Several students from LMU’s Sports Journalism class attended media day for the two Los Angeles based basketball teams, the Clippers and Lakers. Both teams held the events at their respective facilities. The students were led by their professor, Kristin Doidge, who was eager for them to have a valuable learning experience.
“Media day is a great opportunity for student journalists to observe professionals doing what they do and a chance to actively participate themselves,” Doidge said.
All 30 NBA teams opened their facilities to various media outlets on Tuesday, Sept. 24. The Clippers held their media day festivities at their training facility in Playa Vista, a few miles from LMU's campus. The press had the chance to interact with players and other front office personnel and ask questions about the upcoming season. Students had the opportunity to mingle with other journalists from outlets such as Fox Sports and the L.A. Observer.
“I think the students had a blast listening to the questions posed by media and answers from the players, while being in the presence of legends such as Jerry West,” Doidge said. “It's a fantastic way to learn.”
The students took full advantage of the moment. Doidge explained that a few of them did research before the event so that they could be prepared with astute questions.
“I was really impressed with the students and their insightful questions for the players during the press conference,” she said. “Their enthusiasm gives me great hope for the future of sports and journalism.”
For some students, such as Loyolan Sports Editor Matt Rodriguez, this was their first ever opportunity to ask NBA players questions.
“Seeing and talking to all the players and journalists was nerve-racking,” said Rodriguez. “It was surreal seeing those guys up close rather than on a TV screen.”
Aspiring to be a sports journalist, the senior political science major believed that the experience helped him realize that professional athletes are regular people, despite their popularity. The event also served as a good networking opportunity for Rodriguez to connect with more experienced journalists who are willing to serve as mentors.
Media day was not entirely new for senior Kellie Miller as she has attended similar events in the past. However, this event allowed her to experience it in a different way.
“I’ve been to media days before, but I’ve never been to a sports media day,” said Miller. “It was inspiring because everything I go to is hard news related, so this was cool to interact with players I watch.”
She enjoyed hearing the questions that the different reporters asked. Miller is majoring in communications studies and minoring in journalism, with the goal of becoming an on-air television anchor.
About six miles from the Clippers' facility, the Lakers held their media day in El Segundo. LMU senior Hunter Patterson was the lone student from the Sports Journalism class in attendance, and he was there on behalf of his internship with Spectrum SportsNet. The network owns broadcasting rights to the Lakers’ games that are not nationally televised and, the network played a big role in coordinating the event. The Lakers' media day was one of the most popular around the league, as newcomer LeBron James addressed the press for the first time as a Laker.
Patterson is a senior majoring in communications studies with minors in journalism and African-American studies. He is also a production intern for Spectrum SportsNet, and he helped facilitate the media's questions to the players. Although he hopes to one day be the one asking the questions, being able to assist in the production aspects of media day was still a beneficial experience for Patterson.
“It was a great opportunity for me to see how things worked, and to envision myself being able to do what I saw everyone else doing,” Patterson said. “It was also cool to be around someone as great as LeBron.”
Immediately following media day, the Clippers boarded a plane to Hawaii. There, they will begin their preseason in a game against the Sydney Kings, an Australian team in the National Basketball League. The Clippers' regular season begins at home on Oct. 17 against the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers' preseason starts on Sunday, Sept. 30 against the Denver Nuggets. Their season opener will be Thursday, Oct. 18 in Portland against the Trailblazers.