Well I've managed to get off my ass just in time to contribute to the official NBA Stadiums Blog Day, created by my man Nate Jones, (and fellow Laker fan), over at Jones On The NBA. So what is NBA Stadium Blog Day you ask? Well I'll tell you young Jedi, it's when bloggers from around the NBA blogosphere tell stories about their favourite NBA stadiums and look back at some of their most memorable NBA stadium experiences. While I've been fortunate to have visited a few stadiums in the league, as they say in Kasnas, there's no place like home.
As a former Raptors season ticket holder during the height of Vinsanity, I make it good practice to keep in contact with my old sales rep Mike. Four years ago in November, he called me and offered a pair of complimentary courtside seats against the Seattle Supersonics, (RIP). Not courtside, where you're 4 rows deep, I'm talking, Beyonce & Jay-Z centre-court courtside, I'm talking, Rafael Araujo please run past, so I can Larry David you courtside.
Getting the call the day of, I invited my buddy Dudley since his birthday was right around the corner, and off we went. Now for those who have never sat courtside, you're watching the game from an entirely different perspective; you can hear plays being called, and all the on court trash talk, yet more importantly you really get an appreciation for how big these guys are. Oh, and people tend to notice you as you're sitting there, thinking you're someone special, especially when they put you up on the big screen for doing nothing but eating popcorn.
Now I like to heckle players, something I usually do when I'm at a game, however this was a whole new experience... I was so much closer. So at some point during the game, Danny Fortson checks in. Now Danny, is on his fifth team in eight NBA seasons and is far from the man he used to be. His role now is to come in, clean up some boards and put a body on people, he's also 6'8" and 260 pounds, which seemingly played no factor in what I did next. After a hard Fortson foul, "You're a goon Fortson, why don't you just play some defence?", "That's a flagrant ref", "Come on ref, someone is going to get hurt the way he's playing", and then something interesting happened, he began to hear me. So of course I just unloaded more, any chance I got, even when he's on the bench.
What's more, my buddy Dudley, who is bigger than me, started getting uncomfortable, "Hey, if he comes over here and starts stomping you with those size 16 shoes, you're on your own." I disregard his uneasiness as Fortson inbounded a ball, mere metres from our seats, "You're a bum Fortson. You don't got no game", I yelled. Then he gave me one of those icy death glares, you know the part in Menace II Society when the shopkeeper says "I feel sorry for your mother", and then O-dog goes off? It was kinda like that moment, but instead of shooting me in the face, he just ran up the court.
So at that point, I just cooled off and enjoyed the view and the rest of the game, only to get home and watch the hoops highlights and discover that same night, Ron Artest went up in the stands to punch a fan out. Well, that fan wasn't really sitting courtside, he was like 4 rows up, he wasn't Beyonce & Jay-Z close...