Kobe versus Yao Ming

It’s been a while since I was into the NBA and the players I really liked have all long retired but remember my cousin who’s living in SF? He decided to come down to LA for a quick family fix and told me that the Rockets are playing the Lakers while we’re both in town. So there we were in downtown LA, waiting in line at the Staples Centre to watch Yao Ming and Kobe live!!! We weren’t quite sure who to root for but were there to soak up a live game atmosphere 🙂

I’m not sure what to think about being in a country where I have to go through a metal detector at a basketball game but I guess at least I knew I’d be safe inside the stadium, which I have to say is really clean. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting :p My boss was nice enough to let me leave work a little early so that I could get to the game on time. We stood in line to make sure we weren’t carrying any weapons and the guy behind me said he had a pace maker and they took him through a regular door … go figure!!

We had a little trouble finding our seats but got there just in time for the singing of the USA national anthem. Couldn’t help wondering, is the US the only country that sings their national anthem like a pop song? So as I started to get comfy in my seat, it started to sink in that I was actually at a live NBA game.

The lights, the crowd, the sounds. Just like what I see on TV 🙂 And ask any guy, being at the Lakers game is all about the Laker girls. I wasn’t too enthralled with them but my cousin couldn’t take his eyes off them 😉 I don’t know if I’ll call them cheerleaders coz I didn’t really see them lead the crowd in cheering as much as dancers, prancing around.

More than cheerleaders though, is the celebrity sightings. My friend told me Jack Nicholson will be there for sure coz he had worked on a film that Mr Nicholson was starring in and they had to arrange the entire shoot schedule around the Laker’s games. So I was on the look out for him but nope, didn’t see him at all. Instead, I saw Sylvester Stallone and Danzel Washington, who didn’t look happy at the beginning of the game when the Lakers were losing but started getting all chatty when they picked up their game from the third quarter.

I digress. Back to the two reasons I wanted to watch the game, Kobe Bryant, possibly the MVP of this season and Yao Ming, the first and only Asian playing in the NBA.

It’s still early in the series so neither team seems to be giving their all. It was a pretty relaxed game, that or TV hypes up everything coz it felt like everyone was running slower than usual and the slam dunks not quite as impactful as when you get to watch a replay over and over again from every possible angle. Kobe had a couple of impressive moves and Yao Ming is just a giant. All he has to do is raise his arms and the basket is pretty much covered. All I can say about Yao Ming is that he’s huge!!

Even compared to the African American players, he’s a whole head taller than them!! I don’t know what he drank as a kid in China but part of me suspects he could have been a genetic engineered foetus :p So it was surprising that the Rockets lost, part of me was rooting for them but the other part of me was glad that the Lakers won. I like Kobe and would rather be around happy fans rather than disappointed fans, even if they don’t have metal objects on them. At the end it was 111 to the Lakers and just 84 to the Rockets.

So it was all celebratory in the Staples Centre and I was glad to have been part of it all. Like my cousin said, he’s looking forward to reminiscing about this night 20 years from now. Here’s a couple more for the family album.