I've always been taken by modern day street mongers: The late night hot dog guy, the sketchy intersection papaya man, even the creepy lady who sells roses has a special place in my heart. It is these people, and these people alone who are the true entrepreneurs of the 21st century (Take a seat Mark Zuckerberg).
It's only the subsect of this group, the flyer people, that I truly acknowledge as the lowest of the low. On many a night I've returned to my car to find my windshield decorated with a Rorschach of invites to Hollywood's premiere clubs. Hyde, Avalon, Pleasure, you name it, if it sounds like a flavor of Axe body spray, it was probably being advertised on my windshield last weekend.
While I hold these people solely responsible for Southern California's littering problem, I do have to thank them for one thing, introducing me to the world of athlete hosted club nights.
On a rainy Friday last September, I arrived at my car only to find a dozen glossy flyers, laid like bricks on my driver's side window. As I reached to throw them out, I noticed a familiar face on one, that of NBA journeyman and current Laker, Matt Barnes. Standing in the pouring rain, I read all about Matt Barne's Red Carpet Gala, an event that would feature live performances by Kid Ink & K-Shawn, with bottle service being strongly suggested. This, I could not miss out on.
At home that night, I searched for truth in the one place I knew I'd find it... the internet. What I discovered blew my mind.
It wasn't just Matt Barnes hosting parties -- many other subpar, no namers were throwing shindigs all across the country, and the worst part, this was during the lockout!
While I was closely monitoring the player arbitrations on ESPN 1, 2 and 3, these so called ballers were partying with Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan in Vegas, South Beach, and even South Bend! Surely Billy Hunter and Derek Fisher would have something to say about this, but alas, my Google search confirmed the worst, an invitation to a night hosted by Derek Fisher at Vegas's Tao... how the mighty had fallen.
It was at this point I realized the players really were OK with holding out and the lockout was gonna last a lot longer than Jeff Van Gundy, my source for all news, had predicted. This was my watershed moment, not unlike that scene in A Beautiful Mind when he cracks the code and goes nuts. Everything was coming together. I had seen the light.
The NBPA had passed the point of no return, any hope for an 82 game season was looking grim, and the players, in an effort to pay off those Bentley Phantoms, were looking for other streams of revenue.
Veterans, superstars and rookies alike scrambled to book nights at clubs across the country. Entire starting lineups got in on the action, combining their star power to celebrate Sammie's Bday in OKC, no doubt a glorious event.
In the five months since the lockout has ended, many things have returned to their normal place: Shaq's back to tweeting about his favorite cereal, Big Baby's throwing tantrums and doing dances, and Jeff Van Gundy is back where he belongs, in the court side seat of my heart.
Though the shortened season went on as planned, and every Blake Griffin dunk slowly erased the lockout from our minds, there's one thing we'll always have... the flyers.
With the help of two friends, Jordan Young (Writer/producer, Raising Hope) and Adam Stein (Writer, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia), I made a list of the top ten player hosted club nights (We threw in a couple pre- and post-lockout nights for good measure).
The 10 worst NBA club nights
10) Kris Humphries "Chateau"
Adam: Five days after being served divorced papers, Kris Humphries had no wife, no job, and apparently no shirts.
Jordan: Bottle service comes with a 72 hour marriage to Kim Kardashian.
9) The Indiana Pacers take over "Primal"
Adam: The Pacers -- The party won't be great, but they'll try really hard.
Jordan: "Who can we get? Four random players from the Pacers? Is Posey willing to work coat check? OK, book 'em".
8) Matt Barnes "Red Carpet Gala"
Adam: The "Red Carpet Gala" also doubled as Barnes' search for his next VH1 Basketball Wife.
Jordan: Come to see Matt Barnes, stay to... well, if that was your reason for coming to the club, what won't excite you?
7) Sam Young hosts "One Night Stand"
Adam: Sam Young's girlfriend did not find the party's theme to be quote, "hilarious as hell".
Jordan: Nothing says "I'm an important NBA player" like being the smallest clip art graphic photoshopped onto the corner of a club flyer.
6) Delonte West's "Casino Royale"
Adam: Surprisingly, Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were not invited to this card game.
Jordan: Delonte West and friends? That worries me because to Delonte West, a friend is just someone whose mom he hasn't banged yet.
5) Jason Terry hosts "Models & Ballers"
Adam: And just like the party after they beat the Heat, Erik Dampier was in attendance.
Jordan: I feel like the second most famous Jason on the Mavericks should be able to do better than Compound. But maybe I don't know my Atlanta clubs as well as I think I do.
4) Brandon Knight hosts "Birthday party for Juicy"
Adam: Endorsement 101 -- If you have to explain who he is in fine print, you might want to go with someone else.
Jordan: Brandon, you're hosting a club night in Miami beach, not interviewing for a job at Enterprise Rent-a-car. Would it kill you to put on a flashy sports coat or at the very least some five carat studs in your ears?
3) Charlie Bell hosts "the premiere club"
Adam: Come for the Grey Goose, stay for the soon to be amnestied Warrior.
Jordan: If you're really The PREMIERE club, ask yourself this; was Charlie Bell really the best you could do?
2) Lou williams hosts "Party like an Allstar with Lou Williams"
Adam: Party like an All Star with Lou Williams! -- And if you see Andre Iguodala, please invite him so we can have one at the party.
Jordan: Before this flyer I would've assumed partying like an all star meant you get at least two chicks sitting on your vinyl chez lounger.
1) The Oklahoma City Thunder celebrate "Sammie's Bday"
Adam: Look, I don't want to be the bad guy saying things like "The Thunder shouldn't be hosting random parties the night before a game", so let's just say the next day loss to the Atlanta Hawks is coincidental.
Jordan: So what Sammie? You got some of the Oklahoma City Thunder to help you celebrate your birthday. When I turned eleven my parents got me Bongo Silverstein the Jewish clown. I don't know where you grew up but where I'm from, that was a pretty big deal.