NBA G League organizations run grassroots operations. Some teams split arenas with their NBA counterpart if they are in the same area. Others share time with nearby colleges or play out of other medium-sized gyms in their hometowns.
Wayne State Fieldhouse opened in 2021, now home to the Detroit Pistons G League affiliate Motor City Cruise and Wayne State University’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The 3,000 seat state-of-the-art facility is a great place to catch a game. Big enough to feel the professional atmosphere. Small enough to get in-and-out of the parking lot quickly and grab concessions in a timely manner.
The media room sits just beside the home locker room. You won’t see any big press conferences happening there. Two small desks sit against side walls with a Cruise branded backdrop propped in front of the other. There isn’t a podium, with interviews conducted as stand-ups with media members surrounding team coaches or players.
Just before Cruise head coach Jamelle McMillan addressed the media following a 101-92 win over the Cleveland Charge on Friday, team PR announced a special guest would also attend the press conference. This isn’t out of the ordinary. Players available for press conferences change on a moment’s notice regularly. Jamelle is the son of former NBA head coach Nate McMillan who happened to attend that night’s game. Maybe the former coach wanted to share his thoughts on his son’s beginnings leading a professional basketball team.
As the small contingent wondered, Jamelle walked into his press conference holding his young son. Media members awed at the adorable moment.
“Good win out there right?” Detroit Sports Nation’s Eric Vincent remarked to both generations of McMillans.
“Yeah,” The younger McMillan chimed back, proud of what he just witnessed his dad accomplish.
Jamelle spoke to his team’s resiliency throughout the rest of the presser with his son in his arms, intently listening to each question and response. As Jamelle finished praising his team’s efforts and looking ahead, he and his son were off to greet the rest of their family. “Anything else?” Jamelle asked his son while exiting the room.
Nervously looking around, not sure what to say, he received a final question in what he may remember as his first ever press conference. “What’s your name?” I asked the little guy.
“Mike.” He smiled back. Mike McMillan’s first experience speaking to the media finished.