THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH
By Homer D. Sayson
05 Jun 2008
CHICAGO -- Unlike the world-famous Ringling Brothers Circus, this one doesn't feature elephants and tigers. And it doesn't parade monkeys, horses and clowns, either.
But for it's global reach and sheer entertainment value, the NBA Finals could well make a case as the "Greatest Show On Earth."
Consider this: When Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics begins today in Boston, the match will be aired in 205 countires. And it will be broadcast in 46 different languages including Arabic, Czech, Galician (whatever that is), Greek, Icelandic, Mandarin, Thai, Ukranian, and Tagalog.
According to the NBA's Rachel Walsh, who emailed me yesterday, a record 280 international media from 35 countires will cover this year's Finals.
The Philippines will be represented by a four-man panel from Solar Sports headed by the inimitable Quinito Henson. I, too, will be in Boston for the tail-end of the Finals, proudly carrying the colors of Philboxing.com and the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Although this will be my 8th on-site NBA Finals coverage in eight years, I'm still excited. Trust me, things like this never grow old. It just gets fresher every year.
Outside of the game itself, the fun part of going to an event as mammoth as the NBA Finals is that you never know who you'll meet.
Over the years, the list of celebrities I've seen in the flesh is breathtaking.
Philboxing columnist Homer D. Sayson with Shaq at the United Center, where Sayson regularly covers the Bulls home games.
PhiliBoxing columnist Homer D. Sayson with the
crush of his adult life -- Eva Longoria during last year's NBA Finals in Cleveland, Ohio.
In 2001, at the First Union Arena in Philadelphia, I saw Beyonce Knowles. She was then a member of Destiny's Child, who sang "Survivor" in the halftime show. Up close, Beyonce is impossibly beautiful, and her legs are longer than the Great Walls of China.
In 2002, at the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, I stood 10 feet apart from gorgeous songbird Jewel, who performed in the halftime show. Man, she's pretty and she could sing. I wouldn't mind checking her pipes. Anytime.
In 2003, also at the CAA in New Jersey, I saw Bill Russell, the 7-foot wonder who won 11 championships in his 13 years as a member of the Boston Celtics. Notoriously aloof, Russell refused to take a picture with me. Bummer.
In 2004, at the bowels of The Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit, I met LeBron James for the first time. Although he was just a rookie then, I remembered having goose bumps upon seeing King James within reach. That's when' I realized that I was looking at someone truly special.
In 2005. also at The Palace of Auburn Hills, I saw actress Eva Longoria, the petite star of TV's Desperate Housewives. It was truly an OMG moment. Oh My God.
In 2006, I met celebrities by the handful. I was in the same press elevator with ex tennis pro turned supermodel Anna Kournikova during halftime of Game 3. I wished I was riding Anna, instead of elevator. Yikes.
Still in 2006, I saw in person Gloria Estefan, legendary crooner Jimmy Buffet, and two of the three BeeGees. It was another of those OMG moments. Oh My God.
Last year at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, I met actor Drew Carey and American Idol winner Taylor Hicks who sang the National Anthem for Game 4
And when San Antonio scored a sweep to win the Larry O'Brien trophy, I went to the Spurs lockerroom, only to meet in the hallway the crush of my adult life -- Eva Longoria. This time, we posed together for a pictture. And I have never been the same ever since.
The Spurs are dead as Julius Caesar, so there will be no Eva Longoria sighting to look forward to this year in Boston, when I travel there for Games 6 and 7, if necessary.
But that doesn't mean I won't meet any celebrities. And when I do, you willl be the first to know. So stay tuned here, boys and girls.
P.S. My first Philboxing column, which appeared yesterday attracted a cavalcade of emails to my Inbox. The letters, which came from around the globe, are a testament to the impossible reach of this website and that of mannypacquiao.ph.
Again, I am profoundlly thankful to my dear friends, Dong Secuya and Salven Lagumbay for giving me the opportunity to whip a column in these hollowed pages.
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