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.

7 thoughts on “Kobe versus Yao Ming

  1. Carlene, you’re driving me mad with envy here. THIS is what a real job perk looks like!

    Actually, Yao Ming isn’t the only Asian in the NBA right now. There’s another Chinese guy who plays for the Nets – Yi Jianlian. And the Lakers themselves signed a guard in the summer named Sun something… unsurprisingly, some people are calling him the Monkey God now. And there’s a kid that the Bucks drafted this year, Joe Alexander, who was born in Taiwan, grew up in China and Hong Kong, and speaks fluent Mandarin. Asia’s a very big part of the NBA’s future.

  2. Thanks Minn!! Yep, you’re so right. These moments make the 17hour flight on economy and lost weekends worth while 🙂 I stand corrected too and that’s how long I’ve been in touch with NBA … after 1992, Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls … but hey, I’ve always had a thing for big guys so maybe one of these Asian imports will be enough for me to start following again. At least I know who to call for my NBA updates 😉

  3. So cool!!! At least something unforgettable came out of this trip 🙂 Did you have to buy tickets? Was it expensive?

  4. I know what you mean – the NBA really lost its way with self-importance in the latter half of the 90s. But it’s gotten pretty exciting again, and the talent pool has never been deeper. Stars like Kobe, LBJ, CP3 and the international ensemble have made the basketball fun to watch once more!

  5. Guy beside Denzel looks like a very balding Kevin Costner! Hehehehe. I was dragged to an NBA game way back in the early 2000s and I was complaining like crazy cos the cab ride was expensive as were the tickets (struggling student then mah) … and then we got into the stadium, and the whole atmosphere was just infectious and pure magic. Glad you got to go!

  6. OMG!!!!!! I’m always telling pann that with or without (that translates to say….another 13yrs!) the kids we must go to the states and watch a live NBA match. (its one of pann’s fave sport actually) But of cus he’ll roll his eyes and give me the are you crazy stare. Obviously his (almost) hatred of flying/travelling overrides his passion for basketball! He is one strange man, much like my dad. 🙂

  7. hahahahaha 🙂 well, you never know, Claire, in 13 years time, we may not need to fly to watch an NBA live.

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