Interviewing the rich and famous.

ESPN sportscaster Mark Jones was born in Canada. But that doesn’t mean he
couldn’t have been star struck the other night while interviewing the President of the
United States.

It happened at halftime of the exhibition tilt between the Olympic basketball
teams from the United States and Brazil. Barack Obama was in attendance along
with wife Michelle and Vice-President Joe Biden at Verizon Center in Washington,
D.C. That’s about as highfalutin as it gets. And not only was Jones cool with the
country’s number one basketball fan, but Obama himself showed he could talk
basketball.

My first big time sports interview was with former L.A. Laker great and Hall
of Famer Kareem Abdul Jabbar. It happened when I was hired as the halftime host
for 76ers basketball on regional sports network PRISM-TV. The interview was
awful. I was nervous. I had prepared questions. I was stiff. Not only that but back
then, Kareem was a notoriously difficult interview anyway!

Take a deep breath before your big first interview. If it’s to be a brief one, a
few good questions in your head should be enough. Listen and follow-up interesting
responses—that’s the key. And also remember whoever it is your speaking to—it’s
just another human being, like you. Really…

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