My First Press Conference EVER & My Question to Jimmy Butler About His Hair Extensions Goes Viral!
Last Monday September 26, I had a life changing moment unlike any other. An opportunity that not only shifted my outlook on my career, but made me appreciate and value my role in the media. I was invited with The Phoenix Tv to Co-Host The Jeff Fox Show to my first ever Miami Heat Media Day at the FTX Arena where they invited over 20 local Media outlets to come out and speak with The Team Roster about their hopes for the upcoming season, give a chance for the players to connect with mass audiences across diverse platforms, as well as create content for both the league and athlete fans.
The day was filled with non-stop action and one of my very own Press Room questions even went viral concerning Jimmy Butler‘s new locs hair-do that had the internet in a frenzy. In this #Afrankietale…get to know everything that went through my mind leading up to and after this very moment! The #JimmyButler Hair moment….was a moment I created and I am still in shock! At not only how fast news travels, but just how powerful and impactful words can be.
Now there is not denying the amount of nerves I was feeling leading up to my question. I knew I didn’t have much to ask or contribute regarding sports, as I have not been in the loop of the NBA for a few seasons now. But I still wanted to ask a question, just not one that can potentially through off the entire synergy of the Press Conference.
Though I did not have much context as to what exactly I was going to contribute to the Press Conference or present conversation regarding the upcoming season, I still wanted to leave my mark and let my presence be known as the smallest fish in the big pond. This was my very FIRST Press Conference in my career as a Journalist, so it was imperative I not only stood-out but also that I added value to the conversation. So I did what I do best— add some charm and ask a Human Interest question, about something completely unrelated to the game of basketball— Jimmy Butler’s new hair style.
Once it was my turn to ask a question, I opened by saying, “Well Jimmy, as an athlete with BIG HAIR myself…” creating a relatable, safe-space for him to open up and be slightly vulnerable. I continued to ask, “..I know how difficult it can be to have so much hair while being an athlete. How do you think your new hair weight is going to effect your performance on the court and what has it done for you and your brand off the court?”
After a slight chuckle and nod of discernment, Jimmy had a quick rebuttal “I don’t have on any extensions, I don’t know what you’re talking about.” To which created a roar of laughter in the Press Room, seeing as though we all know Butler clearly added some hair to his own— as part of the style. He actually shared his hair journey with his followers on Instagram back in July. Revealing a start-finish recap video showing the process of how he made them longer.
Immediately following my question to Jimmy Butler regarding his hair, News headlines surfaced all over the internet. Sweeping social media platforms by storm with Butler’s sound bite regarding his hair and his plans for keeping it or not for the remainder of the season.
His response was immediately reported by The Bleacher Report and Baller Alert causing it to go Viral and shared to over 30 Major news outlets nationwide including ESPN, NBAtv, Sports Illustrated, ESPNonNBA, 5 Reasons Sports, Miami Heat media, Local 10, CBS 4, amongst other local news station outlets. Currently, if you search #JimmyButler, you will find an extensive amount of clips, memes, and quotable content from this very moment and question I asked him.
Check out MY SOUNDBITE!!
Taylor Rooks of The Bleacher Report even continued the conversation on NBA Tv. Giving Butler the chance to further elaborate on his decision on whether or not he will be keeping the locs on the court for the upcoming season. During this later interview following the Press Conference, he actually revealed he will not be sporting the new look. Rooks Tweeted:
It was a great moment to both create and witness a human-like side to Jimmy Butler by asking him a question to put him at ease all while showcasing his sense of humor and personality through his comedic response. Black Twitter wasted no time in turning to the comparisons and heckles— stating that he looks like rappers Lil Baby, Offset, and Yung Thug with his new look.
It’s safe to say that I had no idea this question will have this type of impact and create a viral moment for both Jimmy Butler and The Miami Heat for the day. For a girl who was nervous to ask a question, forgot to introduce herself and her Press Outlet prior to asking my question due to the nerves, and asked a major NBA athlete a question completely unrelated to the game of basketball or what to look forward to for the upcoming season— I can honestly say that I am so happy and proud of myself for this small moment that left a BIG impact.
Even Miami Heat Sportscaster Eric Reid gave me great personal feedback regarding my tenacious attitude and lively personality through my questions to the athletes. “Really great, great questions kid,” he said as he swiftly walked passed me with a form handshake and left me in a bit of a star-striking daze. I guess its all in how you approach your fears. I lead with the concept of injecting fun and creating a moment, and that’s exactly what made this moment in media so impactful— the personality that outpoured from both myself as a Journalist and Jimmy Butler as an Athlete.
Right before concluding his talking points and moving on to the next Press question, I murmured to Butler from the Press Box, “It looks good. Don’t take it off” which you can actually hear at the end of the Press Conference Clip audio. To which he bashfully responded “Thank you” with a cheesy ear-to ear smile. This was certainly an unforgettable moment in my career that was birthed from mere faith and belief in myself. Who would have thought the question least related to sports, will become the most Trending Topic tied to Miami Heat Media Day. Looks like it was a great day to be a journalist and writer for the Westside Gazette.
Aside from this great moment, I also had the pleasure of asking Bam Adebayo about perhaps launching a personal brand at this point in his career. I prefaced my question with talking about other Iconic Basketball Players who have went on to launch successful brands- Micheal Jordan. Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, & Lebron James. I empowered him by opening up with a compliment too his name— “BAM! With a Name Like That! You’ve Got to Luach A Brand!“ After all the introductory banter, I finally got around to asking,”Is that something you’ve ever considered or think you’d like to do at this point in your career?“ Another sports…but not really sports related question. He too lit up. The entire room felt my energy and this was only my first time in this setting. It was all so surreal!
He answered back with a bright smile and optimism sharing that perhaps he will convert his social media motivational hashtags into some sort of brand. “You know what, now that you say that, I am gonna start me a little brand.” Perhaps this is something we can expect in the near future or in the years to come, there is no telling as to when we can expect this from Bam— as he left no promises or announcements of a launch date. And welp, call me ballsy….but I SHOT ME SHOT! Immediately following the Press Conference, I sent BAM an Instagram DM, pitching myself as a potential Creative Consultant to him. You never know….life is all about taking risks, seizing the moment, and exploring new opportunities! The worst that can happen is that he says no or worse…..LEAVES ME ON READ! Lol. Take a look at my message to him below!
Following the Press Conference, The Jeff Fox Show was granted with the opportunity to set-up a personalized Media section in the Practice Gymnasium to interview athletes, sportscasters, and other pertinent guests and invitees. The room was covered with media outlets from multiple channels, Sports platforms and Television networks. Including ESPN, Fox Sports, Telemundo, ABC, and CBS 4 just to name a few. We even got a chance to interview Gabe Vincent who actually made the first approach in speaking TO ME! He complimented my Miami-Vice Cross Colored Outfit and style and engaged in causal conversation with me as he waited his turn for the general media press box. (I def internally melted!)
As we were casually conversing about how flattered I was by his candor and compliment, my Co-Host Jeff Fox actually took the opportunity to conduct a quick; candid interview. Even after being told no by Press Heat Staff because Gabe was to report to the Press Box, Jeff suggested we’d still do it….”really quickly“ before he had to take off…Defiantly but still professionally, Jeff said to Phoenix “Rolling!” And just Like that….we got an exclusive!
This expereince was definitely an eye-opener and overall learning lesson to never back down from an opportunity. In this industry you have to have guts, be persistent, think and act FAST, learn to grow thick skin, and learn how to bend the rules a little. That’s Media 101! Othewise, you’re yesterday’s News and Tomorrow’s Headline.!
Check out the links below from Sports Illustrated, ClutchPoints, VladTv, and other Popular Sports and Pop Culture News outlets where you can catch Butler’s response: