One of the founding ideas I had for Red Phog was to visit every NBA arena and 7 historic college courts that I choose. Plus, see as many games as I can along the way. Here's the map of where every NBA arena is located as well as the 7 historic college gyms (some NBA arenas have different names now so excuse me if some have changed corporate sponsors.)
I wanted to give an update on what I accomplished this basketball season and share some thoughts about each trip. It was an unusual year because I typically don't get to see many NBA games but I actually got to see two out of state. The highlights included a 3 day road trip to see the Oklahoma City Thunder play in OKC and the Kansas Jayhawks play at Allen Fieldhouse. The other game I lucked into because it was on the Sunday between the Final Four and Championship game. In Phoenix we got to see the Suns play a game and enjoy some great seats too.
Back to the road trip first. Allen Fieldhouse is on my list of historical gyms to visit. It opened in 1955 and is names after Phog Allen who was the most revered coach in Kansas history at the time, except for maybe the founder of basketball James Naismith. I get to see Kansas play at least once a year when they come to Austin to visit the University of Texas Longhorns. The only caveat I had about visiting Allen Fieldhouse was that I didn't want to see UT play so I could enjoy the environment and not worry about whether UT won or not.
This is where the fun starts. From Abilene, TX to Lawrence, KS it is about a 10 hour drive, plus stops. Oklahoma City is roughly half way. So wouldn't you know it that the Thunder are playing in OKC on Sunday night before Kansas plays at home on Monday. It was going to be a long trip because UT was playing in Austin, versus Kansas, on Saturday night. The round trip from Austin->Abilene->OKC->Lawrence ended up being about 1800 miles in 4 days.
It was a whirlwind of a trip but it was totally worth it. Some quick highlights:
- Enjoyed another trip to Austin
- Saw Russell Westbrook put up a triple double in his record breaking season
- Read from the Original 13 Rules of basketball at Kansas
- Walked on the floor of Allen Fieldhouse the afternoon of the game
- Participated in Senior Night with the other Kansas faithful (and the game was pretty good too!)
The other turn of luck was being able to catch a Phoenix Suns game while we were in town for the Final Four. They happened to be playing the Houston Rockets on the Sunday between the college games. To my surprise there were some good deals on tickets and my dad and I got a pair on row 4, center court. Best seats we've ever had we both agreed after we sat down. It might not have seemed like it would be a good game but when you are that close it's more than a game because you can hear the players and coaches talking to officials. You are following the screens of all the staff members sitting in front of you and since you can't see the score on the scoreboard above, you are just enjoying watching some hoops.
I'll share some more thoughts on both of these tremendous trips in later posts but I wanted to give an update on what I got to see this year.