South Africa's basketball community

Cabby’s NBA experience – part 2

By on November 4, 2008 in FanZone

Part 2

Oooook, so part 1 ended when we got back to the hotel from the NBA training session where we got to meet Jay Z, Pat Riley, the Nets and the Heats during practice.  Wow, I thought the NBA is quite something.  People get excited to just watch a practice session????  Well, that’s the power of marketing.  David Stern has created the NBA to be something to be idolized just like how people idolize people in the entertainment industry.  I would not be surprised if Jay Z was offered the Nets shares at a discount as David Stern’s strategy to create hype and grow the audience around the NBA.  You gotta give it to the business vision of the NBA Commissioner Mr. David Stern.  Well done to him.  Just so you know, the NBA is toying around introducing NBA China and NBA Europe where logistics are being looked at around getting teams from China and Europe to play in the NBA.  Whether that is logistically possible or not, remains to be seen, but given what NBA has achieved in the past 100 years, I would say anything is possible.  At this point, one would ask himself, why not NBA SA? Or even NBA Africa?  Well, that was a suggestion roaming around in the early 90’s but I guess it was bureaucracy, politics and corruption that may have been one of the reasons that NBA did not follow through with the idea.  Either way, I believe Africa should learn to take ownership of its own issues and sort them out before seeking help somewhere.  The best we can do for now, is to learn from the best and implement ourselves.KGM KGM (that shorthand for “let me clear my throat J”),  Enough with the teachings and now back to the trip…..  So we got back to the hotel to take a nap to re-energize.  Here I am converting Pounds to Rands and thinking the hotel was going to be an amazing one considering the kind of money we paid for it per night.  What kind of room would you expect to stay in at the rate of about R1800/night?  Well, guess what, I enter a room and the bloody hotel room is the size of my toilet Nxa.  You enter the room and you see a single bed to your right and a bathroom to your left and that’s it.  Hell no, I yelled…for that much in SA, one could get a superior/executive room with a massage to go with it.  Anyway, I figured as long as I get to sleep, that should do the trip, besides, why would a man need a double bed if he’s going to be sleeping alone ;-).  I did not even blink twice and I was out.  Two hours later I get a knock on my door, Tshego wanted us to go down stairs to go get some water.  Oh, there is no drinking tap water in London (how blessed are we back home J, we should appreciate what our government is giving to us for free hey) anyway, went downstairs and guess what, Kyle is on the internet searching for clubs to go to around London.  I quickly joined him in the search and we only came up with 3 options close by.  We figured, we would go to a restaurant/club called the Harlem something (cant remember the full name) It promised a great evening of good old American food and soulful clubbing later on.  Tshego and I eventually got to buy the water, snacks and some world call card to call back home.  Took sometime to call my family and its amazing how you get this fuzzy feeling when you call home and talk to the people you love.  My daughter’s voice was like one from an Angel.  Anyway, everyone eventually came down and off we went to this Harlem place.  Eish, yet another disappointment, first of all, the restaurant was too small to accommodate all 8 of us, and secondly, the club was so tiny, after the 8 of us went in, the club was full J, eish, I thought nah, lets rather do something else.  Thought of Nandos, but everyone wanted to try something different in London.  …Mr. Gumede here wanted some Indian food and off we went searching for an Indian cuisine in the middle of the night.  Ok, we all finally settled for Thai food, which was next to the Indian cuisine that could only cater for us in 15min (What? We wanted to eat not wait, nxa); anyway, without going into too much detail, the food was lousy, especially since I was expecting it to be something like good food from Wangtai in Sandton or Soi in Melville.  Anyway, despite the many pounds we paid there, everyone was upset with the food as we laughed at each other’s orders.  Passing the food around and rating who had the worst meal….geeeez what a way to rate a restaurant.  Once again, appreciate SA.  It was getting late and I, the father or two kids back at home was already past his bed time.  We got back to the hotel and everyone gathered around the hotel’s bar to order some drinks while we discussed our next party place.  We inquired about how much at tot was and when we quickly converted, it was evident that it was not going to be a cheap night.  Thato quickly suggested something any South African would say, and everyone agreed.  He suggested that someone go out and buy a bottle of spirits from a bottle store to save some money, drink and then hit the London clubs.  It was at that point that I excused myself to bed, considering a series of disappointments we’ve had thus far.  Apparently the night was hectic, but I think Thato was just saying it to make himself feel better.  The pictures they took said nothing like they were having fun J, but anyway, that’s my sleeping take on their night, but hey, who knows, maybe they genuinely had fun.  I think Sgwili and Tshego also decided to throw the towel towards the night, but as for the Thato et al, it was a drinking spree.

Sunday morning was upon us and it was game day.  Somehow, I felt right at home.  Sgwili commented on how he overhead a local woman saying it was amazing to have had the great sunny weather around that time of the season.  Apparently, October weather has not been as enticing for the last 20 years or so….well, that’s according to what Sgwili said he heard.  Anyway, we decided to hit the town so ladies can shop and the guys can watch them do so L.  Wait a minute; first let me tell what the plan was before unfolding the drama.  The plan was to go to Oxford street so that ladies can shop while the guys took pictures of the streets (ya neh, tourists), come back to the hotel, leave from the hotel to catch one of the mini events that the NBA was doing down town to promote the game and continue to the O2 arena to watch the game.  The plan was perfect and we were getting the hang of travelling with the tube.  Now, remember the snack that I bought the night before, some of the snacks included Cashews which I offered to everyone.  They were really delicious and Thato S was going at them.  The brother doesn’t tell us he is allergic to the damn nuts…. J.  Well, there were no signs of allergies until the brother started coughing later on.  So we left the hotel, off to Oxford Street, 10min and 2 stores later, I was tired of the shopping thing that the ladies seem to enjoy so much.  How do you enjoy spending so much money on clothes that you can buy for half the price or less at home? Well, I guess there is just this thing about ladies and shopping some of us men will never understand.  I quickly suggested that we split, those who wanted to stay and shop will remain while those who wanted to sight see will come with us (the guys J)  Masesi and Nthabiseng were happy to remain behind whilst we took a tube to the popular tourists sights.  We ended up at Trafalgar Square; saw Big Ben (the clock) and the Big Eye.  To tell you the truth, call me boring but that did not excitement either.  Perhaps it was because I have been to London before and I hate behaving like a tourist.  These things have really never interested me.  It was time to get back to the hotel so that we can prepare to go to the game.  Just as we were about to leave down town London, Thato S started coughing.  At first, I just dismissed it thinking he just had some irritation in the throat, tjo! The brother kept coughing and it became worse with his eyes turning red and tears running down. The nose started to switch from running and being blocked.  What’s wrong I asked?  He banna, only now the brother tells us about his allergies, thank goodness he know about his weakness, so he brought with him allergens to help in case of such an emergency.  We got to the hotel and the brother was just getting worse.  He assured us that he will be fine once he takes the pills…aahh, we all went to our respective rooms to get ready.  He spoke to Sgwili who insisted that he go see the local doctor.  Now check this out, we flew 11 hours to come watch a game and now the brother with the allergies might mess it all up for us J….kidding.  Concerned as we all were, we figured there was no point in everyone going to the doctor.  Sgwili offered to go with him and someone else while the rest of us went to check out the NBA activities.  The bloody tube to where we were going was under maintenance and stole quite a bit of our time.  Damn it, we ended up missing the little events.  Nxa

Ok, we decided to go through to the O2 arena.  The game was at 7pm and we were doing good time.  Got an sms from Kyle who was with a “friend” of his and did not join the Sgwili & Thato group.  Well, given how easy it was to use the tube to anywhere in London, he decided to join us at the arena. Hope he had a good time out there in London J

Anyway, we finally arrived at the Arena and got to catch up with everyone else.  Fortunately, Thato was feeling much better and the night looked like it was going to be a good one….well, not without drama yet again…  According to our arrangement, Myself, Thato S and Thato M were suppose to get an all access accreditation as media, and I was suppose to pick one ticket for Tshego.  First I did not have my passport that was required to pick up the ticket due to my terrible traveling experience where my jacket got stolen with my money and passport when playing college ball at the European Student games held in France, 1999.  I since did not believe in travelling with important docs, now, here I am in London over 10 years later and my sad experience is back to haunt me.  Negotiating with the NBA is like hitting a brick wall so the night was beginning to be a sad one.  Sgwili managed to organize two more tickets and it was time for everyone to get into the arena as the game was about to start.  Luckily, I managed to get hold of our ESPN Europe contact and she managed to sort out ALL ACCESS ACREDITATION.

Wow, the arena was huge, the lights, the crowd, the setup……wow, something I have never experienced in my life….see the pic below

See what I mean.  The cool thing about it was that I could go where ever I wanted in the arena. Cooool

Anyway, the game was a tight one…it went to the wire.  Wade was on point but Carter had to finish it off seeing the Nets through 98-96 if I remember correctly.  What good game.  After the game, we had to go to the press conference, and in the corridors, guess what …. J

Yes Yes Yes, the Miami Heat dancers gents….and yes they are all that.

Oooook, I am sure you took a lot longer to go through the above page so let me cut my story short before you are late with your work J

So we went to the press conference and the coaches and the stars of the team came out said what they had to say, and of course I had to represent mzanzi with some Q’s.  Got irritated with the guy who was running the press conference, as he asked question about where we are from and complaining that we cannot be taking pictures with the stars.  Hey, I managed to steal a picture with D Wade (Thato is yet to send the picture, maybe you will see on The’Hood on special photos feature).  The conference guy was probably my worst moment during the trip so he became my Zero, stupid.

Apparently while we were in the press conference, the rest of the group went to the VIP after party where they got to hangout with the rest of the team and notably Grabriella Union…mmm.  Only if… J

We went to the after-after party, it was boring but we tried to make the best of it.  Spent a lot of money in Rand terms, missed the tube, had to take the bus and our Sgwili dearest led the road back to the hotel after taking a bus to downtown London.  Eish, never trust a black man with directions, got so lost that a few of us decided we were going to take a cab back.  Only then did I realize how far we were from the hotel.  Sgwili and Co on the other hand opted for the hour long walk back to the hotel in the middle of the early London morning.  Monday morning came, had lousy breakfast at the hotel, went out to meet with ESPN Europe over lunch, came back to the hotel to come pick up the bags and off we went back to the airport.  We joked around how Masesi might create exit issues out of England, but guess what, the drama shifted to the two Thato’s.  Bathong… can we have a moment without drama.  We went to check in and were later told the 2 Thato’s must take their bags back as they were booked for the flight the following night and the tickets were the cheap ones that could not be changed.  And wait for this, a ticket for the night we were travelling was quoted to be £800/person, wanna try convert that into Rands?  Anyway, we where nice, tried to call the travelling agency and she conveniently did not answer her phone, I think she knew she messed up.  Well, because we were nice to them, they decided to change the ticket for free, thanks to my charm J.

Off we went and were back home Tuesday morning just after 8am.

This was certainly one of the best trips of my life and thanks to ESPN, Champion and Yfm for making it happen.  According to ESPN, we will be running another competition to go to New York in March.  Well, listen to Yfm or check out and you might just join us.  Now, I have been to New York and you definitely wanna experience this one if you missed the London one.

Good luck to everyone on the next competition, and hope the Financial Markets Crash does not get ESPN to change their minds J


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There Are 6 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Setlogelo says:

    The article is very long. However I managed to finish it at one go. Perhaps the American newspapers prepared me for this wonderful article.

    However I will focus on the hard news, which would be the first section. CBN News Europe of September has an article on the journey for the NBA to become global. They are building a number of NBA style arena in China. The next step will be the market in India. The country has done grass root work for them by adopting the NBA model on their 20 overs cricket competition. The NBA Europe will depend on whether the owners of the championship teams can be willing to have their teams travel across the continent. They say it will be a difficult task.

    The question about NBA Africa came to the fore. If I am able to understand the strategy of NBA as per the various magazines, China will be used as a stepping stone to other countries such as Africa. The reasons are made clear when one reads the first issue of Strategic Marketing from IMM. China is a huge market that will influence the developing economies. The Chinese have a stake in Standard Bank. There are also rumors that they are in talks about Telkom Media. Apparently Telkom, the parent does not see a chance in a market whose development is dominated by Multichoice (DSTV).

    I do stick with my predictions that basketball will turn a leaf in 2010. As for the NBA Africa, let us have a professional league first. I will be able to determine when it will come to bear fruit.

    Once more the article is rewarding.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it, i think next time I should travel with my laptop and provide the info as it happens on a daily basis. I only remembered later that I missed out on a few other things due to time elapsed while waiting for the D Wade pic, but hey, it is what it is. New York here we come 🙂

    Be Cool brother.

    Anyword for from the gum company?


  3. I just quickly had a look at the article, and you a probably wondering what the J’s are for. Well, some how Vic’s site did not copy the smiley faces as they were on the article when I submited it. So everwhere you see a J, just know its suppose to be the smily face 🙂

    Well, knowing Vic, he probably made sure that the site converts it to a basketball lingo where J stands for a Jumper or Jordan 🙂 …..

    Bottom line…. I love this site

  4. neo says:

    Hey Caaby looks like there was a bit more than basketball that you were covering LOL.. Im just glad that you enjoyed it and thatnks for sharing these pictures with us especially the ones with the fine specimen…….. Don worry my wife wont object..

  5. kim says:

    I bet it was fun and hopefully those pictures are just what they are….just pictures.The article does give an insight of happenings there,thanks.

  6. Setlogelo says:


    I will sms u the relevant e-mail. These people will certainly be involved.