Bill Laimbeer will never be confused for a charmer. At the same time, as the old saying goes, you have to talk some of his words with a grain of salt.
Known in his playing days as someone capable of getting under the opponent's skin, he has transitioned that some with how he now deals with the media. Working on a story on Detroit's Cheryl Ford, I went to team shootaround this morning to talk to her and assistant coach Rick Mahorn. As I approached Mahorn, who was sitting on the scorer's table next to Laimbeer, I introduced myself and said what paper I was from. Laimbeer then says to Mahorn, 'That's one of those Podunk papers.'
Fully expecting that response since Laimbeer has said that to other reporters from smaller-sized papers before, I responded with, 'I had a feeling you might say that.'
Truth be told, I didn't mind the comment because I don't think it was meant to be personally insulting. I think it's his way of ribbing the media a little -— myself and another the writer were also told twice to leave and comeback during the shootaround because Laimbeer didn't want anyone watching until league rules make it mandatory to be open - which I'd like to see more often from all coaches. You spend so much time with these players and coaches over the course of a season that if you can't crack a joke here or there it just makes everything feel way too uptight.
Besides, with his history, Laimbeer could have said a lot less flattering things if he actually wanted to insult me.
Thankfully, we have Lindsay Whalen to keep things relaxed on the Sun side. Although she can appear shy at first glance, once you get know Lindsay she is as funny as they come. She's great to talk to when you're chatting about non-basketball related subjects and is usually good for a quirky line or two along the way.
But sometimes I can't even figure out some of the little jokes she's playing. One can only imagine what kind of pranks she's capable of in the locker room.