South Africa's basketball community

My NBA Experience by Kyle

By on November 24, 2008 in FanZone

Well to win this competition was a dream come true for me…On a normal occasion I would not enter but since it was basketball (which I love)and the departure date was 10th October (my 21st birthday). I knew it was meant for me so I said “why not” and sent one sms which was literally life changing.

I had taken a lunchtime flight from Durban to meet the group at OR Tambo. I was a bit skeptical at first because I never met any of the guys, but on meeting them I found out they were all down to earth and great company. We left Johannesburg with a little bit of a drama but it was ok cause we managed to make our flight with a little bit of running. I had three seats to myself which I did not complain about but it is hard to sleep when your dream is currently in the making.

We arrived at Heathrow early Saturday (11th Oct) morning. Thato M went outside for a breath of fresh air were I caught her singing with a local women “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day” now that was really something to catch on camera because it was in her “English” accent. From Heathrow we took the tube (where we made lots of noise and scared the locals) to our flat to find out that our rooms were not ready. Sgwili, Cabby, Thato M had to go for a meeting so the rest of us (Thato S,Tshego ,Masesi, Nthabiseng and I) just took random walk when we came across Paddington Station (home of Paddington Bear) and Thato S made some friends just because he wanted a picture of some really dark people. We ended of back at our hotel and we then took a taxi to Piccadilly Circus (shopping central) were we saw some kind of Indian festival.

We as group met back at the hotel and decided to go out for supper. That night just before we could leave Cabby and myself were looking up club’s and eating places that were close by, we found one that “sounded” like it was the place to be but when we arrived, there was no place to even dance. We then settled for Thai food were we compared meals to see who had the worst tasting one, by the way guys I think I won. My two bites was one, two many bites…As we were walking back to our hotel for a couple of drinks Thato M decided to serenade us once more in her “English” accent by singing “London Bridge is falling down, falling down, my fair lady”…Well for a few people it was past their bedtime but for the rest of us the night was just beginning. Thato S, Thato M and I went club hunting at 2:30am it was very unsuccessful until we decided to pay a little extra (money talks even in London) into a club called Storm, it wasn’t the finest but we couldn’t be choosy because the others closed entry at 2:00am. We headed back home at 5:30am and yet it seemed like peak hour traffic (that place never sleeps).

That morning (Sunday 12th) I arranged to meet a school friend of mine (Verusha) who lives in London. Verusha took us to Oxford Street were we left the group (my plan…) to do their shopping and stuff…and she took me to the London Eye which was totally breathtaking because you can see the whole of London. We parted ways (which was sad) and I was supposed to meet the group at the hotel but I was too late and they had already left for the arena. Now I was in a little of a panic because I didn’t have my ticket and since they were in the tube they had no cell phone signal. So I took a chance and read the very confusing tube map and found myself taking a bus and a train (long story) to the O2 arena. Anyway I met up with the guys there and we had a little drama getting our tickets but it all worked out. The game was an experience that I can only describe as “WOW” the players were amazing and everyone was at the edge of their seats ie.if they were sitting. We sat close enough to hear what even the team talks were about and opposite the court was Jay-Z (yes Jay-Z Jay-Z).  The cheerleaders had every single guy’s blood pumping probably even some of the girl’s bloods pumping. Seeing all the dunks, the multiple rejections, the perfect shooting of Vince Carter was a totally of the chart experience. After the game the guys told us (the winners) that we get to go for the after party and what an after party that was. All the players from the game were there, with managers, reporters and lots of famous people. I took pictures with Vince Carter and Gabrielle Union; at the moment of the pictures being taken I was totally in shock.  After all the stars had left and the place started to get a bit quiet we met outside and found ourselves getting into a club just outside the after party. We were the life of this party with an exception of two ladies who in general just scared the crap out of me, they were freaky. We left the club about 2:30am and it was a long journey home because the tubes don’t run on a Sunday night. We took a bus trip with expired tickets and walked a lot before a few of us decided to take a taxi back (which we don’t regret for paying extra).

That morning (Monday 13th Oct) I woke up early to pack, it was sad but also good in a way because we did so much of running around and lack of sleep that I was going to need another holiday to just get over this one. That day went doing more shopping, exploring, always lots of walking and also involved the local food of fish and chips at the nearest pub. Our trip back to Heathrow was a long and sad one not just because we were leaving London but because it is another half a day trip back home. On arrival at OR Tambo we picked up our luggage and went our separate ways (which was sad after the weekend we just had), my time was still an hour behind and luckily going an hour early for my flight back to Durban avoided me getting stranded again.

To all the guys and girls that had a hand in putting this once in a lifetime experience together and to you guys who helped me party up there;)…Thank You!!! It was by far the best 21st birthday gift I could have even dreamed off.

Article supplied by Kyle Govender

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