Well, sort of.
Let’s rewind to the lobby before practice. Tim, Chris and I were sitting at a table making a game plan as reporters from ESPN and NBC stood around us. While they were calm and collected, I sat at the table with Tim’s words ringing in my ears. “Kerry, these are arguably the most famous athletes in the world.” Thanks Tim.
We decided that I would take pictures during the practice while the two boys went out and got quotes. Some people might have been mad that they were not going to be talking to players, but I knew this was the best choice for me. There are few places that I am more comfortable than behind a camera, and the nerves before the practice made it clear that I would not be able to make an audible sentence.
After two hours of waiting, the media was let into the practice. When we walked through the doors, I froze. All I saw was camera crews and reporters surrounding chairs that I could only assume were occupied by athletes. I took a deep breath, and dove into the swarm. That was the first time I shot Lebron. He sat there with his Beats on, microphones just inches away from his mouth as he talked in a low voice. I got some good pictures and went to find Tim and Chris.
The two had asked me to make sure I got pictures of them interviewing athletes. They said it was for their stories, but I know they really just wanted a new Facebook profile picture. After a few shots of them, I was drawn to Kobe. He sat in a chair with media surrounding him as well, but he was much more receptive to the attention. His face was so expressive, and his personality really reflected in the pictures.
I then recognized Coach K, a man that my older sister is a huge fan of. I went to take a picture of him for her, when he was suddenly swarmed with reporters too! It was as if everybody noticed his presence, and then he was the only one in the room. Chris went over to interview him, and when I got in to take pictures, an ESPN photographer shoved me. After throwing a dirty look and an “Excuse me, I’m not moving,” he rolled his eyes and called me sassy. I think that I was made for this industry.
A few minutes later, LeBron started shooting free throws for photographers. I got on the key to get some pictures, when one of the shots rebounded off of the rim and towards my head. I caught the ball and went to throw it back to the superstar, but I froze when he put his hands out to catch it. My jaw dropped and he laughed at me, along with a number of other reporters.
We were shooed out of the gym and back into the lobby, where Chris, Tim and myself had a giddy moment of excitement before heading back to the train. Having the opportunity to shoot some of the biggest athletes at the age of 18 is something that I will always remember, and am extremely grateful for.