Behind The Scenes

Green Room Kate: Spike Lee

Front Row recently debuted a new series as editorial assistant Kate Rosen transforms into “Green Room Kate” (@GreenRoomKate). While using her alter ego, Kate roams the studios, hallways, green rooms and other ESPN campus hot spots as celebrities, athletes and newsmakers visit the Bristol, Conn. campus.

The series continues today as Green Room Kate spends the day with legendary director, producer, writer and actor Spike Lee during his Wednesday visit to ESPN.

We’ll take you through the highlights of S- P- I -K -E -L -E -E’s jam-packed day.

S (erena)

Spike’s answer when asked who he thought was the best female athlete of all time: Serena Williams. He cited her “physicality” as to what makes the tennis champ stand out amongst her competition, and that “she’s on another level” compared to other female athletes.

Spike Lee being interviewed by espnW in the Green Room. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
Spike Lee being interviewed by espnW in the Green Room. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)

P (ride)

Spike’s got a lot of it for the city of New York. This Sunday he’ll be the Grand Marshal for the New York City Marathon, the first ever New Yorker and the third overall in the race’s history. Spike mentioned many times throughout the day that New York is “the greatest city on the planet,” although he knows it’s “not for everybody, and if you’re not strong you can get beaten down,” especially for athletes who endure harsh headlines in the media. As much as he loves his city, Spike still gets mad when “I can’t get a cab!”

The comments regarding his love for New York were mainly in a response to a recent video of New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony somewhat ripping the city.

Spike Lee with SportsCenter hosts Chris McKendry and Jay Crawford discussing his Grand Marshal status in the New York City parade. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
Spike Lee with SportsCenter hosts Chris McKendry and Jay Crawford discussing his Grand Marshal status in the New York City parade. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)

I (nsightful)

Spike discussed the much-debated gun laws on Russillo & Kanell. The filmmaker has an upcoming star-studded film titled “Chi-raq” (a combination of “Chicago” and “Iraq”) about the gang violence prevalent in the south side of Chicago. He explained that the city’s grim murder rate compares to the death toll suffered by U.S. troops in recent Mideast warfare.

Spike Lee joining Ryen Russillo (r) and Danny Kanell on Russillo & Kanell. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)

K (rzyzewski)

While on The Dan Le Batard Show, Spike had a special request for Duke basketball’s Mike Krzyzewski, aka Coach K, who was calling in after his segment:

“I’ve never sat amongst the Cameron Crazies [Duke student section]. That’s one of the things I want to do. Can you arrange me having two seats when you guys play the University of North Carolina Tarheels?”

Coach K responded: “He’s’ got to be a donor to our program – no, we can arrange that. He can’t be wearing North Carolina stuff, though.”

Spike Lee getting prepared for The Dan Le Batard Show . (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
Spike Lee getting prepared for The Dan Le Batard Show . (Kate Rosen/ESPN)

E (xpectations)

Lee is a famous courtside diehard New York Knicks fan. First Take asked for his thoughts on ESPN giving the team a 1 percent chance of making the playoffs, and what his expectations were for the upcoming season:

We’ve got to win more than 17 games! I’m trying to be positive. I’m hoping and praying for the best. I just want to see a competitive team – last year was the worst season in history for the franchise.”

Spike Lee ready to make his grand entrance on the First Take set. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
Spike Lee ready to make his grand entrance on the First Take set. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)

“L (isten to you every morning!”)

… Is what Spike told hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg as he was leaving their set. Golic also asked Spike for some advice for his wife Christine running in the NYC Marathon this weekend, and he responded with an, “Enjoy it! Just finish.” (Easier said than done!)

Although more of a treadmill runner himself, Spike’s absolutely honored to have the Grand Marshal responsibilities, and he believes it will be “one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”

Spike Lee at his first stop of the morning on the Mike & Mike set. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
Spike Lee at his first stop of the morning on the Mike & Mike set. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)

E (xciting)

The Dan Le Batard Show asked Spike who the most exciting athlete was that he’s worked with.
“Of course I would have to say MJ [Michael Jordan]. The commercials that we did back in the day changed the game.”

As far as feature films?: “Ray Allen, ‘He Got Game.'”

Something you might not know:

“Do The Right Thing”: “The role of Sal was offered to Robert De Niro first but he didn’t want to do it.” How did that conversation go? “Spike is not for me.”
“He Got Game”: “Stephon Marbury and Allen Iverson didn’t want to audition, they just wanted me to hand them the role.”

Spike Lee gave The Dan Le Batard Show some secrets behind his famous films.
(Kate Rosen/ESPN)

E (ncouragement)

… For the Mets – this despite Spike being a Yankee fan. On First Take, commentator Stephen A. Smith, a fellow Yankee fan and New Yorker, agreed with Spike’s sentiments about supporting the New York teams. However, commentator Skip Bayless thought it was “a lame rationale.

Spike: You can be a Yankee fan and be happy that the Mets are in the World Series.
Skip: Are you happy?
Spike: Yes! I want the Mets to win!
Skip: Why?
Spike: Who’s in Kansas City!?
–silence–
Skip: “…the Royals?”

Spike Lee during a First Take commercial break with moderator Molly Qerim and featured commentators Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
Spike Lee during a First Take commercial break with moderator Molly Qerim and featured commentators Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless. (Kate Rosen/ESPN)
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