After dispatching the Miami Heat in a five-game beatdown to win the 2013-14 NBA championship (and, we'd later learn, spark the complete change of the face of the league), the San Antonio Spurs embarked on a trophy tour, allowing each member of the title-winning squad to take the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy with them to their respective homes to celebrate with their families, friends and fans. Manu Ginobili got first dibs, bringing the O'Brien to Bahia Blanca, Argentina; veteran sharpshooter Matt Bonner was up next, whisking Larry away to scenic New Hampshire for an appearance at the "Sneakers and Speakers" summer benefit concert hosted by the Granite State native's Rock On Foundation.
After the concert — which saw my brother play a set with the trophy sitting a few feet away from him while I was at a christening, which I'm definitely not at all jealous about — it was time for the trophy to go down under with the Spurs' pair of championship-winning Australians, guard Patty Mills and center Aron Baynes.
The Aussie reserves allegedly have "a jam-packed seven days of events" planned during their time back home. Apparently, "mess with a television reporter during a live broadcast" was up near the very top of the list.
Yep, that's Patty (arm still in a sling after his recent rotator cuff surgery) and Aron popping in to interrupt the live shot of Fox Sports Australia reporter Julian de Stoop, who was standing outside the headquarters of the Australian Football League club Collingwood. Despite their hooting and hollering about "Larry" and "the trophy," and Baynes coming into the shot holding a giant golden statue, de Stoop didn't recognize the Spurs and didn't much appreciate their arrival, as evidenced by his slight shove of Mills in an effort to get back to the business at hand.
After being brought up to speed, de Stoop later tried to explain himself:
One of the hardest things about reporting live is your surrounding environment. Anything can happen. Rowdy fans, background noise, planes roaring overhead — it’s all part of the business.
I thought Mills and Baynes were a couple of Collingwood punters. Oops. I guess the NBA championship trophy — which has been beamed around the world countless times over the years — should’ve given it away, but my mind was fixed on reporting the latest news on Nick Maxwell, Dane Swan and the ‘Pies.
I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve been punked by a bloke with a newly-minted three-year $12 million NBA contract. And I’m pretty confident in saying that I’ve never previously been photobombed with a major US sporting trophy.
Well, Julian, there's a first time for everything, I suppose. Glad to see that Mills and Baynes are enjoying their time with Larry, but here's hoping Patty avoids any more contact to that surgically repaired arm. The last thing Patty needs is to try to explain to Gregg Popovich that his rehab's going to take a little longer because he videobombed one too many reporters.
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