You have probably heard the saying it’s not what you know, its who you know. In today’s world that stands true in a lot of different scenarios. In my extensive travels, I have met and kept in touch with people everywhere. I do my best to also keep in touch with old friends from back home, high school and University. Luckily one of my University roommates is good friends with an NBA player who just so happened to be coming to the Chinese city of Shenzhen when I was there. In another blog post I talked about how the Chinese love the NBA, but only get to see two live preseason games in China every year. The amount of travel coming from the US is too much for the players, so it makes sense just to have a few preseason games in China.
I contacted my old roommate who then contacted the NBA player whom I have met on several occasions before. I can vouch that they are both guys, that guy around. He could get me a ticket for the game, granted I had no idea where I would be sitting. The game had been sold out for weeks, even though it was a preseason game and generally the players do not really care about preseason. I went to the game on a Monday night by metro wearing the jersey of NBA Center Joel “Ebay” Embiid. I met a few other fans on the metro that spoke good English and were excited about the game. They all thought that I was a former NBA player, which I usually go along with. I told them the truth this time and said I knew one of the players who got me a ticket. When I arrived at will call, I got my ticket and looked at where I would be sitting. I was front row right behind the bench, I had never been that close in an NBA game, especially in China. I honestly thought about trying to scalp the ticket for three times the price, but I’m not sure how Chinese laws are with that. Going to Chinese jail is the last thing on my agenda.
When I got to my seat I knew I was sitting with the player’s families as I sat next to one of the player’s fathers who was to my left. To my right were a number of the player’s wives and girlfriends (WAGs). I will get back to that later. Now, this was a preseason game, so honestly, the player’s did not look too energetic or really happy to be there, even in warm-ups. They were still jet-lagged and it was a meaningless preseason game on top of it.
Obviously, since it was an NBA game, it was pretty cool to see it from the front row, seeing how big and athletic these guys were even putting in 80 percent effort. Several Chinese fans came down to take pictures of the players from my seating area. Once they saw me interact with the player from the bench, they all thought I was someone famous so I proceeded to get my picture taken with several fans. I told them I was legendary former NJ Net/Philadelphia 76er Keith Van Horn. Only in China does that work!
Now there are a few high profile players on the teams that were playing and a few of them date high profile ladies. One in particular, is a Sports Illustrated Swim Suit model who was sitting a few seats down from me. Now I was there to see the game, see my friend and take in some NBA action front row. Things sometimes change and after the initial “wow front row for free” feeling went away, I thought to myself, will I ever have the chance to swoop in on an SI Swim Suit model? So what if I go in there and try to talk to her, what’s the worst that could happen? I get no response, I get thrown out, or her NBA boyfriend tries to kill me? I think I could survive those except for the last one. I like to live by the saying “Shooters Shoot” so why not take my shot and see what happens?
Let’s just say we will never know. I dropped the ball that night, I did not guy around to my full potential by swooping in on a cornerstone players SI Swim Suit model girlfriend. If given that opportunity again, I would like to say that I would shoot my shot, but will this kind of opportunity ever come again?