Since I was in elementary school, basketball has been the highlight of Valentine's Day weekend for me. Whether it's with my dad, best friend and/or a group of friends, tuning in to NBA All-Star weekend has been an on-going tradition for years.
One particular All-Star weekend was super special to me, because it was held in Atlanta that year. Growing up, I understood some of the financial problems my family was facing, so I knew to refrain from asking for certain things, but deep in my little heart, more than anything, I wished I could be in attendance at that game.
Imagine the joy I must've felt when my dad surprised me with tickets the day before the game! As bad as I wanted to go to school and brag to my peers, daddy warned me not to, because I was taught to always be mindful of kids who may be less fortunate that I am, so I kept quiet, but my excitement was through the roof. At the time, I was also heavily involved in swimming and recreation basketball, where we had basketball games on Saturdays; I must've played my heart out that day. February 9, 2003 is a date I'll remember for the rest of my life.
Here I was, front and center at the Philips Arena, watching the NBA All-Star game live and in person with my main man, loving every adolescent bit of it. The experience was unreal. At the time, I didn't quite understand how important this game was, as it was the 14th and final All-Star appearance of Michael Jordan, the G.O.A.T. and the first and only time seeing Kobe Bryant play. Now that I think about it, that was the year I fell in love with Kobe and that night sealed the deal on being a Lakers fan, because I couldn't take my eyes off of him. What an honor it was to be in the presence of 2 of the greatest to ever do it!
Mariah Carey, who was my favorite singer at the time, was there also, sporting her Wizards #23 jersey dress and singing 'Hero' in perfect pitch.
Yesterday, I watched the game in full again via
, just to commence my All-Star Weekend, and rememembered being there like it like it was yesterday. All the sensations were the same. I didn't brag then, so I won't brag now, but it's pretty cool that 14 years later, I live to talk about it. It's too bad we didn't have cameras on our phones and if there were digital cameras back then I didn't have one, however, it was great to be able to enjoy the moment without the barrier that technology can sometimes create, which I can appreciate so much more in retrospect.
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