It was in March 2005; while walking back from Day #1 of APS Meeting I told my advisor that I had declined a $70 ticket for a Lakers-Sonics game at Staples Center. He wasn’t too happy about my decision and since then, I had been planning on making amends for it…. My fanatic affiliation to Detroit Pistons at that time (in 2002-2004) was minimal at best and even when Pistons won the NBA Championship in 2004, I was a fan of a certain team from La-La land… But thanks to Dave Bezotte, Evan Dixon (who explained all the rules & regulations and answered all my dumb/stupid questions while watching countless number of games on TV) and Cory Arthur — during my stay in 1105 Jasper for two years (2004-06) — yours-truly turned into a die-hard Pistons fan.
Geographical non-proximity of our town to Detroit makes it improbable to watch any of these games live but thanks to PenguiCon 5 held in Troy, The Palace of Auburn Hills was only a stone throw away! Having waited in queue for nearly two days, I got my ticket confirmed – somewhere in second tier, section 117. When I went to the Box Office to pick up my ticket early in the afternoon, looking at my camera and hearing about the distance I had driven, I was offered the last remaining seat in in the lowest level – 5th row from court-side to be precise!! Not only that, Palace officials let me carry my 70-200mm lens and did not object/stop me from shooting pictures inspite of not having a Media Pass. Hospitality and warmth of cooperation I received was just royal (it’s the Palace!) and each of the Palace staff and fellow fans seated around me, upon hearing that it was my first ever NBA game, went far beyond their normal limits to make me feel at home and enjoy the game.
Heartwarming welcome; meeting Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown; shouting Baasketbaaal following John Mason’s Dee-Troit; seeing Bill Davidson, John Mason, Greg Kelser, George Blaha; witnessing news as it was being made; watching my favorite team play and win (although I heard post game remarks that Magic lost it rather than Pistons winning it… but screw them; Pistons never get their due credit anyway), shooting pictures of an NBA game from courtside…. it was just an overwhelming experience in a nutshell – something that I will never forget. Thanks to all those who made it happen!
Rest of the pictures, if you are interested, are here.