Thursday, January 18, 2018

Being an A Lister

Last weekend I did something I've never done in my life -- that's a set up line for a million jokes.

But with the photo above, I've already telegraphed the payoff.

As an early birthday present, my brother took me to a Saturday afternoon Clippers game. To be honest, I don't pay much attention to the NBA while the football players are still putting on the pads. To be even more honest, I don't care what goes on until my Syracuse Orangemen are officially relegated to the NIT and the fever of NCAA March Madness wears off.

Nevertheless, it was opportunity to do something fun with my brother. And drink beer in the middle of the day. Little did I know that what my brother had in store was more than just a pair of nose bleeds wedged between the supporting columns and the TV cameras for Univision.

When we arrived at Staples Center, we were led into the super exclusive VIP parking area. Once I handed the valet the car keys, we were guided thru a labyrinth of dark hallways and cool blue neon mood lighting. A smiling usher greeted us every 25 feet. And once we met their demanding security criteria, they navigated us all the way to our even more exclusive seats.



We thought we were courtside.

The folks at Staples have a rather lenient definition of the term. You see, while we were not exactly sitting next to Billy Crystal in the blue cushioned seats, we were directly behind them. And for some unexplainable reason, these too were considered courtside.

More like courtside-adjacent.

This perturbed my brother a bit, who fancied himself being shown on the big screen. No doubt hoping to recreate a scene from Curb Your Enthusiasm, by tripping De'andre Jordan. But it was not to be.

It didn't bother me at all. From down here, the game is so different. You hear the players jabbering at each other. You see how fast they move. And for two and a half hours you see how the other half lives. And by that I mean the deferential treatment from the waiters, the security people, even the folks handing out the free shit. They're all so eager to treat you in a way regular civilians never get treated.

One other interesting tidbit. About ten minutes before tipoff, a middle aged man and his son took their seats right next to us. I recognized him immediately. It was Disney CEO Bob Iger. This was my second random meeting with the man who literally set my career on a different (much better) trajectory in two years.

We exchanged some small talk, but to be honest this time I don't think he recalled who I was.

That disappointment didn't last long. As we left the arena I asked the usher to send the waiter by so I could clear up our substantial lunch/beer tab.

"It's all complimentary in the courtside seats."

Like I said, it's a different world down here.

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