Newby's coaching abilities is obviously having no impact on Shaq's free throw accuracy!
Geeking out - at Game #1 of the NBA Finals!Wednesday night saw the opportunity for Paul and myself to head up to the first game of the NBA finals in Los Angeles. Not just attend, but courtside seats, right under the basket on the Laker end of the court. We could not believe our luck. Despite the fact that we were leaving at O dark 30 the next morning to fly to Lake Placid for our Ironman camp, this was an experience not to be missed - sleep or no sleep. All I can say is, they don't call it Showtime for nothing!
As we headed down to our seats next to Seal (yes THE Seal, not the cute playful animal at Sea World), Dyan Cannon and Magic Johnson, I could not believe how close we were to the players warming up. We were the only ones courtside with our camera, manically snapping shots of everyone - the dead give away that we were not regulars, like Jack Nicholson et al, courtside at these games. We were the consummate rubbernecks. Hollywood was out in force for opening game!
As you all are aware our beloved Lakers lost the game. The big upset! The whole game was such an experience, never having been so close to the players in action at this level. In fact Allen Iverson and Kobe basically landed up in our laps in one of their many tangles at the basket. I certainly came away with a few impressions, from my ever critical/analytical athletes point of view.
There is a good reason that Allen Iverson is the league MVP. He may be the smallest player on the court, but he was totally dominant. N0-one could match his speed and agility. It would be like seeing Greg Welch out the on the court with these big guys, just moving so fast- they were always one step behind him. They list him as 6 foot- he is 5"9 at best in his shoes. Welchie with tattoos!!!
Shaq (the big daddy) was a lot more impressive in person- he is very fit looking and moves a lot quicker and better than TV shows. The biggest disappointment in a sense was Kobe. Certainly he was having one his worst nights in a while, but he also seemed to be a bit of a whiner. Being as close as we were to the basket, we could hear all the pushing and shoving that was going on. Every time he came to the basket to make a play, and he got blocked, we could clearly hear him shout "HEY", but in that distinctive way of 'hey, quit kicking sand in my face', tone. It seemed very 'soft', when everyone else was getting the s..t, beat out of them, and there were no complaints. Actually on some inside scoop: Morgan Soule our neighborhood Triathlete magazine cover girl, stopped by a few days ago to tell us that she had been at an MTV party in Los Angeles on the weekend, where she had met both Kobe and Shaq. It would appear that Kobe had been spending too much time partying and not enough training, during the week break!
Something else that one doesn't realize sitting at home is how disconcerting the constant breaks in the game can be. It is such a mesmerizing combination of strength, speed and agility - but it seems that once things really get going there is either a timeout or TV break. I do enjoy the Laker girls but not that much of them - Huddle would differ on that one though. I guess at home, we are just so used to going to the bathroom or hitting the snacks during these breaks. Being there though - I just wanted to see them play!
So even with just three hours of sleep, before we headed to the airport the next morning (after the late train ride back down to San Diego) - it was the opportunity of a lifetime, and seriously impressive. We were the seriously geeked out fans for an evening, feeling like we were in the presence of so much athletic greatness. I have faith our Lakers will come through in the end!