Posted: Monday May 1, 2006 4:35PM; Updated: Monday May 1, 2006 5:59PM
The sight of Tyra Banks courtside would make it difficult for any fan to concentrate on the game, no matter how exciting.
Victor Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images
Watching Kobe Bryant toss in that looping runner to tie the Lakers' Game 4 battle with the Suns, and then make that jumper to beat Phoenix in overtime, made for a pretty exciting Lakers game. But it won't be the one I remember in my dotage, when I'm trying to make sense of my life. If I'm doing any remembering at all, it will be the night the Lakers played the Detroit Pistons in the old Forum, back in 1997. Now that was a game.
Actually, I don't remember a thing about the game itself, about who won or even who the players were. My guess is it was a fairly meaningless event, with little at stake. It was the circumstances that elevated the occasion well past a Kobe buzzer-beater. Kobe beats buzzers all the time. I doubt I'll ever take Tyra Banks to a basketball game again, though.
Normally I don't traffic much in supermodels (see mug above). Married 35 years, I really haven't trafficked in anything since the Kent State shootings, and not so much even then. But every once in a while an SI writer is pulled from his weekly duties and assigned some ridiculous stunt for the annual swimsuit issue and he's able to see Heidi Klum naked. This was my turn, although I was told upfront that Tyra would not be undressing for me. In any case, being our guy in Southern California and not having anything more important to do, I went along for the ride.
The idea was, take Tyra to a Lakers game, seat her courtside and ... well, it wasn't a well-formed idea. They hardly ever are. But it was likely I'd get a few notes from the stew of celebrity and fashion she was likely to stir, something that would keep the pictures from bumping into each other in the swimsuit spread. I was just there for the typography, basically.
There were problems, though. You do not easily secure courtside seats, not now and not then. When I explained to a swimsuit editor that these seats are quite prized and are not issued as credentials, she was aghast and somewhat haughty at the same time. "But Tyra's a supermodel!" she huffed. Nevertheless. To my amusement, the editor had to go on the black market, paying something like $6,000 for the ducats. Even Jack pays for his seat by the scoring table.