Sometimes the best wagers end up being the ones you didn’t know you made.
A few months ago, after the most devastating loss of the Celtics’ season, I finally got out of bed, opened the blinds, wiped up all my tears, and called my friend Cal. If you have read CelticsHub for any stretch of time, you have undoubtedly heard one of us reference Cal. Cal is a great guy, a great friend, and extremely knowledgeable about basketball. He just has one tragic flaw.
Cal was born and raised in Los Angeles and is consequently a member of the Dark Side. He just happened to go to Boston College where he met Brian and I first semester freshman year. Luckily for our collective friendship, the Nets won more games than the Celtics and the Clippers won more games than the Lakers that year. Boy, have times changed. The lack of relevancy on the part of our respective teams allowed us to all foster a friendship without too much trash talking.
Fast forward to a few months ago, I am begrudgingly dialing a 310 area code and wallowing in the remnants of a season derailed. We talk for a little bit, I congratulate him on a deserved Championship and then ask when he plans on visiting Boston. Without missing a beat, Cal responds, “No way my friend, the Lakers won. You are coming to LA.”
Fast forward again to last Wednesday and I am on a Virgin America red-eye wondering why I paid hundreds of dollars to fly to a lousy, smog-filled, blue and gold bleeding city. The trip ended up being a blast. In fact, I did not even see a ton of Laker paraphernalia. Given its absence, I decided to seek it out by going to the Staples Center.
And here is the photographic evidence of the obnoxiousness that is the Staples Center and its Pro Shop:
Magic Johnson Statue
I know Magic Johnson was great but this statue is ridiculous. What is he standing on? Is that water? Are those players? And if so, why were they all doused in GC-161? Or did a celebrity open up the Ark of the Covenant?
Chick Hearn Statue
Chick Hearn was a cool guy but a statue? And couldn’t the artist have been a little kinder and left out some of the hand wrinkles and the lazy eye?
Chick Hearn Street Sign
Chick Hearn gets a statue and a street sign. I throw up in my mouth a little bit every time I think about Kobe Bryant is going to get. They’ll probably make the entrance of the Staples Center into a giant replica of his mug with his under bite as a walkway…ughh..oh man, something almost really came up that time.
I may have bought this but I was looking for a different finger. I can’t believe they can sell this given LA’s proclivity for throwing things on the court. I have a feeling you will be seeing this fly at Paul Pierce’s head some time in the future.
LA Hand Sign Hat
Sticking with the hand theme, here’s the lamest hat ever made. Wait, isn’t this a gang sign? No, it’s just lame.
16 Championships yet only 11 of them actually had a team from Los Angeles involved. I believe the colors used in this hat are incredibly disengenuous (Note: No sign of George Mikan in the Pro Shop at all. Just the Championships he won. While playing for Minneapolis).
That’s just a small sampling of the obnoxiousness that is the Staples Center.
Fortunately, my hundreds of dollars did not go to waste as I got to experience some really cool things. Some of the highlights include picking up some records at Amoeba on Sunset and Vine in Hollywood, checking out the John Baldessari exhibit at the LACMA, eating a burger at the Village Idiot Pub on Melrose, and getting sandwiches at Bay Cities in Venice. Luke Wilson also made a cameo to my Monday night dinner at Gjelina in Venice (amazing Pork Belly. I highly recommend it). All that was great, but the hands-down best LA experience I had was eating an Al Pastor burrito from a food truck called Leo’s. Unbelievable. If you ever find yourself in LA, definitely hit up the food truck at the 76 Gas Station at Venice and La Brea.
Don’t worry C’s fans, I did not leave without giving the Staples Center a proper sign off:
(Note: I am not actually flipping off the Staples Center. Mostly because I am afraid of ESPN and the people attending the Eroticon Festival at the adjacent Convention Center.)