Hey Laker fans, we wanted to share our experience from the 9th Annual Lakers All-Access event last night at Staples with you. We were sharing photos live from the floor via our @LakerLiker Twitter handle and your comments made the experience that much sweeter.
Lets start off by saying that last night was epic. There was so much to absorb. I was hoping to get in an interview or two but honestly the atmosphere alone was satisfying enough. I was able to enjoy the event as a fan and also with a fan of the site. He was blown away to say the least.
We arrived early at STAPLES to walk around L.A. Live knowing the area wouldn't disappoint as it usually doesn't. I hadn't seen the KAJ statue since its unveiling back in November so taking a snap shot of the bronze skyhook was a definite must. We were also able to see the TNT broadcast booth set up for the upcoming Lakers/Heat game and the L.A. Kings set up for ring ceremony night on Saturday.
Now that we were done with the outside festivities it was time to enjoy what was waiting for us inside. We made the entrance and right off the bat we were shaking hands with Lakers personality and emcee for the night Bill McDonald.
We make our way down to the floor and our eyes are automatically drawn to the Lakers shoot around. We also take notice of the open bars, buffets, Laker girls, Larry O'Briens, a silent auction for signed memorabilia from current and former Laker greats and finally a sign leading to the all-access (hence the event name) behind-the-scenes tour of the Lakers locker room.
We make our way to the Laker girls first (of course). After we realized that our jaws were still open long after our photos were taken with them, we anxiously walked toward the shoot around.
The shoot around at the moment (there were many) was by far the highlight of the night. I mean come on, who wouldn't want to shoot some hoops on the same court Kobe and the Lakers do?
Photo op galore. The new Lakers court is even more amazing up close. Loving the addition of the new Lakers script just underneath the rim and secondary logo located outside of the key.
The new star decals that surround the center court Lakers logo represents each of the 16 championship years. The floor was surprisingly slick so it was a good thing I wore my throw back Kobe Zoom IV's.
So it's time to test our basketball skills. I, like Nash, do my free throw routine before it was my turn. Ya know, I wanted to make sure I had my shooting motion ready. In my mind I felt like Kobe but when the ball actually touched my hands I felt like Howard. The only problem was I was jump-shooting. Take a look for yourself of us laying brick:
After making complete fools of ourselves, we head toward the Lakers locker room tour. Great moments surpassed by new ones. The next 10-minutes would be epic. Let me just let the photos do all the talking.
I digress and regain my composure. We then head to the media room for some grub. There we met Kevin Figgers who is the producer for AM 570 Fox Sports, host for STNTV and LakerNation.com. As I was complimenting him on all the successes, he quickly gave credit to his fellow colleagues. The man is humble and a true professional.
We also met @LakerNation co-founder Kam Pashai who is reputably known for his graphic design work but now fills his time dabbling in the digital world via his website wearece.com.
I think we touched on every topic imaginable from video game consoles to fantasy basketball. Kam is the kind of dude you'd want to be stuck in an elevator with - great conversationalist. Kam, once you get your NBA 2K13 copy choose the Xbox 360 platform - less updates. We were also sitting next to Alex Lambeth who writes for LakerNation.com - be sure to follow him at @AlexLambeth. He's a young upcomer.
The night ended with the anticipated panel discussions led by Bill McDonald. The first of two sit-downs had Laker Legends and HOF's James Worthy and Jamaal Wilkes whose Laker jersey was recently retired up in the rafters. Former Laker and 7-time NBA champ Robert Horry and Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak were also in the mix.
The second and final sit down discussion welcomed Antawn Jamison, Steve Blake and coach D'Antoni. You could feel the tension between Jamison and D'Antoni. You can tell Antawn wanted to scream, "Play me coach!!!"
Bill McDonald's questions were both personal and business-related. Some topics were for giggles but others were taboo to even talk about but still shockingly addressed such as Kobe making bad shot decisions late in games. No holds barred and those in attendance appreciated the candid answers.
After the discussions were over I spotted L.A. Daily News Lakers beat writer Mark Medina. I head over to his direction and introduced myself to him. Very personable. In fact all media personalities that we met that night were very friendly.
In the end I tried to hide behind several seats in the front row for the Miami Heat game the following night but security caught me. I played it off as if I was searching for my lost content lens.
In closing we want to give a special thanks to the Los Angeles Sports & Entertainment Commission (LASEC) for hosting the event. It was a huge success. We had such a great time. Bring on the 10th Annual Lakers All-Access event!