Sunday, February 17, 2008

NBA All Star Weekend

No other city can throw a party like the Big Easy, and the NBA All Star festivities this past weekend proved just that. Thankfully, there have been no reported violent incidents stemming from the events, but that does not mean that the party went on without scandal. I decided to forego Friday's festivities because I was recovering from the Valentine's Day massacre that occurred in Baton Rouge the night before, but I arrived in town on Saturday well rested and ready to go.

The theme of Saturday night was: it's not what you know, but who you know. My little brother procured me 4 free tickets to the events at the arena on Saturday, and so I saved myself and my friends from spending $1000 to watch Bill Lambeer heave mid-court shots in the Shooting Stars competition. Myself, The Snowman, and The Chalmation drank $7 beers for 3 hours in the Arena while contemplating what would happen later that night at the "real" event: The Crown Royal & Playboy party at The Foundry. The Slam Dunk contest was the best that I had ever seen (Dwight Howard must have been thinking about his dunks for the past year), but the highlight of this pre-party in the Arena was watching Kevn Garnett explain what "andouille" was - "It 's like: me, my boy, 'and Dewey' went to the club last night." Priceless.

After leaving the Arena we joined The Pope at his restaurant. The Pope had used his papal connections with his liquor reps to score passes to the Playboy party, but the problem is that only he and The Chalmation were on the guest list. Problem? Nope. After those two made their entry, The Chalmation returned with a pass for The Snowman and I. We approached the check-in desk, presented our pass, but were then told that because our names were not on the official guest list that our pass wasn't "worth a shit" even after we dropped The Pope's name. Thankfully, the Pontif himself was standing by and talked the doorman into letting us in. Little did we know how lucky we were.

I have never seen a higher concentration of beautiful women in my entire life. There were Playboy bunnies, cocktail servers, and random girls whom The Pope had been told were most likely hired from modeling agencies just to fill the room. The four of us spent the next 4 hours drinking free Crown XR (which retails for around $180 per bottle) and gawking at all of the eye candy. Yeah, we were pretty much "those guys."

Now, I am not one to gossip, but this is just too good to keep to myself. At one point in the night we were talking to a few of the Crown higher-ups who told us that Michael Jordan lost $1.8 million at Harrah's the night before. They may have been full of shit, but they said that it was confirmed by a few of the girls at the party who were also at the casino the night before. Talk about a degenerate - some people just have no self control.

Later on, The Pope got a call from The Sandwich Man saying that he would like to join us. Now after having a hassle getting all of us in earlier, The Pope was a tad skeptical as to whether this would be possible, but after a few more XRs there was no hesitation and he claimed, "If that fucking guy does not let The Sandwich Man in, I am never buying a drop of booze from him ever again." Needless to say, The Pope's strong words were heeded, and The Sandwich Man had no problems.

The room was short of celebrities (or at least if there were a lot there then I did not know who they were, but then again my subscription to US Weekly expired a while back and I am not up to speed on the "who's who" of Hollywood). But one person who I did recognize immediately was none other than T.O. - "Get your popcorn ready!" T.O. walked in with his massive bodyguard and parked himself at a couch so that he could be waited on and entertained by a very striking blonde bunny. At one point, the couch next to T.O. opened up, so The Snowman and I took it upon ourselves to have a seat and relax. For 20 minutes we talked to ourselves and just acted like we belonged there (which, of course, we didn't), till finally our window of opportunity arrived. T.O.'s bunny went to the bar to get him a drink, so I (in all of my social awkwardness) took it upon myself to thank Mr. Owens for visiting my fine city. The "conversation" went like this:

Me (in a drunken ramble): Hey, T.O., I just wanted to thank you for coming down and supporting the city. We really appreciate you being here and hope you come back to visit.
T.O. (while staring at his i-Phone and not looking up): No problem, man. I love it down here.

So that was my one celebrity moment of the night - but hey, at least I had the balls to say something. Oh, I also managed to have my picture taken by The Snowman's fiance (who joined us right before we left) with a gorgeous brunette bunny so that I could commemorate this once in a lifetime experience.

After that exchange, it was time for us to move on. As we passed the 2 Indian guys who were standing outside waiting to get in (just like they had been when we arrived at the party 4 hours earlier), I realized how much it pays to know the right people. I would like to publicly thank The Pope for his large role in making that wonderful night possible. Hopefully, attending a Playboy party will not be a once in a lifetime experience for me.

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