The first time J.A. Adande became a member of the sports media he did play by play for a video for the benefit of coaches at Crossroads, where he was a student from 1984 to 1088.
“Nobody else saw it,” he recalls.
Adande progressed to covering a John Wooden speech.
This week he’s covering the NBA Finals for the 13th time.
Adande has worked the NBA Finals for the Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, where he was a columnist for 10 years, and his current employer, ESPN. He writes for the network’s website and appears on ESPN sports shows.
That’s quite a journey and he thanks Ann Colburn, his ninth grade English teacher and newspaper advisor at Crossroads.
All season the Lakers’ public relations department controls seating in the Staples Center press box. But NBA Finals credentials and seating are handled by league publicity director Bryan McIntyre and his staff in conjunction with Lakers public relations director John Black.
They combine to determine who receives credentials and where the credentialed journalists sit. The most important considerations are the size of the publication and how long the applicants have covered teams. With 1,800 journalists from more than 220 countries covering the current Finals it’s a task that requires a lot of scrutiny.
Since I traveled with Laker teams for 23 years and this is my 15th NBA Final I rate the same press box seat I’ve had all season. Last week at Games One and Two I was surrounded by journalists from publications such as Sports Illustrated, the New York Post and ESPN The Magazine.
A member of the league’s publicity staff observed that it’s quite an honor for Santa Monica to have two such highly qualified applicants — myself from the Evening Outlook for many years and now The Mirror — and Adande, a graduate of one of the city’s high schools.
It was natural that Adande would make the transition from straight newspaper work to television because he speaks clearly and makes intelligent observations.
As we covered the tense Game Two Sunday night we also reminisced about Crossroads games we’ve seen.