The media guy is asked to deal with three topical subjects.
Brett Favre: “I think, as long as you are physically able to play, a player should go for it because you don’t have forever. Now with Brett Favre, I am kind of like everybody else. I’m tired of hearing about it.”
Michael Vick: “I’m glad he is getting his second shot. He paid his debt to society.”
Plaxico Burress: “I understand what he did was wrong. But I feel like two years [in prison] is harsh. But that’s the law. I did some research on it to be more informed, and New York has very strict gun laws. So while I might think two years is tough, that is the law. And his sentence is pretty standard in New York.”
Haywood has become something of a media junkie, watching an array of shows on ESPN, listening to talk radio and reading an assortment of publications. He appreciates the on-air insights of Doug Collins and Hubie Brown, thinks they are the best at what they do. He used to get a kick out of Bill Walton.
“I would tape the games that he did on us, go home and start watching it, and he would have me laughing about some of the things he would say about me,” Haywood says.
He likes Mark Jackson, Greg Anthony and Jay Bilas. He understood the shtick of Stephen A. Smith, the angry one. He sees what others do but is developing his own style and voice.
“I do my homework,” Haywood says. “You have to do a whole lot more preparation when you’re in the media. You have to be knowledgeable about all the sports, all the players and teams, not just the team you’re playing next when you are a player.”
Haywood prefers to watch the NBA over the college game because of the high quality of athleticism and skill.
“But come NCAA tournament time, March Madness is hard to beat,” he says.
He is encouraged by the personnel changes of the Wizards - the trade that secured Randy Foye and Mike Miller and the free agent signing of Fabricio Oberto.
“I feel like we have become a very deep team,” Haywood says.
He sticks the Cavaliers, Celtics and Magic at the top of the Eastern Conference.
“I would put us fourth after them,” he says. “At the All-Star break, I will have to look at it again. Hopefully I will be able to reshuffle the order of the teams.”
Haywood is readying to put up his media hat, what with training camp set to commence in five weeks.