people I talk to, don't require press credentials and they certainly don't require getting passed over with one of those metal detecting wands that the Barclays Center has decided to employ rather than the full-body metal detector that I had to walk through when I went to see Jay-Z. What I'm trying to say is that I felt like I was operating on this whole new level of journalism and it felt incredibly good. It felt good because once I made it through the whole wand thing, I got my press credentials and was allowed to just head on down to the media room where I was sure that I would soon be ushered in to talk to the Nets—all of them, one by one—and it would just be an amazing experience that I would get to tell everyone I know about and one day, maybe, even tell my grandkids, if it happened to come up naturally in our conversations.
But, as I should have guessed, it wouldn't exactly be like that. It wouldn't be bad, it wouldn't be some horrible experience, but it wouldn't be this magical time where I'd ask Brook Lopez and Deron Williams my questions and they'd answer while giving me smiles that stretch as wide as their arm spans, and I would scurry home feeling full and happy and thinking about where exactly to get my Brooklyn Nets tattoo. My wrist? My shoulder? The left side of my torso, right on the rib cage?
*not his real name, but ought to be