We’re not a professional basketball player, but throughout the month of February we pretended to train like one. Once a week, except for a respite in the days before All-Star, we dragged our beaten body out of bed at an ungodly hour to take part in Nike’s Zoom City training.
Nike really outdid themselves with this opportunity for media to briefly experience getting trained like a pro. Dime and an assorted group of media members were invited to 8 a.m. training sessions each week, and they pulled out all the stops for the honor. They provided us car service to and from the sessions, and after training we got to eat incredible meals cooked up by Chef Max. It’s the best food we’ve consumed before noon. It became a real treat after such exhaustive sessions, so we want to thank Chef Max for his weekly offerings.
In conjunction with the sneakers, we had to undergo a training session with Tim Grover — the mastermind behind Chicago’s late 80’s iteration of “The Breakfast Club” (MJ, Scottie, and Horace Grant), Kobe’s insane 5 AM workouts, and Dwyane Wade’s perpetual drive to stay on the court.
We’ve trained with Grover before, for the Kobe 9 Elite unveiling, so we were familiar with his somewhat-stunted gait after so many surgeries (seriously, Tim’s gone under the knife more than Brandon Roy, and it’s a testament to his physical fitness he can even get up and down a court). In fact, at the end of our training session, right before we were about to play in the actual games, we rolled our ankle.
Thankfully, we asked Grover if we could Mamba the injury and keep playing. He jolted our foot 360 degrees, and — while wincing — we said we could go (this injury nagged us throughout the whole month, but we weren’t gonna wuss-out in front of our peers). We’re a fan of the Kobe X, and we’re not sure if we had been were wearing the super high silhouette of his ninth signature we could have bounced back so well.
Thanks to getting teamed up with a cast of superior players, we left the opening week 2-0, despite an ankle that looked like it had a golf ball had been logged under the skin.
We couldn’t make this session, which is a shame because we missed Nike’s LED court at the Zoom City Arena. The court was put together specifically to house All-Star festivities, and they pulled out all the stops. Players —media members, entertainers, and more than few semi-professional wringers — underwent BAM-testing to create six even squads for the next day’s tournament.
Common was in the house, which pisses us off because “I Used To Love H.E.R.” is perhaps the greatest hip hop song ever done (it would have been nice to chat with him). Other celebs in attendance for this special week of training: Stalley, Eddie Huang, Ansel Elgort and more.
Teams were ascribed certain players, whose footwear they wore. So there was a James Harden team, a Kevin Durant team, an Anthony Davis team et al. (Frankly, we’re glossing over how awesome this was because we couldn’t make it).