The NBA: An Etic Experience

After posts by Abu Salayman and Adam, I've felt inspired in the same vein. I've been to professional MLB games (too many). I've seen my country take on another country in the Finland-U.S. game in the Winter Olympics. (I'm not saying which one I was rooting for.) I've been to professional football games (the real kind) to see my homies, Casablanca Raja. Last night I went to my first ever professional basketball game.

It was an interesting experience. My brother Kent has season tickets, and gets into it far more than I- but I wanted to see what it was like just once, and get a chance to spend time with him.

The fans were far less rowdy than those in Casablanca. No obligatory riots- although a fair number of drunks and guys putting their feet on the seats. A lot more talking to, and a calmer crowd, which had to get excited by the overhead announcer and the giant TV screen. I must say I really appreciated this announcer, who seemed to give us a bit more of a play by play than you usually get at a baseball game, so it was easier for a Sports Luddite like myself to follow. Not appreciated: the extreme objectification of the women who came out half-dressed as "dancers" that really had nothing to do with the sport.

Much better was the half-time show, with the Sonic Boom Dancers, doing modern breakdancing. At one point they brought out one of their sons, all of five, and he was spinning about on his head. The rest did amazing flips, walking around on one hand, and spinning so fast on their head you got dizzy just watching. And then Squatch came out, the Sonics mascot, doing a bit of the hustle himself. (You might remember him from the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, when some thought he looked vaguely like a Grinch.)
Also very cool: the minature blimp that floated around the stadium inside, taking pictures of people. And that Kent seemed to be as well known as Norm with the ushers.

Oh, and there was a basketball game. The Sonics rocked, of course. They were playing the Pistons, who seemed to have better game, with more hustle, and fewer mistakes, but that was just a mirage. There were some sweet money shots by the Sonics, especially repeated 1/2-court shots. Neither team was playing their top tier players until the 4th Quarter, when Seattle brought there's in, and the Pistons just copied them. That's when both teams started to really get their game on. Seattle, which had been tied or down most of the night, started making up a lot of points. In this poor man's opinion, it wasn't the players who lost the game as much as their coach, penalized at one point for yelling at the ref. (Hmm. Reminds me of this coach I knew in Morocco...) Then he brought in his first string players a few minutes too late, and they had too much of a deficit to make up.
(Look at me! I talk sports!)

Not that there wasn't blame to go around. Ray Allen totally rocked as usual, with 5 3-pointers all by his lonesome. But that was part of the problem- he was all by his lonesome. The other players were depending on him too much, and he on himself. A few times there at the end even I could see he needed to pass the ball rather than try for an impossible shot. But Kent tells me that there really aren't any other players at Ray's level on the Seattle roster. But yes, I was actually yelling in exhuberance at some of those 3-pointers.

We left when there were five seconds left on the clock, and the Sonics down by four. In the end some might claim that it was the Pistons who played the better game, and therefore deserved to win. Others might take comfort in knowing, that despite what the scoreboard, newspapers, and radio might think, the Sonics actually totally trounced the Pistons.

Remember, it's not whether you win or lose. It's how you lay the blame.


Joe said…
Once again, I'm insanely jealous! Those looked like good seats, too. The only time I've been to an NBA game I was sitting about as far from the court as one could be.
Abu Salayman said…
Why did Squatch steal Abdul Muhib's blog?
@bdul muHib said…
The seats were actually right at the front edge of the nosebleeds. But Kent tells me it's currently the smallest stadium in the league- which helps the poorer fans :-)

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