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

Los Angeles Clippers (#14)

Sometimes when I tell people that I'm touring all 30 Arenas, they say "Wait, there is only 29!" Correct, the LA Lakers and LA Clippers both play in the Staples Center. However, there are 30 NBA teams and the the following blogs will show that even though two different teams played a home game in the same place on the same day, the experiences were very different.

It's hard to imagine, but very true - both teams playing a game on the same day. I arrived at the Staples Center at 10:30 AM on Sunday to meet up with Brendan Sherlock, who is a part of the Fan Relations team with the Clippers. Mr. Joe Kelly, Fan Relations Manager, was generous enough to set me up with 2 tickets, a tour of the arena, and some Clippers merchandise. Dan Lins would accompany me to this game and we met Brendan outside near the Wayne Gretzky statue.

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Wayne Gretzky statue (the LA Kings (hockey) play here as well

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He immediately gave us a Clippers bag filled with t-shirts, hats, a program, and some other things.

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Mr. Sherlock took us around the arena for a tour. I quickly realized that this was the best looking arena I had seen to date.

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He took us to the back and showed us the famous entrance ramp that you often see on TV as the players arrive.

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The question I wanted to ask most involved the following: Clearly, any basketball fan who comes to LA, or any child who grows up to become a basketball fan in LA would tend to gravitate towards the Lakers. This because they've had the high-profile stars (Magic, Worthy, Kareem, West, Kobe, Shaq), they've won the many titles, and you tend to see many celebrities at their games. How then, do the Clippers compete with this? The answer was Fan Relations. While many of the other organizations I've visited have a Community or Media Relations department, the Clippers also have Fan Relations. The Lakers have a waiting list that is rumored to be over 2 years long for season tickets, so they have no problem selling (not that they aren't also kind to their fans as you'll see in the blog). The Clippers however, sell their tickets on making the fans feel welcome and try and provide them with a great overall experience.

The Clippers constantly have their people out and about interacting with fans during the games. This can be illustrated by the below photos. The first picture is the All-Star ballots sent to the Lakers by the NBA. The second picture is the ballots sent the Clippers. Both teams were sent equal amounts. Who do you think is out there giving out more?

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Clippers
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Clippers entrance tunnel

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Brendan then took us to the suite/dining level. The Staples Center has 3 levels of suites.

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A picture of Dan & I at arena #14.

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The odd break in the seats here is actually where the tunnel is for hockey games

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Outside of the suite level

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The Staples Center also rents out meeting rooms for any business so inclined to use them (thus making a basketball game a possible tax write-off)

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Today's opponent: the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs.

Bruce Bowen

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Tony Parker

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Former Spur and now broadcaster Sean Elliot

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One of the only arenas to use metal detectors

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Full court shot

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Frankie Munoz (Malcolm in the Middle) takes his usual court-side seat.

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Player introductions featured a red flame at center court.

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and fireworks

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Tipoff

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Tony Parker goes up for the rebound

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Halftime entertainment - Hispanic Heritage Day

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Corey Maggette goes up for a shot.

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Tim Duncan & should-be All-Star Chris Kaman

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Two gentlemen were leaving the game late in the 3rd quarter and just happened to hand us their tickets, which were a mere 5 rows back from the court. What luck!

Manu Ginobli

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Tim Thomas firing up a 3-pointer. You may have noticed that every time he makes a 3-pointer, he waves his hand in front of his face. Nearby fans told me that while rehabbing an injury during his tenure in New York, Thomas and hip-hop artist 50 Cent came up with the idea.

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Before the game, a message on the bottom of the scoreboard asked fans to text message their favorite Mexican dish to a displayed phone number. Throughout the game, many hilarious choices appeared on the scoreboard.

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After a near-injury, Duncan to seal the game.

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The Spurs ended up winning 88-82, but it seemed much closer than that. The Clippers held a lead for most of the game, but Manu Ginobli had a strong 4th quarter with 12 points and the Spurs got the win.

Thanks to Joe Kelly and Brendan Sherlock for making this a great experience!

The night before, I had the opportunity of visiting another sporting venue, Angel Stadium in Anaheim. 2 years ago, I had visited this stadium for an Angels game, but this time I was here for the opening race of the 2008 Supercross season.

Train ride down to Anaheim...beautiful scenery

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Racing legend Jeremy McGrath (left)

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Hanging with Rob Dyrdek from the Rob & Big show

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Thanks to Dan Lins for providing a place to stay and tickets to the Supercross race.

Up next, the 2nd half of my Sunday for the Lakers game.

1 comment:

clare said...

i wish the bradley center was that nice. and ooooh my lord. that's really rob. hilarious. :)

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