Only about a half hour until the bus leaves for Amway Arena, but I wanted to share a quick "slice" of life from the road before we shove off.
After we checking into the hotel after shoot around, PR flack Jim Taylor and I decided to go out and grab a bite. It's after 11 p.m. on a Sunday in downtown Orlando, so the options are fairly limited. We decide to go to a local pizza joint.
We walk in, and there's Steve Blake heading to the upstairs dining area of said pizza joint with two slices in hand. Behind him is Kevin Pritchard, who's getting a pie to go. Pritchard points to a picture on the wall of assistant coach Dean Demopoulos from his days as an assistant in Seattle. Demopoulos' picture is flanked by similar images of president George W. Bush, former president Ronald Reagan and late-night talkshow host Jay Leno. Popular guy.
So we order our slices then head upstairs to eat. Blake is sitting at a table by himself in the dining area, a relatively small space. About 15 teenagers are upstairs as well, who as far as I could tell were a part of some alt-rock band from New York (I overheard one of the fellows in the band mention they were from NY). So Jim and I sit down with Steve and commence eating.
About 15 minutes later, in walks Brandon Roy, LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw. They sit down at a table next to ours waiting for their pizza. A few of the alt-rockers seem to notice that the three fellows who just walked in seem taller than average, but no one draws any conclusions (despite the fact that Blake is decked out in a Trail Blazers sweatsuit). No requests for autographs or pictures. No one pays any mind.
So even though traveling for 41 games a season can be a drain, it's probably nice to have some anonymity now and then. Could Roy, Aldridge, Outlaw and Blake go to some dive pizza joint in Portland that's about half the size of your average McDonald's without being hounded? No chance. But late night Sunday in Orlando, you're just a couple tall guys going to work on a meatlovers pizza.