I got tickets to watch the New York Knicks play against the Detroit Pistons for Christmas. It was a new experience for me and it was more than I expected.
Live at the O2 arena, on Thursday 17th January, I watched an NBA basketball game live for the first time. Although I like the Chicago Bulls more than the other teams, it was great to see this high level of play right before my eyes.
The evening started with me running late because of work but luckily, the mile long queue confirmed there was really no rush. We had something to eat at Harvesters before heading off into the arena. The closer we got the more exciting we got, we managed to pick up some big foam fingers too!
We found our seats with ease and as we were about to sit, we had to stand for the American national anthem. They had someone from the army sing it. Then God save the Queen (England’s national anthem) was sung by Alexandre Burke. They then had some music video style short films showing off some of their teams greatest plays. I thought it was a good way to introduce the teams.
Throughout the game they spotted famous people and put them on the screen for everyone to see. Most of them were footballers, such as Thierry Henry and Vierra. There was one director, but to be honest I didn’t know who he was. Everyone received a warm round of applause, except for one – Ashley Cole. When he appeared on the screen, there were big boos for Ashley. Even I was booing just for fun.
The basketball match was of very high quality. The Knicks had better ball movement which enabled them to gain a comfortable lead right from the start. The match was about how the Pistons can catch up and whether they can turn the game around. I witnessed some of sharp and dynamic ball handling, efficient team tactics, some attempts at alley-oops and of course, impressive slam dunks. The game ended with the Knicks beating the Pistons 102-87.
I was actually surprised that an NBA game isn’t just about a game of basketball, its about entertaining the fans. During the breaks and time outs there were competitions & give aways, special guest presentations, filming of a t.v. show and attractive women dancing.
It was an amazing experience and if there is another NBA game in London, I’d definitely go again. Maybe next time I’ll pick up a jersey.