Well folks I can officially mark one off the bucket list. (And no I did not visit the Chicken McNugget factory at McDonald Headquarters or have a sword fight in a public bathroom with Dave Grohl) The other night I got to sit courtside at the Lakers game. I’m sure many of you are wondering how in the hell someone like me would be in those seats. To be honest, I’m still wondering myself.
It was a Monday afternoon and I was just doing my normal thang at work. My wealthy and powerful CEO walks into the office and yells out “Who wants to go to the Lakers vs. Jazz game tomorrow night? I got four tickets.” I was in complete shock. I was aware he had courtside tickets next to the Lakers bench, but I never thought in my wildest dreams he would ever give them to some peon such as myself. Let’s face it, there are more important people in the world to wine and dine than this guy...
|My latest modeling headshot. Thoughts?|
I look around the office and it is complete silence. If nobody else was going to step up to the plate, I sure as heck was going to take advantage of this golden opportunity. So I turn to him and say “I’ll take one. Or two. If that’s okay of course.” I didn’t want to be too greedy and plus I would have been perfectly fine going by myself. Fortunately, he was gracious enough to give me two tickets and then a co-worker stepped in and took the other two.
Even though this was an exhibition game, Kobe was out with his injury and they were playing the lowly Utah Jazz, I was still more than ecstatic. Growing up a die-hard NBA fan, it was always one of my dreams to sit courtside at a basketball game. When I was 8 years old my dad was able to score 12th row seats to a Bulls game, but then I sharted in my pants and totally ruined the whole experience. (True story) So what was going to happen now? Was I going to shart my pants again? Would I accidentally trip Paul Gasol and ruin the Lakers season? Or would I get hit in the face with a basketball, get my teeth knocked out and burst into tears in front of national television? It all just seemed to good to be true.
The wife and I arrive at the Staples Center and the usher points us to our seats. For some reason we misunderstand her directions and walk to the wrong side of the court. Good start Jonno! You are really making it seem like you belong here. Finally we get to our seats and take everything in. It was quite a beautiful site.
|Who knew white people played in the NBA?|
We are both starving and have about 20-25 minutes before the game starts. Somebody had mentioned to me that our tickets would get us into a private VIP lounge underneath the tunnel where they have free food and drinks. I didn’t want to leave our seats, but at the same time the fat Jewish kid in me could not pass up a free meal. I was hoping we could scarf down some grub and then make it back to the seats before the player introductions.
We waddle into the lounge and there are about 30 rich people eating and drinking. I think I even saw Andy Garcia in there, but I didn’t care because my mind was only focused on one thing. (Side note: I think Andy Garcia might be the most famous actor, where no one can name a movie he has actually been in.) I make my way to the buffet and just go absolutely nuts. I pile on my plate mini hamburgers, hot dogs, brawts, egg rolls, pot stickers, onion rings, lettuce wraps and a carrot cake cupcake.
|Me at the Buffet Line|
I honestly don’t know what happens to me when I’m confronted with free food. It's like I get possessed my some chubby devil. Or maybe its possible in a former life I was starving in Ethiopia and now I'm trying to make up for it. All I know is that I was embarrassing the wife and disgusting Andy Garcia at the same time. As I’m stuffing my face with onion rings, I ironically see one of my fraternity brothers from college. We chatted for a little bit and both chuckled at the fact that we did not belong in the luxurious VIP lounge.
We head back to the game and have to awkwardly cut through the Lakers' coaches in order to get back to our seats. I look up at the scoreboard and there are only six minutes left in the 1st Quarter! I couldn't believe the noshing and schmoozing caused me to miss that much of the game. Despite the late start, the game was absolutely unbelievable. I loved watching all the little behind the scene things such as... The coaches yelling at the players... Coaches/players yelling at the referees... Players talking smack to one another... Gawking uncomfortably at the Laker Girls... The game went by so fast and I was praying for it to never end. Unfortunately though, the game was missing one thing...
A 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets (Lakers Edition)
A 6-Piece Chicken McNuggets (Lakers Edition)
2. Pau Gasol appears to be one of the friendliest players in the NBA. And if I may say... Quite a tall drink of water.
3. There was a box of various types of gum next to me on the scores table. Late in the game, the Lakers Coach, Mike D'Antoni, reaches into the box and picks out a piece of Big Red. I then say to him... "Good Choice. Good Choice." Instead of giving me the finger, he laughed along at my comment. (Shortly after, I was tasered by security.)
4. My dad was so excited as he was watching the game on TV back in Chicago, my mom actually thought he was going to jump into the TV.
5. Can we move on from the "Kiss Cam" already? I feel like it's reached its full potential. Similar to how "The Wave" did in 1996.
6. When you are watching the Lakers Girls, try not appear creepy and always keep your hands above your waist.