Quick Diary: McDonald’s All-American Game

Last year, I went to the McDonald’s All-American game at the United Center with my friends Greg and Raffi and had a really good time. We got to see Austin Rivers, Cody Zeller, and Anthony Davis before they became household names (and I’m defining that as known among people who don’t constantly refresh Rivals). As cool as it was, though, we had nosebleed seats–to truly experience basketball you have to be lower level; bottom half of the lower level and between the baskets are ideal but not necessarily essential.

Last night, I met Raffi at the Billy Goat Tavern a few blocks from United Center about a half-hour before tip-off, primed to use my scalping strategy to optimize our seats. “Don’t order food there,” I texted him. “I got some inside information on food at the United Center.” We stayed at the Billy Goat for about 15 minutes as he finished his beer and talked about what our goals and budget for the tickets were. We decided that we wanted lower level between the baskets and that we were willing to pay $40 a ticket. We were about to have an absolutely surreal 10 minutes.

As we made our way to the United Center, there was a pack of scalpers about two blocks away from the entrance. I held up two fingers and they all sprinted across the street like pigeons who see someone spreading bread crumbs to try to sell to us. This was a good sign. The first one had two lower level single seats–one in Section 112, Row 3 and one in Section 113, Row 7. He tried to explain the passback strategy, of which we were already well-versed; we wouldn’t even need it, though, because the sections are connected and therefore have the same usher.

“Just give me face,” the scalper said, pointing to the $57 listed price on the ticket. Another scalper swoops in. “I also have lower levels and mine are together,” she said. I looked at her tickets: “Those are section 321.” Now they knew we weren’t to be trifled with. I offered the original scalper $30/ticket and he agreed without even bothering to negotiate. I wonder how low we could have gotten him to.

We got into the United Center and headed towards the Budweiser Brew Pub; my friend Brad–a reliable source on the subject–sold tickets for the Bulls for a season and had told me that the roast beef sandwich there was the best arena food he knew of. Even at a stiff $14 price tag, it didn’t disappoint.

We got to our seats and they were center-court. Before the game started, a McDonald’s promotions rep came by and asked us and the two guys seated next to us if we wanted to be in a contest. “YES! DEFINITELY!” I exclaimed, without giving him a chance to explain what it entailed. We would be competing in the Big Mac suicide race–a contest where one member of the team is the bottom bun while the other has to run sprints back and forth to assemble a Big Mac out of its individual ingredients.

Microsoft Word > Documents > Bucket List > Be part of a timeout contest at a basketball game > Check > Save > Exit

I would be the bottom bun while Raffi would do all the work. We got the guy sitting next to us to take video on his iPhone. To the best of your knowledge, the race ends as it was on pace to when the video cuts out…………..

The game was AWESOME. The standouts were Alex Poythress, who is committed to Kentucky, and Shabazz Muhammad, who hasn’t committed yet and is deciding between Kentucky and UNLV. It will be interesting to see if UNLV is able to put together the funds to match Kentucky’s offer (edit: my friend Noah says it’s down to Kentucky, UCLA, and Duke). In all seriousness, though, I think we’re going to be hearing a lot from both of them over the next decade. Tyler Lewis, committed to NC State, was also fascinating to watch. Rivals lists him at 5’11 but I’d be shocked if he’s an inch over 5’8. Despite the natural athleticism disparity between Lewis and everyone else on the floor, he started for the East and was an effective ball distributor. SCRAPPY!

Here’s a view from our seats:

For only having practiced for a week, the offenses were very fluid–there was obviously a lot of open floor dunking but the teams were also running sets with grace and efficiency. I couldn’t recommend the game experience highly enough and plan on continuing to go every year if it’s in Chicago.


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2 Responses to Quick Diary: McDonald’s All-American Game

  1. sainteny says:

    Nah dude the BBQ’s where it’s at, the RB is nothing special.

  2. At the Budweiser Brew Pub? What type of BBQ sandwich?

    The marginal cost/marginal benefit of getting real, good food at the BBP for $14 versus like a heat lamp Grade D Cheeseburger and mediocre-at-best fries for $10 is so worth it.

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