This blog will chronicle my attempt to visit all 30 NBA Arenas during the 2007-08 season.

You can now post comments without signing up for an account. Just click on the comments link and select anonymous.

Contact info: Drew Cieszynski 2637 N. Frederick Ave. Apt# 106 Milwaukee, WI 53211 / 717.676.9963 / acieszyn@hotmail.com

Click below on "2007" to view the first 13 arenas.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Washington Wizards (#11)

Let's first clarify that this is Washington D.C., not Washington state. Yes, unfortunately some "sports fans" do not know this.

Zack Bolno, the Director of Public Relations, made this one very simple for me. The support the Wizards gave me here made me fall in love with this franchise on Friday night. Zack put me in touch with Daren Jenkins, another member of the Media Relations team. Every team has interpreted/helped in a different way, but the Wizards took it to a whole 'nother level!

First things first, the Verizon Center, located in the heart of downtown D.C. Possibly the most perfect location for an arena. All of the tourist spots are within walking distance.

Photobucket

One one side of the Verizon Center is Chinatown

Photobucket

Photobucket

Connected to the arena are many bars, restaurants, and shopping opportunities.

Photobucket

Next, allow me to mention David Morrow. The Wizards game was his first of the NBA tour, but he would be attending all 3 on this specific weekend. I have to thank Dave, because most other friends to this point have simply reaped the benefits of my efforts & allowed me to do all of the planning and carry the financial burden, he took care of the planning, reservations, and even helped take out a chunk of the finances. Thus, you'll definitely see Dave appear many more times during the tour.

Once we got inside, Daren had media passes and tickets waiting for us at the Press Entrance. These Media passes were possibly the coolest thing I've experienced on the tour to date.

Photobucket

Dave thrilled with his media pass

Photobucket

Photobucket

Upon meeting Daren, he took us to the Media Lounge, where we had dinner. Here we saw such personalities as former NBA player Dennis Scott (who didn't seem to take his ipod off all evening) and former USA Olympic Basketball member Steve Smith.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Steve Smith

Photobucket

Dennis Scott

Photobucket

Daren took us into the Wizard's practice court

Photobucket

Photobucket

Eddie Jordan stating a few words to the media, including us, before the game

Photobucket

A photo with former UNC Tar Heel Brendan Haywood

Photobucket

Look at this, I get a chance to meet one of my favorite college/pro players of all-time (Caron Butler) and I decide to fall asleep.

Photobucket

Curling up with a good book

Photobucket

Cheerleaders/dance team members are great

Photobucket

Monsterous bobblehead. Wish I had that to sell on eBay

Photobucket

The title

Photobucket

Full court shot

Photobucket

Another very cool introduction here. When the Hawks were introduced, the scoreboard would post very unflattering stats, such as averages 3.4 turnovers per game, played in 1.2 minutes last game. Very Funny! Then once again, Kanye West's "Stronger" played and it showed images on the Hi-Def screen of the Wizards players pulling up in fancy cars and getting ready for the game.

Photobucket

Dave showing possibly the best sign to date?

Photobucket

Tip-off (Don't worry, the seats would fill up)

Photobucket

Photobucket

WWE (formerly WWF) Champion Batista is in the house!

Photobucket

Every year of the Verizon Center's existence had a commemortive board

Photobucket

Caron in the corner

Photobucket

Awaiting a rebound

Photobucket

Soccer phenom Freddie Adu in the house!

Photobucket

When the Hawks shot a free-throw, this was shown on the scoreboard and really got the fans to boo

Photobucket

Joe Johnson led all scorers, scoring 32. Half of his points came in the 4th quarter alone. Another game that went down to the final moments. Josh Smith broke a late tie with a big 3-pointer. Nick Young had a chance to tie it with his own 3 pointer, but missed and the Hawks won 97-92. They are clearly a better an up-and-coming franchise in the NBA. I see them making the playoff this year. It was nice to see Gilbert Arenas consoling Young after he missed the shot. There are times that I think Gilbert is my favorite NBA player just by his off-the-court actions.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The Wizard

Photobucket

Some comfortable seating for several lucky fans

Photobucket

Photobucket

Half-time was also very unique. With our media passes, we walked down to the court, in front of the scorers table and back into the tunnel. Once inside, we went back to the media room for WAFFLES AND ICE CREAM!!!! All kinds of flavors and toppings available!

Photobucket

Photobucket

S. Claus

Photobucket

Daren made sure that my sign made it on the jumbo-tron. Of course, the friend in front of me had to do her "Gator" mouth

Photobucket

Photobucket

Wizards locker room

Photobucket

Jerseys and warmups

Photobucket

Antawn Jamison signing autographs. He got all members of the Wizards staff a very nice Christmas present

Photobucket

The copier where Daren printed off the stats. Daren showed us this website that all the the NBA teams upload and download the stats from. This was also very fun because rather than just showing us around, Daren showed us what his job included.

Photobucket

Daren led us out to the Hawks team bus, where I met the Hawks Director of Media Relations (a great contact for when I travel to Atlanta). This was a very different opportunity. Here security was at its highest as the players were mingling with their families before getting on the bus.

Josh Smith

Photobucket

Zaza Pachulia in the middle

Photobucket

Josh Childress (possibly the skinniest NBA player?)

Photobucket

We got very close to Gilbert Arenas & Dave totally blew his chance to get his jersey signed. I couldn't get my camera out and powered on in time, so this disgusting shot is all that I got

Photobucket

Zack allowed us to sit in on the postgame press conference

Photobucket

After the game, we hit up the Washington night life, which at one bars, Rocket Bar, we played CONNECT 4.

Photobucket

I didn't forget about sightseeing.

Sculpture Garden

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Washington Monument

Photobucket

Photobucket

Dave hugs the monument

Photobucket

World War II Memorial

Photobucket

Photobucket

Reflecting Pool

Photobucket

Honest Abe

Photobucket

The Mall

Photobucket

What's that memorial in the background?

Photobucket

Photobucket

Jefferson

Photobucket

White House

Photobucket

The Nation's Capitol

Photobucket

After a few hours of sleep, off to the Big Apple, New York City.

Thank You's:
Dave Morrow, Daren Jenkins, Caron Butler, Brendan Haywood, Zack Bolno & SHANA!!!

I can't thank the Wizards Media Relations team enough for possibly the most memorable experience to date. Zack & Daren were both very professional, friendly, and supportive of my dream. So again, thanks to both of them!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

looks like an awsome time i wouldn't believe it unless i was there by myself

Anonymous said...

Dave is one of the best friends anyone can have. Looks like you both had fun and to be honest, I think he should go on more "trips" in the NBA Tour. Great guy with a smart mentality.
Props to Dave taking the bull by the horns and easing your mind.

Anonymous said...

Until that football player died from the redskins, i thought the redskins were in washington state, not washington DC, its a common mistake.

You should try making saving your pictures as a jpeg (i think), so it would make them smaller and easier to look at on the site

cari rae

Anonymous said...

Until that football player died from the redskins, i thought the redskins were in washington state, not washington DC, its a common mistake.

You should try making saving your pictures as a jpeg (i think), so it would make them smaller and easier to look at on the site

cari rae

Anonymous said...

shana wants thanked for the poster and i didn't write that comment about myself but whoever did thanks i know i am great. and i will fill in whereever i can on drews tour.

turkishef said...

I can't see photbucket a work, but it's def something i want to take at look at once i get home. Pretty jealous of people like you who actually do something they set their mind to. Good luck with the remaining.

(good meeting you on New Year's!)

Turk

Anonymous said...

When is New Orleans on tap?

About Me

My Photo
Milwaukee, WI, United States