The Chance to see an NBA game live .. never the less a Lakers game. A lifelong dream, that could only be beaten by seeing Michael Jordan play.
I always knew it was going to be a close call as my flight from Melbourne landed in LAX at 3:50pm and the game tip off was 6:30pm in Downtown LA.
The flight was maybe 15mins tops delayed. But getting through customs and baggage in LAX was crazy. Thousands of people all lined up to squeeze through 4 terminals. Stupid. So by the time i jumped in the cab at LAX it was 5:40pm then we had to fight through traffic to first check in at my Hotel on Sunset Blvd in Hollywood. Then back across to downtown LA and the Staples Centre for the Game.
Picked up my ticket easily enough and got directed to my seat. Sat down, had missed the tip off by maybe 5 minutes. But i reckon it took me the rest of the first quarter for it to sink in where i was. After jumping off the plane and rushing rushing and then rocking up at the Staples centre for a Lakers game, it just all felt like a dream.
i was really happy with my seat, was half way up the Tiers in height, and down one end of the court slightly off centre. So i got a great uninterupted view of all the court.
Spent the rest of the first half just soaking it all in. The players, the stadium, the sponsorship & advertising, the entertainment.
At half time i left my seat and went for a walk through the rest of the Complex. I was desperate for an energy kick, but both food & drink there was very nasty.
But i did come across a store, that would have been maybe 20mx20m big..so pretty massive, just fill with LA Lakers, LA Clippers, LA Kings merchandise. Absolutely every piece of clothing you could think of in every colour and design combination... even including Ice Hockey Sticks for Sale that LA Kings players had used in games and training that were now 'too damaged' for them ... perfect for all the rest of us.. for like $100 each.
And another crazy thing when i was walking around... i reckon 70% of fans were 40+ in age.. all decked out in Lakers gear. Obviously just been traditional fans since they were kids..
To be honest the second half was a struggle... i was dead tired.. had barely eaten or slept in 30ish hours...had this MASSIVE guy come late to the game sit next to me feeding his face...i kid you not he took up the entirety of his own seat and the majority of the 2 seats either side of him...
Who would have though the defending NBA champs decide to play their worst game in years the 1 night that i am there to watch them. Honestly it was horrible. They deserved to lose 101-91. And Kobe Bryant, last years MVP, arguably the greatest player since Michael Jordan... hiddeous game... 18points...5 of 20 shooting and 5 turnovers. It was ugly at best.
1 shinning light the LA Galaxy were bought onto the court, introduced and congratulated on making it to the MLS Grand Final next weekend. So i got to see with my own eyes and close up on the big screen, my big time man crush David Beckham ;-)
Although not perfect... still really stoked that i got to tick 'Attend a live NBA game' of my life's to do list :-)