Last post from my conversation with Bennett Salvatore, with some odds and ends.
"A lighter moment. The guy's taking a picture so we put our heads together. There's no particular reason for that."
"You can tell I'm a holiday guy. We are humans, you know. I never got reimbursed for those hats, either. I bought those. That was on my dime."
Talking with Salvatore about this photo:
That was ... we try to be ... with the mascots, as accomdating as we can. That was something he has asked me to do. So it was part of whatever we were doing at the time. It was a while ago.
There's a danger point there. If for some reason it's a volatile time of the game, a controversial time of the game, we would ask them to understand that it's not a playful time of the game right now for us. If there is a lighter moment when we can help you do your skit, we would be more than happy to. But not at the sake of the seriousness of the job.
Are there any skits that stand out in your memory as particularly good?
Somewhere mascots are feeling crushed.
Oh. They're great. And they're very acrobatic.
"We were doing a, um, toothpaste commercial. Just one of the many, many moments. That was, obviously, a dispute."
Salvatore also told a little story about the theater of the game:
I'm going to ad lib here and tell you a quick story here. The point of the story here is to tell you that it's not necessarily true that what you see on the court that is happening is actually happening.
Charles Barkley, many years ago. I made a call against him, in the fourth quarter of a nationally televised game, that he did not agree with.
At that particular time we were going to to timeout. Charles, before going to his huddle, told me that he didn't like the call. I told him to go back to his timeout. He gave me some more of his expertise. I told him go back to his timeout.
Coming back onto the court, I'm ready to put the ball in play. The lights are back on, the TV cameras are back on, we're ready to play.
Charles walks over to me, being larger, obviously, leans over me, and starts bobbing and weaving his head.
And what he's saying is: Bennett, how's the family, how are the kids, how's the wife?
The whole world thinks that he's taking a piece out of my backside, and he's really not. He's being playful.
So not all the time is what you think is being said on the court really being said.
Photos: Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images, Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images, George Frey/AFP/Getty Images, Robert Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images.