The health pandemic destroyed lots of events over the last year, but it also caused new opportunities in a strange way. I was able to cover the WNBA all season through Zoom sessions. One of the real cool parts was interacting with Las Vegas Aces Head Coach Bill Laimbeer.
Laimbeer is probably better known as one of the Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys" of the 80s-90s. The Pistons and the Chicago Bulls had a heated rivalry for years and Laimbeer was right in the middle of it always. Chants of "Laimbeer Sucks" and worse rang out in the Chicago Stadium whenever the Pistons were in town.
Fast forward to last year, I was a bit apprehensive going into my first media session with Laimbeer. It's no secret he can be gruff. I didn't know what to expect.
In that first session, I found Laimbeer to be straight forward and totally likable. We even had a few laughs. Every session after that was similar. I'm not going to claim I was Laimbeer's favorite, because after the fact. he probably didn't give me another thought. Still, during the sessions, I always got a chuckle or two out of him. I occasionally detoured into questions about his appearances on tv's Land of the Lost, the old rivalries and other non-WNBA topics. I think he appreciated the variety.
In the offseason, Liz Cambage returned to the Aces (as reported here last week). Already one of the best teams in the league, the Aces are poised to make a real run a the title this season.
The official schedule has not yet been released. I don't know if Zoom sessions will return, but I am hoping I have not seen the last of Laimbeer.
Go to WNBA.com for more info on Laimbeer, the Aces and the rest of the WNBA. Also, check here, Patch.com, GlobalTravelerUSA.com and GlobalWomensSportsRadio.com for my recurring coverage.
Bill Liambeer and me in FL/IL-Summer 2020.