The Lakers are trailing the inferior Golden State Warriors in a preseason game, and you’re trying to figure out why. But you notice someone coming from the right and take a quick look.
It’s Ice Cube, at 12 feet and closing.
You nudge your younger brother, hoping he understands your “Look but don’t look” signal. A 19-year-old, he goes for his cell phone.
Before you can say “Today is indeed a good day,” the rapper and actor is standing over you, all 6 feet of him, with short hair and an oversized black coat.
“You’re in my seat, homie,” he says with a look akin to that of his Jheri-curled snarl of yesteryear. Knowing that you listened to Straight Outta Compton three hours earlier, you want to reply, “Yo, Cube, I ain’t tha one.” But the truth is, you are.
It’s his seat and you just got played like a poo butt.
Ten seasons had passed since the Lakers last suited up for a game at the Forum, the iconic building that was as much a part of basketball royalty as late announcer Chick Hearn, the colors purple and gold, and Kareem, Magic and Worthy. So when the squad announced it was leaving Staples Center to return to the storied venue for one night only, October 9, a certain number of the 11,000 ticket buyers bought cheap seats — intending to get closer to the action once inside the arena.
The Forum holds 17,505, including a certain pair of seats six rows from the top of the arena. But on this night, with 6,000 open seats, why would anyone want to sit way up there?
You notice that Section 11 seems to have no usher, and Row M in that section has a string of empty seats. You take two and hope no one claims the seats because the commotion would be a surefire sign you don’t belong.
For the first time in your life, you don’t need binoculars to see the action on the court.
Life is good.
But it could be better. You start thinking you could get even closer--and you can’t stand not trying.
The Loge section is a sea of empty seats. You see two in Row F, mid-court, six rows from the hardwood.
You grab two seats.
Life is grand.
Except that without a ticket stub, you can’t leave the section and expect to get your seat back. You might not get past the usher again — and if he bounces you, everyone will see it and your seat hopping might be over for the night.
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But you need a restroom, badly. So you convince yourself you can pull it off by making eye contact with the usher, as if to say: “Get a good look at me. I’m coming from these seats so don’t sweat me when I return.”
It works. On your return, you hover until the usher is distracted, then you stick out your chest, strut down the aisle and sit like you own the place.
It’s sublime. You’ve hopscotched sections, outfoxed ushers and landed six rows from the floor, a most excellent seat.
Ice Cube’s seat.