Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports
B/R: So with over two decades of experience, I'm sure you've got some crazy stories. And the one from this year that seems to stand out in my head is when the Pacers had their plane break down, then the bus break down, then they got stuck in the bathrooms of that bus. Just anything completely off the wall like that you want to share from your career?
JG: As far as a travel scenario?
We had one happen to us. This was about five or six years ago, I've lost track. We were playing a game in Sacramento, and the game got over, and I have a message on my phone when I get back to the locker room that said, "Please call. We have a weather issue in Denver. Don't know if we're going to be able to fly out."
So I called my coordinator with the airlines at that time, the charter company we were flying with at that time. And they said it looks like the weather in Denver is to the point where you can't get in. Check out some hotels.
I called the Hyatt where we had stayed the night before, and they were booked, and we couldn't get in. And then I called, I spoke to the trainer with the Kings, Pete Youngman, who was a good friend, and he hooked me up. So we had rooms all situated.
So about that time, the charter company called back and said that there's a break. There would be a break in the weather, and we think we can go and get you home. And I said, "Well, are you sure?"
We go ahead and head out to the plane, and I said, "You guys are sure we're going to get home?" He said, "Yeah, the weather's still bad there now, but they're predicting a window of opportunity."
So we take off, and we fly about two hours. And I can feel us kind of circling around, and I'm thinking, "Uh-oh." So I go up to the front and talk to them. And sure enough, the weather has gone bad.
We make an attempt to land, and we dip down real close to the land, and the pilot has to pull up because the visibility is so bad. Long story short, we end up in Colorado Springs.
We land—by now it's about 4:30 in the morning—and I'm able to get a couple of buses over to pick us up. And we head back to Denver. By this time, it's probably 5:00 or 5:30. We get to Monument Hill, and the blizzard has hit the highway system, of course. So now we're stuck in a blizzard. Bus is just plodding through.
We get back to Denver and out to the airport for everybody's cars at 10 in the morning. By this time, the sun is shining bright and the snow is blowing through. We get there at 10 in the morning.
And we play the Lakers that night...and beat 'em.
B/R: Of course it works out that way! When there're so many delays like that, what do the players do? Everyone involved, really. I assume you don't plan on bringing enough stuff to account for a whole night on the road.
JG: A group of players will play cards. Coaches will usually work. Hopefully, after a while, they get to the point where there's some sleeping going on. So you try to sleep.
Everybody always carries a book with them or something that would keep them occupied to a certain extent. But it gets to a point where you run out of that, too, and you just have to sit and hope to sleep or live with it.