NEW YORK — We are past the 7-hour mark at the NBA lockout talks, and there are no smoke signals coming from the negotiating room. It is another stakeout at another hotel, and the same cast of media characters is sitting vigil.
This time we are in a conference room instead of a lobby, quite an improvement over the sidewalk stakeout the night the media overran cozy East 63rd Street to such a degree that photographers nearly brawled.
One item of note from Indiana: A charity game involving NBA players scheduled for Sunday in New Castle, Ind., has been canceled, and a release from event organizers said it was because many of the players scheduled to participate were advised to prepare for a possible agreement. The “King of the Castle” event was to pit the Knox Indy Pro-Am League stars against Mario Chalmers’ Rio All-Stars. John Wall, Zach Randolph and Eric Gordon were expected to play.
Sean Deveney of the Sporting News did the math and tweeted that this was the 23rd negotiating session, and the sides have met for a total of more than 130 hours (not including tonight).
I have spent many of those 130 hours on stakeouts with the folks currently sitting around me.
So to kill some time, I have taken a survey of their favorite celebrity sightings during lockout stakeouts.
My personal favorite was the night I saw CarrotTop on the sidewalk outside the Sheraton and called him CarrotHead on Twitter. But I’ve seen nothing that compared to the random 1998 lockout sighting when Henry Kissinger casually strolled past the hotel where negotiations were taking place. (They could have used him.)
Here are the favorites from my colleagues.
Howard Beck, New York Times: Leaving the Waldorf-Astoria at 5:15 a.m. after an all-nighter last week, actress Betty White was exiting the same time. Unlike Beck, she presumably had gotten some sleep the previous night.
David Aldridge, NBA-TV: Bill Murray at the Walforf-Astoria. Few appreciate the movie Groundhog Day like us stakeoutissists.
Brian Mahoney, AP: Doing the outdoor stakeout in front of the trendy Lowell Hotel, who should come jogging by but Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. “I probably shouldn’t be talking to you guys,” Pop said before jogging off.
Ken Berger, CBS Sports.com: On the same day that Popovich jogged by the Lowell, former NFL running back Tiki Barber strolled by. Berger tweeted: “This would be the perfect time for negotiators to fumble.”
Henry Abbott, ESPN.com’s TrueHoop: After a long night of waiting outside the Lowell, Abbott was finally getting his long-awaited briefing from union spokesman Dan Wasserman when Wasserman suddenly bolted to shmooze with celebrity lawyer David Boies (who, ironically, was on the losing end of another 50-50 case, Bush v. Gore).
Marc Berman, New York Post: Two days ago outside the union’s offices in Harlem, John McEnroe exited the trendy restaurant the Red Rooster. Berman also covers U.S. tennis for The Post, and McEnroe always warns him on CBS conference calls not to ask him about the Knicks.
Mitch Lawrence, New York Daily News: Down the street from the Lowell, Lawrence eyed former CNN talk show host Larry King, wearing suspenders and blue jeans pulled up above his belly, screaming into his cell phone oblivious to everything going on around him.
Mason Levinson, Bloomberg News: Seeing Rev. Jesse Jackson walking around the lobby of the Sheraton in a track suit.