LZ Granderson’s Jason Collins SportsCenter interview draws attention during busy news week

It’s never easy to break through the clutter of Super Bowl week. When that stretch coincides with President Obama’s fifth State of the Union address, the task to elevate news is even tougher.

LZ Granderson (Allen Kee / ESPN Images)
LZ Granderson (Allen Kee/ESPN Images)

But LZ Granderson’s Tuesday SportsCenter interview with NBA player Jason Collins (see video above), managed to rise above the din – for a few hours any way.

“I was in the car in New York and headed to the airport when I received a call from the news desk,” Granderson said. “I learned we had the opportunity to interview Jason but the time and exact location was still shaky. So instead of flying home to Chicago, I flew into [Washington] D.C.

“By the time I landed, the details were clearer,” he said. “From there it was just a matter of figuring out the arc of the interview and then me doing some additional research.”

The 12-minute conversation with Collins – who was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama’s for the State of the Union address – covered a variety of topics.

“I’ve said it in the past and I’ll say it again. We couldn’t ask for a better athlete to approach this journey than Jason. . .” Granderson said. “His brother Jarron was there as well, and he teased him about his ‘gut’, but then when it was time to discuss policy, he was comfortable there, too. Hard to imagine him struggling in an NBA locker room as openly gay because he’s so intellectually and emotionally nimble.”

Granderson is no stranger to the White House, having covered politics among other things, “but being in the most powerful building in the world never gets old,” he said. “The thing that always strikes me is the security. A lot of information you have to give beforehand and a lot of mean mugging when you get there. Once inside, it’s warm and all good. But trying to get in, those guards are serious.”

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