Face-to-Face with Your General Manager

Every NBA fan I can possibly imagine would, I believe, love to shoot the breeze with their GM (like those guys from 3 Shades of Blue).

Short of an extended visit over beer and wings, how about a chance encounter in the airport? How would you handle that? Would you take him to task for that wasted pick a few years ago? Grill him on the finer points of player development? Or, maybe, just kind of panic?

Coup of the Rip City Project recently found himself sharing an itinerary with Blazer GM Kevin Pritchard. Coup spent some time lurking outside one of those swanky airport lounges waiting for Pritchard to emerge:

The white and blue sweatsuit materializes in front of me. That silver-maned scoundrel had been sitting in a dark corner AT THE GATE with his laptop the whole time. I spent the last hour listening to a couple argue about which is more painful, spraining your ankle or straining your groin, when I could have spent that hour planning my attack.

Of course, as this was the way the day went, he sits down two rows ahead of me. As I'm walking by his seat, I almost make my move, but he whips out the Blackberry, throwing me off balance, and then I get bumped by the loud southern lady behind me so I stumble into my seat like the fat kid from Superbad. DAMN. Seeing as how I'm bloody exhausted, I pass out, comforted by the fact that KP isn't going anywhere.

Two hours later, we land in Salt Lake City. I start thinking of Mormon jokes I can tell KP, but then I reconsider, thinking there's at least a .097 percent chance he or his wife is Mormon -- a chance I was not willing to take. Naturally, he gets a turbo boost off the plane (he must have practiced hitting A just before the green light in Mario Kart 64) and I get bumped by that loud southern lady again. I almost stare a hole through her before doing my best Olympic power walking impression up the jetway.

Now I know there's no chance whatsoever he is coming to Boston with me, so this is my last chance. What luck, he stopped to tie his shoe, he stopped to tie his shoe! But I've been thinking about what to say to him so long now I do one of those stutter-step hesitations guys do at middle school dances when approaching the cutie-cliques. He's on the move again, so I strafe him on the right through traffic like a fox stalking a mouse through a field. Now he's moving too slow, I misjudged my pace, I'm going to pass him and look like an idiot, but he stops to look at the fast food menu, here's my chance, it's now or five years from now (ptttt ... please) I swing around, put my hand out and, "Hello, Mr. Pritchard..."

They ended up having a very simple little conversation, Pritchard looked Coup in the eye, and everyone came away happy.