Living in Vegas, I'm close enough to SLC to want to go to as many games as humanly possible. So when the Jazz schedule came out, I noted the weekends I had off and was able to get some tickets for certain games at the ESA. But, I noticed a weekend when the Jazz played the Lakers in LA, and I was able to make it.
So way back when, I purchased a pair of upper bowl tickets (Row 1, aisle seats, but still upper bowl) on StubHub for about $50/each. I'll jump ahead a bit here - Staples is really strange once you're inside. The true upper bowl is really really small. Only looks like 10-12 rows or so in each section, which is odd to see. There's a lower bowl and then like a mid-lower bowl, and then three (3!) levels of suites. Quite impressive.
So back to the "story," I ended up Priceline-ing a room for about $60 a couple weeks back and we were golden. We drove from Vegas to LA, and it turned out our hotel was in Chinatown which was kinda funny. We seemed a little out of place, but oh well, the Utes were up 21-0, and it was time to head to the game! On the way to the game, we were informed we had a little surprise at Will Call (courtesy of a BC7 hookup). So we parked in a scary little parking lot and made the saunter in our Jazz jerseys and hats to the arena.
At Will Call, we found two lower bowl tickets ($115 face value) which were behind the basket closest to the Lakers bench, and about 15-18 rows up. Not too shabby. We also saw a couple of "guest passes" of which we really didn't know what those were. Oh, and those upper bowl tix were needed by the guy who got us the lower bowl seats, and apparently Ronnie Price was grateful for them, whatever that meant.
As for the game there, it was truly a show. The Jazz were introduced, and when it was time for the Lakers to be introduced, things went dark and a giant like tarp-screen fell down around the "jumbotron." It was like a cylindrical blanket for the lack of a better word, and was pretty freaking sweet except for all the Lakers highlights that were playing on it. Very impressive.
So game started ugly for the Jazz, and the Lakers fans were pretty into it. Kobe is basically God in that place, and we were catching a little crap for the Jazz garb. The comebacks and such made it nice to be a Jazz homer, but obviously we couldn't pull it off. One of the true highlights of the night was ruining dinner for 18k-plus Laker fans. They were chanting "We Want Tacos," as the game neared conclusion (if they win and hold the opponent under 100, everyone gets two tacos from Jack in the Box), and when Memo hit that late three to make it 100, the place sounded like they had just lost. We both got up and cheered loudly. Priceless.
After the game, we didn't really know what the guest passes were, so we walked down and showed the usher, and he basically told us to go to the opposite side of the court and hang in section 106. So we walked over, and realized this is where the players' family and friends hang out after the game. I'm shocked and amazed how fast AK-47 made it out of the locker room all changed and ready to go. He hung with a couple of people and his wife, and actually thanked us for our support personally, which was kinda cool. We saw a few other players and another highlight of the night was a guy who wanted to get a ball signed. He saw Deron Williams
limping walking down the tunnel, and said "Dur-ron Williams will you sign my ball?" My bro and I both laughed as DWill replied only, "It's Deron (pronounced correctly)." LOL! It was pretty comical, but DWill ended up signing his ball anyway, and then the team took off.
Overall, a very very fun trip. Economical too... really, you can pull this off for two people at less than $100 total per person (from Vegas) depending on tickets. Highly recommend---even if it has to be at Staples, go do it! Road games are a crazy experience, but a great time.
Go Jazz - keep rolling, and always remember... 8 > 3!