We spent the last couple of days in Orlando and ended our trip with a visit to the Amway Center to watch our first NBA game in person. The Orlando Magic was playing the Brooklyn Nets, and I'm happy to say our team came out the victors. Bring on the Magic!
The Amway Center is gorgeous, clean and huge. There were a lot of things to do inside, besides watch the game, which was great for us because we arrived early to avoid traffic, and wander around a bit to explore the venue.
We went to our seats early, just to find them, and were delighted to find they were on the end (no having to climb over other people to get to our seats when the stadium filled up, and it did fill up, was a big bonus). We looked at the rows above us from where we were, and honestly, it didn't look like there would be a bad seat in the house! We had a great vantage point to see all of the action. We were first row in section 109A and here is a photo in case you want to see how that would look for a concert or game that you might like to attend at Amway.
The Orlando Magic Blimp flies around at different times during the home games. Cute. And probably fun to operate for the guy (or girl) holding the remote control.
Stuff the Magic Dragon made a great mascot. Even when he wasn't officially entertaining the crowd, he was entertaining to watch (sitting on the back of someone's seat, or even just walking around). He's uber cute.
We thought it was interesting to see what really happens at the games, vs. what we see at home on the TV. It's great to catch it on the screen, but seriously far better in person. There's really not a dull moment. Every time out has someone coming on the court and doing something exciting (we really enjoyed the Orlando Beatz coming out with their drums!). It was even nice to see what the players do on the sidelines when they're not on the court. I guess just being there in person made it feel more real.
Our team played hard. D.J. Augustin (the shooter in this picture) scored 16 points and had 6 assists. He was the second highest scorer of the night, right behind Markelle Fulz who had an amazing 25 points. I got some pictures of him, but none that were really clear. There was a limit on the zoom size of a lens that you could bring in, so I didn't bring my DSLR, but rather a point-and-shoot camera.
It was an exciting game to watch, and it was even tied at one point (not for long, but it happened).
The final score was 101 Orlando, 89 Brooklyn.
We walked around the venue some more after the game, and came across this awesome display of true-to-size cardboard cutouts. At first blush, on the court, my son thought the players didn't look so tall after all (remember, he's trying to grow tall so he can be a contender on the court). Standing here, he had to rethink that statement. ;)
Shaquille O'Neal played for Orlando Magic for awhile, and he and other players were commemorated in the displays.
Penny Hardaway had a jersey that my son was geeked to stand next to for a picture.
This whole section was mesmerizing, and we spent a good deal of time, enjoying what we were seeing. My son was soaking it all in. He is a true basketball fan. I enjoyed the items on display too, but I was more excited to see him going through it and getting excited about the things and players he recognized.
The items selected were carefully thought out, but the signed basketballs were my favorite. The one above captured a big win.
A lot of the items were under glass so you couldn't mess them up, which was smart considering so many had something to drink or eat in their hands.
The memorabilia went all the way back to the Inaugural Season, 1989-1990.
Every game is exciting, but I'm sure everyone was on fire for that first game.
We headed to the souvenir shop inside. There is a huge store outside, but we just went to the one closest to where we were, and my son selected a ball to take home.
The one he got also happened to be the one I would have picked out for him. I like the darker colors because they don't show the wear and tear as quickly as the lighter balls do. This ball had a good grip on it too; way stronger in fact, that the two basektballs he got for Christmas. ;)
Of course on the way out, he and every other child that had a basketball, were NBA super heros until they got to the car. How could they not try to mimic the greatness they had just seen on the court; that excitement had to be contagious. Fortunately, there was an area in middle where kids were encouraged to play (parents downloaded an interactive app and the kids could be filmed while playing).
I usually don't let him bounce a ball inside, but here I let him do it all the way to the escalator that took us down to our exit, and even then, outside until we got to the street, where we had to cross to get to our car. That blurry snap against the backboard of performers who have played at Amway Center is supposed to show my son in action, but like I said, due to zoom restrictions, I took the point-and-shoot camera and some of my pictures are subpar. The experience wasn't though. We had a fantastic night out, and I highly recommend attending an Orlando Magic home game at the beautiful Amway Center when and if you are in the area.