On April 1, I learned that I had won two courtside tickets to see the Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns game on April 5. Since my dad is the one who got me interested in basketball many years ago and has enjoyed attending games with me for the last 20 years, I knew I had to take him with me. We were like two giddy schoolchildren, laughing at everything and unable to quit smiling the whole day.
The first thing we did was find the NBA on ESPN RV and take the tour. The RV was filled with all sorts of NBA memorabilia, from bobbleheads and banners to autographed game worn shoes and street signs. I was so excited I even had my picture taken while sitting in the driver’s seat.
Upon leaving the RV, we stood in line for a chance to make a free throw and win ESPN prizes. I missed all three times, but still got an ESPN rally towel; Dad went 1-for-3 and won a wristband. After that, we headed inside and up to the Platinum Club, because for the first time (thank you, VIP passes!) we were actually allowed up there. We walked around just checking things out until we stumbled upon a killer buffet, which we learned cost $35. But, the concierge told us, since we had the VIP passes, we should head to the basement for the VIP buffet, which was free to all VIPs! I was so excited as I tried to eat that I was texting friends from things like “You won’t believe where I’m eating!” all through the meal.
Once we got down on the floor and found our seats, we again took pictures to document just how awesome they were, and called Mom and told her to look for us right next to the Suns bench! After all, we were sitting less than five feet away!
I spent the majority of my time snapping pictures of anyone and everything I could think of as I doubted I would ever be this close again. Steve Nash spent a good portion of the game stretched out on the floor in front of us, so close that Dad even got the toe of his own shoe in one of the pics with Nash’s head!
The game was magical. Jason Kidd had a triple double, setting a team record for most assists in a game and also moving into third on the all-time assists leaders list, passing Magic Johnson. Josh Howard hit an incredible 70-foot shot at the halftime buzzer, and the Mavericks won the game, 140-116. I even got a picture with (and autograph from) Erick Dampier after the game, and Dad met Mark Cuban. All in all, it was a dream come true for both me and Dad. Our years of supporting the Mavericks, even through the bad seasons, finally seemed worth it. Talk about a happy ending!