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Awkward: Rachel Nichols doused with champagne by Pat Riley (video)

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Longtime ESPN reporter Rachel Nichols (her signoff at tWWL was the best), who jumped ship to join CNN and Turner Sports in January, got into a little more than the basic hard-hitting journalism we’ve grown accustomed to receiving from her courtesy of her generally professional demeanor during a locker room interview with Miami Heat team president Pat Riley.

It’s hardly surprising that in the Heat locker room, fresh off the securing of consecutive NBA championships, the scene was chaotic, the environment was rich with rapture and the champagne was flowing.

And then, all of a sudden, the mood and interplay between Riley and Nichols changed from professional and genial to playful and a forecast of cloudy with a chance of booze showers.

Yep, Riley proceeded to dump a bottle of champagne on the head of Miss Nichols. It wasn’t awkward at all.

Okay, it was incredibly awkward. How Riley leaned in and gave Nichols a kiss on the cheek only upped the awkwardness.

While not placing one iota of blame on Nichols, she did appear more than willing to go along with Riley’s champagne shower hijinks. By no means is it implied that Nichols should have been expected to go all Tim McCarver on Riley, but let’s be honest, she appeared to enjoy it. Perhaps just a smidgen too much.

And frankly, not trying to contradict myself — although I am — why shouldn’t she? She seems like a nice gal. She’s a good reporter. Why can’t she get in on the fun for one brief moment.

Plus, it was enjoyable to watch. In an awkward sort of way. Everybody wins!

[H/T Guyism]