Last month, news of Boston Celtics head coach Ime Udoka’s one-year suspension rocked the NBA World. For Sports Illustrated it also created a problem that sent the staff scrambling.
Sports Illustrated’s basketball preview issue features two different regional covers. One of them features the Boston Celtics.
However, there was a slight issue with this particular issue.
Writer Chris Mannix had done a story about the Boston Celtics looking to bounce back from an NBA Finals.
That’s a perfectly good story, but after everything was in place and finalized, the Udoka story broke.
Wouldn’t it be weird if a story about the Celtics’ upcoming season, just ignored that little tidbit?
The Ime Udoka News Changed Everything
Mannix had to find a way to quickly cram the Ime Udoka news into his story about the Celtics.
“This was one of the wilder kind of experiences,” Mannix told Awful Announcing. “Because we’re monthly, you file at least a month, I think it was actually a month and a half before we came to print. I filed it, I think, early to mid-September, that was before everything kind of unfolded. ”
This was a problem. The news that Udoka was out for engaging in an inappropriate relationship with a staffer, and that Joe Mazzulla was named interim head coach broke between September 21 and 22.
“I had spent weeks on the phone speaking to Ime Udoka for this story, speaking to Brad Stevens for this story, talking to every member of the starting five. And the way it kind of shook out, we had finalized the story, it was done, and it was off to whatever the digital version of the printing press is. It was gone.”
This meant Mannix had to alter his article quickly. To do this, he used mostly the press conference at which the team announced Udoka’s suspension, plus a few phone calls.
“But that was crazy, because it absolutely changed the story,” Mannix said.
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