I am not a big basketball fanatic but when I was growing up, I can clearly remember that my whole family – especially my father – has as our favourite NBA team. And since I was no basketball fan, it was actually the only NBA team I knew back then. And up until now if I would be asked to name an NBA team, it is so automatic as if embedded in my genes, LA Lakers would simply first pop out of my brain.
Actually, the first and only NBA player I grew up knowing was the lanky yet legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar. And as I reached high school the only other player I knew then was Magic Johnson. Obviously from the same LA Lakers team.
That is why, when I had the dreamy opportunity to visit the USA, I was just so glad that I had the chance to see the home of the LA Lakers, the Staples Center located at Downtown Los Angeles. It was so surreal that I was actually on the plaza grounds where the striking statues to revere the legends Jabbar and Johnson were located.
What added to my already delighted feeling of being in the area is that on the day me and my terrific friends and travel buddies were there, the area was packed with lots of bustling goings on ala mini-funfair. It is because a game was about to be held between LA Lakers versus Boston Celtics. There was a booth that showcase the last NBA championship trophy won by LA Lakers, a booth where you can take photos and signature of the LA Lakers cheerleading squad, an ESPN booth that interviews an NBA player whom I don’t know, a booth where fans can line up to acquire souvenir autograph by an LA Lakers player and of course numerous booths by major sponsors that gives away souvenir pieces and thingies.
Having a long glimpse on those statues, seeing the iconic LA Lakers colours and insignia and most especially being at the lively Staples Center made me miss my late father. How I wish I could proudly tell him that I was once at the home base of his most favourite NBA team.
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