Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The City of Angels and the Staples Center Trifecta

I attended a small stand up comedy show in the East Village last night and one of the comedians had a set involving his experiences as a high school basketball player in Philadelphia. Apparently, because of his height, he was matched up against the best player on an opposing school, who was the son of a mediocre NBA player and an awfully nasty trash-talker on the court.

The punchline: It was some asshole named Kobe.

This seemed bizarrely appropriately to me, and not just because another comedian had talked about his L.A. Lakers-themed Bar Mitzvah with its curiously named Kareem Abdul-Jabbar table, but because in approximately 25 hours, I will be taking off from Philadelphia International Airport (I'm taking a brief layover in a cost-saving measure) en route to LAX for a momentous weekend in Los Angeles.

This is probably a bit odd if you know me. After all, I'm not a big fan of L.A., which is to say that short of Philadelphia, it's probably my least favorite city in the U.S. And how convenient for me that I get to go through both of them tomorrow. All that said though, I am quite excited for the trip for quite a few reasons. For one, at least four or five people I know in L.A. are going to try and convince me the city is actually awesome, which I admit will be a tough sell, but I'm at least willing to hear them out on this. For another, according to it's supposed to be mid-to-high 70s with sunshine all weekend, and I'm more than just a little tired of winter at this point. For yet another, I'm determined to prove to all of them that mass transit is actually great and they should all try it some time, provided the city bus I'm on isn't in danger of being blown up by Dennis Hopper.

Also there are sports there.

The L.A. sports scene has always fascinated me to some extent not in spite of the the city's showtime fantasyland personality that tends to turn me off, but exactly because of it. If there is any city in American where the sports teams, when they're good, are a place to see and be seen, this is it, and the entire aura that comes with that is not only fascinating, but likely to be entirely different from what I typically experience in New York. It also helps that the Kings (defending Stanley Cup champions), Clippers (Lob City) and Lakers (they've climbed back into the playoff field) are all pretty good right now. Granted, the basketball hierarchy seems to have flip-flopped for my visit, which might make this weekend somewhat unusual, but this is probably one of the most interesting seasons to see either L.A. basketball team for a number of reasons.

The thing I'm most intrigued about for this weekend, however, is probably checking out the Staples Center, which will put the busy arenas of New York to shame with how much is happening there this weekend. And I will be present for all of it. To wit, my schedule for this weekend:

7 PM PT, Sat: Sharks at Kings, Staples Center
Noon PT, Sun: Knicks at Clippers, Staples Center
6:30 PM PT, Sun: Kings at Lakers, Staples Center

Three games, one building, just a shade under 27 hours. On a sheer entertainment level, endurance level and a logistical level, this is going to be one fun weekend. And did I mention this Sunday is also St. Patrick's Day? Unintentionally, and somewhat bizarrely, I'll be on the road to see an NBA game on St. Patrick's Day for the second straight year. As Nomaan can tell you, Dallas gave L.A. quite a bit to live up to in terms of publicly boozing without unspoken police consent, but I am sure the "Irish" crowds around the Staples Center all day will deliver.

So yes. There are three sporting events at the Staples Center this weekend, and I will attend all of them, and if L.A. ever has a chance to win me over, this will be it, though if my friend Teddy insists on taking me to a vegan restaurant as he's implied, that may not help matters.

I do like tacos, though. Does L.A. do tacos? It does? Oh good. Yeah, this weekend should turn out well. Unless I bump into Kobe Bryant in a pickup game.


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