Courtside at the Staples Center for a Los Angeles Lakers game is always a heavyweight affair. With LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in town, Thursday night’s nationally televised Cavs-Lakers matchup was no exception. Hollywood’s “A-listers” showed up in spades – including sideline spottings of Floyd “Money” Mayweather, Jack Nicholson and Rihanna (appearing on the Jumbotron with a mega-sized tub of popcorn) – all eager to enjoy the show.
With coach Jurgen Klinsmann scheduling an afternoon off for the players, the U.S. MNT got the red-carpet treatment with everything from valet parking outside of the Staples Center’s back entrance to a luxury suite to host the players.
The MNT might have been split as far as allegiance to one of the pair of high-profile U.S. MNT supporters – LeBron James or Kobe Bryant – with birthday boy Wil Trapp clearly loyal to Ohio, while lifelong purple-and-gold fan Nick Rimando proudly displayed a gifted Lakers bandana around his neck.
In the final minutes, Bryant did his best to bring the Lakers within striking distance before King James drove to the hoop with 20 seconds left to deliver the knockout blow.
Regardless, a fleeting departure from the hard work of January Camp provided the U.S. MNT players the perfect chance to sit back, relax, see two all-time greats do battle, and at least in this case, watch LeBron James hold on to his throne.