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

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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.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

LA Lakers (#15)

After leaving the Staples Center at approximately 3 PM, Dan & I went to grab dinner. We went down the street to the Holiday Inn, where we caught several rowdy Chargers fans watching the playoff game vs the Titans.

After eating, we walked back to the Staples Center for our 2nd game in a single day.

Kobe on the side of the building

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Lakers truck driving around the arena blasting music

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Magic Johnson statue

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Once back in the arena, we took a moment to admire the many championship banners and retired numbers.

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Just a few hours after the Clippers game. A complete changeover.

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Here we met up with John Black, Director of Public Relations. To be honest with you, the Lakers have the fan base, they have the season ticket sales, etc, etc. They don't need to help some guy touring NBA arenas. Within a working day however, Mr. Black responded to my inquiry with great enthusiam showing that although the Lakers are one of the most formidable franchises, they weren't too cocky to help a true fan out (a'hem Celtics). Not only were they willing to help out, they stepped it up in a big way.

Firstly, he set me up to appear on Lakers TV. I was interviewed and appeared on the big screen. During this interview, I said that the Staples Center was the best arena to date and the fans really responded with applause and cheers.

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If that wasn't already not, Jason Cardona wanted to put me on the FOX Sports West Lakers Pre-Game show with Bill Macdonald (called the Kobe Bryant 81 point game) and Norm Nixon (former NBA All-Star).

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John got us great seats just a few rows back from the court. We were allowed to go down and watch the players warm-up.

How close are we?

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Kurt Rambis and Brian Shaw doing some teaching with Andrew Bynum

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Rony Turiaf

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Bynum

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This was interesting. Sasha VUJACIC would pass the ball to a fan, the fan would pass it back, Sasha would shoot a jump shot.

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Luke Walton

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Assistant coaches Craig Hodges & Jim Cleamons help warm-ups

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Documenting the half-way point

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While this picture may not be a great illustration, we were allowed to wait outside of the tunnel to greet the players as they came out. Yes, I slapped the hands of Kobe Bryant, Andrew Bynum, Lamar Odom and others.

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Picture with the world famous Laker Girls

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Now, for possibly the most unexpected player introduction "ceremony" to date (& here's where things started differing from the Clippers drasticallY). The big screen started showing images of Los Angeles. Then suddenly, a large while curtain dropped from above the scoreboard, 360 degrees around.

The message on the curtain: "Drama Is"

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"SHOWTIME"

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"3-PEAT CHAMPIONSHIPS"

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"81 POINT GAMES"

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It ended with an image of Jack Nicholson and then "FEEL IT?"

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Speaking of Jack, can you spot him next to the scorer's table?

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Next difference, only the court is lit up throughout the game. The crowd is left in darkness.

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Tip-off time

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I'm not sure that this happens everywhere, but I noticed for the first time all all bench players stand until their team scores its first basket.

Right after the following picture, my camera battery died. Luckily a member of the Lakers staff was kind enough to let me charge it during the 2nd quarter.

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Lakers super-fans Rio & Yolanda. Check out their website in my comments section.

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Mike Dunleavy, who's father coached the Clippers in the earlier game.

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Jermaine O'Neal

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Kobe, whom I like more and more every time I see him play.

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It should be mentioned that neither the Clippers or the Lakers use a mascot. A variety of other promotions such as the "Bubble Vision" was used to entertain fans during timeouts (think of fun-house mirrors).

Towards the end of the game, we started hearing the "MVP-MVP" chants for Kobe. Although the Pacers got out to an early lead, the Lakers didn't quit. Andrew Bynum had a stellar first-half to keep the Lakers in the game. The Lakers got the lead in the 4th quarter for good, with Kobe pacing them with 26 points. What probably surprised me most was that even when the Lakers lead by more than 15 points, the fans were yelling and screaming as if it were a tied game. Very exciting atmosphere!
Lakers win 112-96.

Laker Girls on-court performance

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B Real, lead singer of Cyprus Hill, leaving the game.

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One last shot on the big screen:

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Confetti & streamers for the Lakers win

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If you've got one night left to live...and I mean to really live, spent it in Los Angeles. No where has better parties, people, and atmosphere.

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Los Angeles International airport

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The Lucky Strike, in the Kodak Theater

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Hollywood Boulevard

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Insert your name here

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Subway

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Universal City

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I would leave Los Angeles at 11 PM that night, return home to Milwaukee at 5 AM and be at work by 7 AM the next morning. I almost missed my flight, but Sam Cassell's cousin complained and got them to hold the flight, so we made it on time. No, I'm not kidding. I must apologize to all of those who I promised that I would return home with an excellent new tattoo. I guess we just didn't have time to do it.

Next up, I reflect on making it halfway and then head north of the border to Canada.

Thanks to Dan Lins, Jason Cardona, John Black, Norm Nixon, and Bill Macdonald.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

great meeting you at the game! Good luck the rest of the way!
rick

Anonymous said...

Been waiting about 2 weeks for this post to go up after I saw u on the TV. youre inspirational. best of luck the rest of the way

Anonymous said...

damnit, why am I sitting at home while you're pulling this off?

Anonymous said...

the signs have gotten better and your publicity is increasing! hooray! can't wait to catch up more later, I wish I could be there! have fun with the rest of em. mccormick

tat2dan said...

it was def an honor to share the half way moment with you. as i hope to be there for the finale as well. your def an inspiration dru you have accomplished so much in so little time. wish u the best. i hope LA stays the best.. hahaha dan

Anonymous said...

interesting segment they put on about you on the pre-game show. i'll be watchin the rest of the way

Anonymous said...

great interview! Go Lakers!

Scrumtrulescent said...

quick correction, that's Sasha VUJACIC, not PAVLOVICH (who plays for the Cavs). I am seriously LOVING this. I am a die hard Jazz fan and I was happy to see that your trip got off to a great start. I am 130% jealous of you and I hope to get my own tour in some day.

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