James was thrilled to witness a game in the former home of Jazz legend John Stockton.
Entering the Energy Solutions Arena for the first time was a bit overwhelming for me. Although the arena has been here since 1991, this was my first time in the home of the Jazz, being that I live out of state. I can honestly say that I don’t see a bad seat in the house. [Editorial note: Believe me, James...I've sat in a bad seat there.]
This is the same floor that John Stockton and Karl Malone made magic happen. This is the same place where Carlos Boozer and Deron Williams are forging a new dynamic duo of their own. I had a sudden urge to break out my pen and run down to the floor to see if I could pry up a piece of that hallowed wood for my collection. But, alas, I am here not only as a fan, I am here as a writer covering the game.
Now, there are a few things you need to know about going to a game as a member of the media.
The Bad things
1. You can’t get any autographs. The teams are very clear about that from the time you get your credentials.
2. No pictures. No matter how bad you want to snap off a few shots, there is a difference between a fan and the media. And, the line is very finely drawn.
3. You still aren’t allowed in practices. They don’t like anyone in on the practices. I got kicked out.
The Good Things
1. They have food. I found my way to the media room where they had some good lasagna, breadsticks, and a dessert bar that would make a kid fall in love.
2. You got one of the best seats in the house. I had a media seat right above the visiting team tunnel. I could see the game perfectly.
3. You get to go down after the game and talk with the players. Sure, you still have to be professional, but you can ask them questions like “So, Mr. Tinsley, why did you pass those fans up after warm-ups without giving them an autograph? Everyone else signed for them.”
Being a fan myself, it was really hard not to ask the players for autographs or pictures. But, when you take the whole night into account, it was an experience that I am glad to have had. The Jazz organization is about as classy as they come. The arena was incredible, the entertainment for the fans was well worth the money they paid for the tickets, and the game itself was 48 minutes of sheer good times.
If you ever get the chance to get a press pass or even a special access pass, I suggest you take advantage of it. The stuff you get to do just crushes what you get to do as a normal fan with a normal ticket. I got to see every player sign stuff for fans except Jamaal Tinsley (which almost made me cut him from my team); I got to stand next to Andrei Kirilenko and see how tall he really is; and I figured out that since I am 6′2″, I am positive that Deron Williams is not 6′3″ as listed. The night ended with me getting the cold shoulder in the locker room after I asked some of the questions Rob suggested I ask. Needless to say, I can’t post them here since I work for both teams and they almost kicked me out the first time.