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Gilbert Answers My Questions

Our adventures continued, previous episodes here and here....

After Gil arrived at the NBA Store's "Center Court," he sat down for a comfortable green-jacketed interview with NBA TV. I strained to listen from behind the velvet ropes. They asked about his shoe. "It's unbelievable," he said. "I'm so excited about it....No one believed in my talent. Everyone doubted me." Etc.

At least someone was happy. (Courtesy Washington Wizards)

I left the studio to chat with Adidas NYC footwear sales rep Bruce Dunfee about the Gil-Zero. "Honestly, when I first saw it as a sales rep, I thought 'Wow, this is definitely different,'" Bruce said. "It's not what we usually do, with the three stripes. It speaks to the new generation; it's younger, it's a sleeker look."

He said that Gil encompasses all the values Adidas holds dear, on and off the court. He said all of Adidas's NCAA "partner teams" will have the option of going to Gil-Zero "take-downs" in the tournament; that Kansas, for example, will wear a white-royal-and-red version of the Gil-Zero this March.

(The current color schemes are White/Rust/Lone Blue, Light Grey/Lone Blue/Rust and Black/Black/Metallic Gold. In January we'll see the White/White/Metallic Silver. In February, the more expensive versions will come out: the All-Star Edition (White/Dark Indigo/Cardinal), the Vegas Special Edition (Black/Black/Metallic) and the Vegas Urban SE (White/Metallic Gold/Fairway).)

After his NBA TV thing, Gil spoke with some sort of ESPN guy, predicting that Florida would beat Ohio State and asking for a big-screen TV and video games for Christmas. The Important People had promised there would be media availability, but Gil was running super-late for an in-studio ESPN appearance. "One question," an Important Person told me. "We're so crunched for time." Then he was turned loose to me and some local TV guy. Turned out to be longer than one question. We got 2 minutes and 32 seconds.

Local TV Guy: All right Gilbert, tell us a little bit about your shoe and why you named it the Gil Zero.

Gilbert: Um, one because we couldn't think of any other names, so we had to go with Gil-Zero. I tried to go Ground Zero, I tried to go Agent Zero, I tried to go anything that had to do with Zero. You know, so eventually we just came up with Gil-Zero. You know, but my first shoe's coming out so I'm excited about it. In a low top, because I love playing in low tops. And I can't play in high tops because I actually twist my ankle in high tops. So it's going to be interesting to see what kids buy it, you know, because it's made for walking, it's not actually made for basketball in a sense, because kids don't wear low tops for basketball.

Local TV Guy: How's it feel coming to New York City getting to promote your own shoe?

Gilbert: Oh it's great, you know, this is the first time I was ever in this store. You know, I always see everyone coming to New York to support something, to show something off, so this is my first time coming here and I'm happy about it.

Local TV Guy: Finally, you've seen guys like Jordan have their own shoe and all these guys, LeBron. How's it feel now to have your own sneaker?

Gilbert: Oh it feels great. I mean, that's what, when you grow up that's all you think about, making it to the NBA and having your signature shoe with your name on it. You know, so I'm very excited. I know all the people back home are going to buy it.

Me: So who's got the best-looking shoe in the NBA now?

Gilbert: Of course me. [J.C.], you had to ask that? Did you see them?

Me: The black one, or the, or the....

Gilbert: Any. It doesn't matter. All of them. Any one that comes out that says 'Gil Zero' is going to be dominant, you know, because a lot of players is wanting them right now....

Local TV Guy: What sort of reception do you get from the fans about the shoe?

Gilbert: A lot of people like it. You know, a lot of NBA players like it too. You know, Kevin Garnett wanted a pair, Tim Duncan wanted a pair, I already gave Chauncey a pair....

Me: So why are you going to this Arizona game tonight?

Gilbert: C'mon man. You know Arizona. You know, we rule the NBA actually. We have the most talent in the NBA came out of Arizona, the highest-paid players came out of Arizona, the best players came out of Arizona, so I have to go see what talents am I going to be facing next year.

Me: Ok, are you going to pick anything up from the Store here while you're here?

Gilbert: Uh, I'm thinking about buying an autographed something from Jordan, so we'll see.

Me: Did you see your picture around here when you were walking around?

Gilbert: No. I haven't actually looked.

Me: I didn't see it either.

Gilbert: Yeah. You know, I'm not that famous yet. You know, eventually I'll be here with the best of them.

Me: Ok, and when's the shoe going to be called the Agent Zero?

Gilbert: No, no, Gil-Zero.

Me: I mean, are you ever going to switch to the 'Agent Zero' name?

Gilbert: I don't know. I might think about that for the second one.

Four hours on a train with nothing to do, and those were the best questions I could come up with? Unbelievable.

The store was closed by this point. Gilbert was whisked upstairs and outside. The sensors didn't go off. Some fans had been camped outside with posters, waiting for autographs; he signed a few. He was surrounded by security and Important People. They crossed Fifth Avenue, heading for his ESPN interview. I thought about following them. I didn't. Instead, I reconvened with the Wizznutzz rogue intern and With Leather.

I felt like a failure. All that time, for Gilbert to tell me his shoe would be dominant.

"That's the good thing about a blog like ours," the Wizznutzz rogue intern said. "We can just make stuff up. Believe me, a lot of stuff will have happened tonight."

"Same thing with me," With Leather said. "I can talk about how hot his publicist was."

We headed in the other direction from Gilbert and his entourage.

To be cont., believe it or not.

By Dan Steinberg  |  December 6, 2006; 12:49 PM ET
Categories:  Wizards  
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