Kidsday reporters (l) Frank Jones, 10, Blue Point and Dan...

Kidsday reporters (l) Frank Jones, 10, Blue Point and Dan O'Doherty, 9, of Sayville with NBA rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. at the Knicks Training Facility in Westchester (Aug. 6, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

In August, we traveled to Westchester for the 2013 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot at the Knicks training facility. This was the first time the basketball rookies had ever worn their official NBA uniforms for their trading card photos. With our official media badges, we interviewed first-round draft picks, watched them pose for pictures and even shot hoops with some of the players.

We talked with seven players formally but met so many others. In one of our most memorable interviews, when we asked Tim Hardaway Jr., the top draft pick for the Knicks, for his advice on how to fulfill your dream of making it to the NBA, he said, "Let me pull up a chair for this." At 6-foot-6, he got down to our level and suggested that to make it to the NBA, you need to be determined and work hard.

One of our most challenging interviews was Cody Zeller, the top pick of the Charlotte Bobcats and fourth selection overall. At 7 feet, he towered over us -- but offered to bend down so we could interview him.

Our favorite part of the day was playing ball with Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall draft pick, who is now playing with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Victor Oladipo, the Orlando Magic's second overall pick, as well as several other players.

It was fun to watch the new players fooling around while playing the video game NBA 2K13. Even though they are not yet in this video game, they were playing against some of their future teammates. They were slam dunking on other players.

As rookie reporters and huge basketball fans, we were a little nervous at first to meet and interview these new NBA players. But then, just like the NBA rookies, we built up our confidence and got better at interviewing as the day went on. As we headed back to Long Island, we both agreed, "This was one great day."


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