Interestingly enough, he gave me almost no access. I just reported my butt off. I talked to everyone I could in the locker room, watched his every move. One of his teammates was REALLY great about giving me a bunch of details about him. So was one of his coaches. Slowly, I began to piece together a picture of him. I followed him after each game for as long as I could, respectfully keeping my distance, just to see who he interacted with, etc.
When the piece was essentially written, I got him on the phone for 10 minutes. I was able to confirm a bunch of stuff, asking him a few more questions I was curious about, and that's when I really felt truly comfortable going with the second person.