October 14, 2010
One of the more intriguing aspects of the preseason (one of seven intriguing aspects, by my count) is the way the NBA is able to bring the major league experience to arenas that rarely see such things. So, you'll get needless technical fouls, annoying piped-in music, and 26 minutes of superstar play in front of buildings that sometimes house half as many people as your typical NBA arena.
The problem with this is the shoehorn factor. You have to bring in the requisite press, lighting rigs and entertainment bits into places that really don't have the room for them. So you'll have the Laker Girls just inches away from the sidelines, as opposed to a few feet safely back as is the case in Staples Center, right in front of an unpadded (as it is in most NBA arenas) scouting/press row.
Ouch. Our man Mike Trudell reports that Ashley appears to be doing just fine, but with every one of these near-misses, you can't help but feel like you've dodged a bullet. Sorry for playing Debbie Downer, but ask any NBA player and they'll tell you that it's just a matter of time before something way, way worse happens.
UPDATE: Mark Deeks of ShamSports.com was kind enough to point out that this woman, before she was known for taking a hit from Carl Landry, was once reportedly hit on by Justin Timberlake, and turned the young fella down.