America’s entertainers (professional athletes, musicians, actors/actresses) are a version of British royalty; I’m convinced of this.
After the game, Joe and I went down to the family and friends guest area to slap hands with David West and the other Pacers players. There’s a small, 3 foot high plastic gate there that separates invited guests from the players, it forms something like a receiving line. I never really questioned the gate before, but Joe’s reaction to it made me think about it while waiting for David to exit the locker room. (Joe is extremely observant and analytical, his eye for symbolism is more keen than most.) The gate was grungy and flimsy. Several of us joked about it collapsing under our weight (about 50 people were leaning on it while waiting for the Pacers). But when the players began exiting the locker room, I noticed something different…for the first time since attending David’s away games, I saw the players physically moving the gate aside so that they could really hug and slap hands with their families and friends before boarding the bus. This was rather symbolic, like a rejection of the perceived hierarchy that this grungy, filthy gate imposed. Paul George and Rasual Butler took the time to talk to us at length. (lol Paul promised me again that they would beat the Heat) Rasual asked me to take a picture of he and his brother. Roy appeared happy and jovial while laughing, hugging and joking with friends. Lance made it a point to acknowledge everyone, whether he knew them or not. (Lol he said he remembered me from the Portland game, but I don’t think he really did David spoke highly of me when introducing me to two of his close friends. There was a warmth there that again rejected the notion that they are in fact deserving of some kind of worship, i.e. the gate was pushed aside.
It’s always good to see David, he’s an intelligent, thoughtful and overall great dude outside of being a gifted professional athlete. He and Lesley West make it a point to stay grounded and the two of them give back to their communities in countless ways. I am proud that they are a part of my family.
After some introductions and goodbyes, Joe and I immediately exited the arena and passed 2 homeless men wrapped in tattered blankets. They were both hemmed up against the Verizon Center’s walls, so close yet so painfully far from more wealth than most of us will ever see in a lifetime. So close, yet so disgustingly far from the meager wealth I’ve managed to accumulate in the past few years. We’d stood in the midst of hundreds of millions of dollars and horrific, rock bottom poverty within seconds. What a tragic irony…