Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The NBA and KIA Motors: Catch the Fever!

I'm eternally grateful to KIA Motors for their interesting partnerships with sports and cities. Maybe the coolest thing I did during my Europe-cation over the summer was watching the EuroCup Final (featuring Spain and Germany) with 65,000 of my closest Spanish, mulleted friends in Plaza de Colon. And those giant screens carrying the Spanish broadcast were made possible by none other than KIA Motors. I doubt they sponsored the scary Spanish beer or the fireworks/low-powered grenades which were continuously detonated throughout the match, but they may do things differently in Europe. The point is, KIA normally does good when it comes to these public plaza interactive sports events. It's not their fault that the NBA Tip-Off event I attended today in Union Square Park was too lame for words. (Note: this will not keep me from writing about this function using--yes--words.) Sometimes things are just lame.

The real problem afflicting this event was that there was no event. In Spain they showed the championship contest of an international competition. The NFL's Kickoff event on September 4th of this year featured musical performances by Keith Urban and Usher. The NBA Tip-Off, on the other hand, had like this elaborate collection of lines. There was a line to get on the raised platform basketball court to shoot a free throw in order to win a t-shirt. There was a line to spin a huge The Price is Right-style spinning wheel, which granted one of three prizes, all sponsored by and labeled with the T-Mobile logo: an orange, basketball-looking stressball; a small tin of mints; and a set of dog-tags depicting I'm not sure what. (I won the mints and left them in a coffeeshop around the block; my friend won the stressball and graciously gave it to me.) And there was a line in which some KIA employees at the end of the line handed out a credit-card shaped piece of plastic which I was to present to the KIA employee at the front of the line. The lady took my card and offered me a mousepad, a water bottle, a strangely shaped magnet, and a sports towel.

I'm fairly certain that the point of these lines was to allow these KIA folks to ask people if they'd be willing to take a short survey. I agreed because I'm somewhat of an idiot who doesn't like refusing people. Also, I was kinda interested in what they'd ask.

Sample Question: "Would you describe yourself as a casual NBA fan or an avid NBA fan?" ("Avid.")

Another Sample Question: "Does KIA's partnership with the NBA make you more likely to purchase KIA products?" ("No.")

Yet Another Sample Question: "Would you like your local KIA dealer to contact you regarding special offers and discounts?" ("Hell no.")

The main reason I attended is because I am unemployed and I already had watched two episodes of It's Always Sunny in... today. But the second most primary reason I attended is because I wanted to meet such NBA superstars as Scottie Pippen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Walt "Clyde" Frazier, such NBA stars as John Starks and David Lee, and such NBA role players as Charles Smith, Kenny Walker, Malik Rose, Nate Robinson and Danilo Gallinari. I even brought this Free Darko-approved Lenin Closet t-shirt in an effort to get it signed by some of the names. (I'm not sure if getting this thing autographed would enhance or completely ruin the joke.) I stood in line in Union Square Park for about an hour and none of those people were to be seen. I'm sure all those guys were there at some point during the day, but it's super annoying to wait around a rainy park waiting for some guys to show up anytime during a tentative three-hour window of arrival.

It's hard to feel cheated by a totally free event. But this came close.

The one good thing that came out of this is my googling of Wilson Chandler, because I wanted to see if the tall guy in one of the pictures I took was him. (It turns out he wasn't scheduled to appear.) Google turned up this gem of a photo, of Chandler meeting "with Rabbi Grossman at the Migdal Ohr 'Family Carnival' held at the Madison Square Garden Training Center."

I wonder what they talked about.

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