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The Stalker on the Sidelines
John Walters
June 01, 1998
No player or coach escapes NBC roving inquisitor Jim Gray, if he can help it
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June 01, 1998

The Stalker On The Sidelines

No player or coach escapes NBC roving inquisitor Jim Gray, if he can help it

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My time is precious," says peripatetic NBC sideline reporter Jim; Gray before Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference finals, the Los Angeles Lakers at the Utah Jazz.

10:43 a.m. Gray arrives at the Delta Center for the 1:35 p.m. tip-off. A producer tells him that Jazz forward Bryon Russell recently visited a comatose woman in a hospital. An hour after he left, the woman emerged from the coma. She is expected at today's game. "Gotta check that one out," says Gray.

10:48 am. All 19,911 seats are empty save for a pair occupied by Gray and Lakers whiz kid Kobe Bryant. "Jim's big-time," says Bryant, whose dad, Joe, played for the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that hired Gray as a broadcaster when he graduated from Colorado in 1981.

11:50 a.m. Nick Van Exel arrives in street clothes for a pregame interview. "This O.K., Jim?" asks Van Exel.

"Put your jersey top on," Gray orders in a tone that Lakers coach Del Harris might not dare use with his mercurial point guard.

"Whatever you say," says Van Exel.

11:53 a.m. Excerpt from the second take of the Van Exel interview:

Van Exel: "Composure definitely the most important thing. We gotta stay away from [ Utah's] dirty tactics."

Gray: "Definitely firing a slavo there."

Producer: "Salvo?"

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