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|| SportsShooter.com: News Item: Posted 2007-02-27

Leading Off: My Heroes of February
By Robert Hanashiro, Sports Shooter

Photo by Bob Deutsch / USA TODAY

Photo by Bob Deutsch / USA TODAY
February maybe the year's shortest month, but for me, it's usually the busiest and most tiring. (As a matter of fact, I am sick in bed fighting a flu bug as I write this!)

The end of a long football season, basketball and major entertainment awards shows pack the month and at times it feels like I'm on a rollercoaster at Magic Mountain … riding the highs of covering a big event then dealing with the lows of battling fatigue and staying up late archiving shoots onto disks and trying to catch up with my other life … husband, dad and Sports Shooter.

So I just wanted to salute my heroes for the month …

My USA TODAY colleague Bob Deutsch never ceases to amaze me when it comes to overcoming the chaos on the field after a big game. And Super Bowl XLI was a reaffirmation that he is indeed the King of The Scrum.

Bob's photograph of Colts' head coach Tony Dungy being carried off the field on the shoulders of his players was about as perfect as could be. The flare from the rain, the fireworks in the background, Dungy's upraised arms … captured in a single frame, in the pouring rain with literally a hundred people on his back. I don't know how he does it.

I'm not much into the current pop/hip-hop/rap music as you can tell by reading the tag lines at the end of each of my Sports Shooter columns. I'm not very sophisticated musically and my tastes tend to range from Van Morrison to Chet Baker to Frank Sinatra to Aerosmith. But there is no denying that I love music.

The highlight of the Awards Show Season for me is always the annual Grammy Awards. And this year was no different. I love the different mix of music and the various combinations the producers of the show come up with. (After reading a story in the LA times about how they arrange the duets, I can't believe that they virtually had to beg Beyonce to open the show with Prince a couple of years back!)

So after covering the Grammy Show at Staples Center, my new singing hero has to be Christina Aguilera. To say she just sang a rendition of James Brown's It's Man's, Man's World is an understatement … she BLEW AWAY the crowd. Me included.

(If you didn't see the telecast … I hate to say this … but run a search on YouTube and check it out!)

Her vocal range and breath (holding a note for what seems like 5 minutes) is legendary. But the emotion, the desire and passion she put into this song would have made the Godfather himself very, very proud.

Sam Morris details what went on during the NBA All Star Weekend later in this issue and while I was also there to cover the "festivities" for USA TODAY, the primary story I was to work on was chronicling the Miami's Heat's Dwyane Wade stay in Las Vegas.

A story like this is often a good news - bad news proposition with promises of access not quiet what you thought, publicists, bodyguards and other hangers-on to deal with. But D-Wade is as classy, genuine and nice as he seems on the court and in his commercials.

And the people I dealt with during my time with him … his family, publicist and bodyguard … were equally as nice.

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Miami Heat All Star guard Dwyane Wade reacts to seeing the marquee outside of the Palm Hotel after leaving the NBA media availability where he was mobbed by sports writers, TV and radio crews.
One story sums things up for me: During the East All Stars open practice at the Mandalay Bay Resort I spotted a father and his young son wearing a Wade 3 jersey, standing just off the corner of the court. Hotel and NBA security personnel kept trying to shoo them back into the stands but they held their ground. I shot a couple of frames from behind as they watched Wade shoot free throws at the end of practice and then get mobbed by TV cameras when practice ended.

After the obligatory sound bites, security began to move Wade off the court, away from the father and son. But he had caught a glimpse of them earlier and after a few steps, turned around and went over to meet the two fans that had driven all the way from Northern California for a chance to meet their favorite NBA player. Classy move by a classy guy.

Nobody … and I mean NOBODY … represents cool like Jack Nicholson. During the last 40 minutes of the Academy Awards Nicholson was wandering around backstage just hanging out, waiting for his time to make a presentation on stage.

There was Jack high-fiving best actor winner Forrest Whittaker, chatting up Gwyneth Paltrow, hugging Martin Scorsese after he received his best director Oscar … sporting his new shaved dome and with the ever-present shades.

At one point, Jack passed the backstage photographers, mugged for a half a minute and said "Are you getting anything good boys?"

Jack is the ultimate in cool.

And the last of my heroes for February are wife Deanna and daughter Emma. They had to put up with a lot … my working 12 days straight at one point, dealing with getting me to traffic school and now a bad cold caught at the Super Bowl that has developed into a bad case of the flu. It's months like this that remind me that I am very lucky … without a great family I couldn't do what I do and Sports Shooter wouldn't get out every month.

Mahalo!

* * *

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Photo by Robert Hanashiro / USA TODAY

Jack Nicholson watches from the wings in the Kodak Theater during the 79th annual Academy Awards
Sports Shooter v.99 … yes one more until the big 100! … features reports on Super Bowl XLI from Scott Strazzante and Bob Scheer. Sam Morris gives us the lowdown on the recent NBA All Star Weekend in Las Vegas.

Airlines travel has been big in the news lately and Darren Carroll offers some advice on how to lessen the stress, strain and how to fly a little smarter. Sports Illustrated's Porter Binks writes about what you need to know to cover the upcoming NCAA basketball tournament.

Bryan Moss is a self-avoid non-sports photographer … and he tells us why. And we have regular contributions from Paul Myers and Zach Honig.

So sit back and relax. Adjust your monitor. Take a listen to Rachel Yamagata's in-studio concert on the Morning Becomes Eclectic website … and enjoy Sports Shooter v.99!

Acknowledgements
As always, thanks to Special Advisors & Contributors: Deanna & Emma Hanashiro, Brad Mangin, Rod Mar, Trent Nelson, Jason Burfield, Grover Sanschagrin, Joe Gosen, The Photodude, Reed Hoffmann, Paul Myers, Darren Carroll, Zach Honig and Bob Deutsch.

Thanks this month to: Scott Strazzante, Robert Scheer, Sam Morris, Chris Detrick and Bryan Moss.

I welcome any comments, corrections, suggestions and contributions. Please e-mail me at bert@sportsshooter.com.

The Sports Shooter Archives as well as tons of cool resources and information can be accessed through the Internet at http://www.SportsShooter.com.

Use of the content of the Sports Shooter Newsletter is prohibited without the expressed written permission of The Big Kahuna and the author of the article.

Opinions, rants, raves, insults and praise whether intend or not, are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Sports Shooter and public sensibilities.
Copyright Sports Shooter, Inc.

Contents copyright 2017, SportsShooter.com. Do not republish without permission.
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