My 2012-13 NBA Adventures (Regular Season)
Several months ago I chronicled the ups and downs of owning season tickets for my local team, the Charlotte Bobcats. Not surprisingly, that adventure proved to be taxing at times, so I’m thankful I was able to experience the NBA on the road some as well. Additionally, a few years ago I pledged to try and visit a new arena every season, and once again, I was successful in doing so.
While I had already been attending games in Charlotte, the real fun started on a birthday trip to Florida in December. This trip marked the first time I attended two games in two different arenas on back to back nights.
The first night of the trip brought my group of friends to the Amway Center, an arena I’ve become very familiar with. In fact, the memory of two costumed iterations of Stuff (the Magic mascot) skillfully cornering me in the main lobby during the previous year’s playoffs were still etched in my mind. But on this night my allegiances were somewhat neutral, so there was no need for that tomfoolery again.
Seriously, don’t touch me again.
Cheap Philly Phanatic rip-off.
Back to the game.
Let me start by saying one thing: I’m always amazed at the amount of people who dress up for Magic games. And I’m not talking about throwing on a Dwight Howard jersey. I mean fancy clothes. Magic games always seem like a major social event every time I’m in the building, but this is probably a good thing now while the team is rebuilding (although I love the direction they are headed).
On this particular night, the Nets were in town, and against our better judgment, my friends and I decided that Mizra Teletovic (or as we christened him, Teletubby) was there to steal the show. The game itself was somewhat mundane, so Teletubby became our ultimate object of interest.
He only scored 3 points, but they were a great 3 points nonetheless.
The next night would be different, as my friends and I headed to American Airlines Arena to see the defending champs, the Miami Heat. Obviously, I refused to cheer for the home team.
I also want to take a second to note here that earlier in the week I dropped $20 on a Brooklyn Nets shirt.
Are the new Nets threads that stylish? Possibly. Am I a Nets fan? Of course not. But as much as I actually do enjoy watching Lebron play, my second favorite NBA team is typically whoever the Heat happen to be playing against at the moment.
And surely Mizra Teletovic would bring my newly borrowed home team the glory they so deserved. So for one night, I was giving dap to my fellow Nets fans at the arena, boasting, “Brooklyn, born and raised.” Probably not very convincing but who cares.
These type of anti-Heat antics are not all that uncommon for me, so some friends have labeled me a Heat-hater. So let me redeem myself a little bit by giving Heat fans some credit. Sitting in the second level of American Airlines Arena, I developed a little more respect for those who wear Heat gear. The fans around us were LOUD. They were excited. They were fully engaged in a game that wasn’t really that close (although Miami did come back from a double digit deficit before running away with it). It actually seemed like they gave up something to be there…they were that invested. I have no way of telling how long they’ve been fans, and most people would say it doesn’t really matter either. The point is, they were raucous fans and it was a great atmosphere. I will give them that much.
Unfortunately Mizra Teletovic and my Nets let me down that night, but the atmosphere will always separate that place from some of the nicer arenas I’ve been to (Orlando, Atlanta).
Several months later I would wind up back in Orlando for a Magic/Pacers game. At this point Orlando was in full-on tank mode, but I loved every second of it. The tickets were a gift from my parents and we had great seats. Stuff couldn’t even muster up the energy to harass me. I could see the losing season was wearing on him as well.
At this point, it was back to Charlotte for some games. I’ve already written some about my experiences as a Bobcats season ticket holder, so I will spare you the details here, but there was one moment I left out that might be of some interest to NBA (and ABA) fans. I got a chance to speak with Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown for about 5 minutes before a Bobcats/Heat game. He was extremely generous and would’ve talked longer were it not for his broadcasting duties. We talked primarily about the ABA and the recent ABA additions to the Basketball Hall of Fame. As a Pacers fan, I was delighted to hear him talk about George McGinnis. Interestingly enough, he told me if he had to win one game, he would pick Julius Erving, but if he had to win a three game series, he would prefer to have McGinnis.
If my NBA season ended at this point, I would’ve been very content, despite always wanting to see more games. But luckily for me, Indiana ended up playing in Atlanta in the first round of the playoffs.
Of course, I made the 4 hour drive, and I’ll chronicle this adventure in a future post. In the meantime, thanks for stopping by.