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NBA TV's 'Real Training Camp' to feature Lakers practice

September 27, 2010 |  9:50 am


With the Lakers training camp underway, you know you were looking for an excuse to blow off finishing up that TPS report and scour for Lakers news.

Besides visiting here and commenting frequently, there is another thing that will help the day at work go by quickly. NBA TV is airing "Real Training Camp," which on Monday will feature the Lakers practice, hosted by Marc Fein and Norm Nixon. The show airs live on from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and then will be shown on NBA TV at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

It's possible that the live show will include a bit of waiting for the Lakers to get on the court, but that's how real-time TV works. I touched base with Scooter Vertino, NBA TV's vice president of content, earlier Monday morning about the show.

How did this idea come up?

We picked the teams that we felt would have the best stories and story lines going into the season going through the NBA and their public relations division and NBA Entertainment division to reach out to the league. Based on previous relationships we've cultivated over the years both at Turner and at the NBA, knowing we're both professionals to the word, we came to an agreement that they'd give us a peek behind the curtain for one day, or at least for a few hours. Obviously Kobe's injuries is a big deal, and we don't know how limited he'll be. A shot of him standing on the sideline isn't all that intriguing, but I think people want to see [the Lakers.] They've seemed to have been a team that's mentioned as an "Oh, by the way team" ... because the Heat got so much publicity this offseason. And "Oh, by the way," the Lakers are the two-time defending champs and didn't really lose anybody. All signs point to Bynum being healthy at some point early in the season, maybe not during the preseason or the first month of the regular season, but at some point, they'll get even stronger. That coupled with Phil Jackson, his track record and the fact this could be his "Last Stand," which is the term he's using, makes for a nice package we would want to cover.

Given all the attention surrounding Miami for what they did this offseason, was there any temptation to want to feature them first?

Because the Lakers are headed to Europe, their training camp is starting a little earlier. We sent out a list, and teams answered back and gave us a window of days that are available, and we worked to accommodate them. We have the Lakers [Monday], the Wizards at midnight and the Knicks [Tuesday]. If anyone else signed up for the 27th and 28th, we'd have to invent a couple hours in the day to fit them all in. It just happened to work out very well on everyone's end. When we do the Heat, it's October 1st.

Does "Real Training Camp" ring similar to HBO's "Hard Knocks" in any way?

I don't think so. What HBO and the NFL do is fantastic, and they deserve all the credit in the world. What we do is a little different. It's a little more geared toward the hard-core NBA fan and the hoops junkie. "Hard Knocks," I think, goes toward a wider array and does more behind-the-scenes and off-the-field stuff. We're more on-the-court. We're going to find out what sets they're going to run. Are they going to mix things up on defense? How are the new guys adjusting? We're a little bit different from that aspect. Plus it's a one-day thing as opposed to what HBO and the NFL do, which is go over the span of the preseason.

What else do you hope to feature on the show?

The biggest thing you get during this type of show is the peek behind the curtain. Video of Phil Jackson talking about the triangle or instructing Kobe or talking to Ron Artest, watching him put the guys through the paces, you don't see that. As a member of the media, I don't see that. It gives a fans a different perspective. We've requested for a couple players and a coach to be [on mic]. That's another element to know what they're talking about, the fact these guys are communicating and they could be saying things somebody heard when they were playing in high school or they could be using terminology that's completely foreign to somebody. That's where our analyst and host come in as well. These things don't work unless we work hand in hand with the teams, and we're just happy the Lakers -- the fact they're champions and are cooperative with us in the same vein makes our job a heck of a lot easier to pull off something like this. That's our biggest thing, that they were more than willing to do it.

-- Mark Medina

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Photo: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol prepare for a photo shoot with the NBA championship trophy during media day on Saturday at the Toyota Sports Center in El Segundo. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times