As far as I know, today is the first official “NBA Stadiums Blog Day,” concocted by Nate Jones over at JONES ON THE NBA.
Name: Staples Center
Opened: October 17, 1999
Construction cost: $375 Million USD
– Basketball: 18,997
– Hockey/Arena Football: 18,118
– Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) (1999-present)
– Los Angeles Clippers (NBA) (1999-present)
– Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA) (2001-present)
– Los Angeles Kings (NHL) (1999-present)
– Los Angeles Avengers (AFL) (2000-present)
– Los Angeles D-Fenders (D-League) (2006-present)
(Click “Read More…” to find out about College Wolf’s road trip to the Staples Center.)
Our fateful journey dates back to March of ’04. Three college buddies and I crammed into a 2 door Chevy Cavalier and embarked upon a thirty hour straight drive to Cali. I can’t (and shouldn’t) divulge a large portion of this story due to the graphic content involved (ha.) Let’s just say that large amounts of alcohol and Tijuana Mexico were involved. On their own, either is a pretty good thing. But in combination… whoa nelly, hide the women and children. Being that the amount of information that I have to edit out from the road trip makes a long story pretty short, the last leg of the trip involved us staying in L.A. and hitting up a Wolves-Lakers game at Staples center on March 26th, 2004.
Sadly, the Wolves did NOT win that game. If fact, it was a blowout for much of the game. If I remember correctly, the Wolves went on a mini-run towards the end, which made the final score look a little bit closer than it really was. Looking over the boxscore brings back some creepy and downright chilling good memories. The Kandi Man?!? T-Hud!?! Oliver Miller!?! Wow. KG had a good game for the Wolves, but that was about it. It’s quite odd seeing a boxscore for L.A. that lists the starters as: Kobe, Shaq, Gary Payton, Rick Fox, and Karl Malone! Shaq and Kobe had monster games, but we didn’t travel to L.A. to watch them.
The Staples Center itself seemed like a very nice arena from what I can remember. Granted, from where we were sitting in the upper reaches of the stratosphere, I may not have had the best view. Still, it was an enjoyable place to watch a basketball game, and I remember just being more “wow’ed” at Staples than I ever was at Target Center. Perhaps it was just the mystique and the fact that it was my first visit. Regardless, it is a nice arena.
What may or may not have been a good decision at the time (we deemed it was), the four of us wore our Wolves jersey’s into the heart of the beast. On second thought it probably wasn’t such a good idea to sport Wolves jersey’s up in the nosebleed seats where the true die-hard fans are forced to sit. Saying that everyone hated us would be an understatement. If it had not been for our collective wit and charming good looks, there is at least a 75% we would have been found in a gutter the next morning. Since the game was a blowout from the beginning, and because they probably felt bad that I was wearing a Latrell Sprewell jersey; it didn’t take long for the jeering/insults/threats on our lives to subside. We ended up chatting with the dudes around us as they turned out to be alright people. Hardworking, blue-collar citizens that just want to watch their beloved Lakers without having to pay an arm and leg. I feel for them, I really do. I mean, a large part of the true fans have been displaced by celebrities at Staples Center. The ones that remain have to sit near damn near the planet Saturn, way in the upper level. With all this in mind, I took their ribbings about the Wolves sucking (they did that night), and Sprewell being a total buffoon (he is.)
Interesting note: The cheapest beer I saw at Staples Center concessions cost $10.25, if I remember correctly. This was in 2004. Think about that. I didn’t buy any because I wasn’t old enough to drink at that time. Ummm… yeah. We made it out of Staples Center that night with our lives and limbs intact. We had to walk past a bunch of homeless people living in boxes (no lie) and down some dark alleys to get back to our hotel, but we persevered.
If anyone has any interesting stories/thoughts/whatever about your favorite NBA arena(s), please feel free to post them in the comments below!
Lastly, make sure to check out JONES ON THE NBA, for all the other stories from a plethora of various NBA blogs about their favorite NBA stadiums. It is the first official “NBA Stadiums Blog Day,” after all.