You'll recall that last spring, (very) famous rapper Lil Wayne showed up at the doorstep of Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena before Game 3 of the 2012 Western Conference finals, hoping to secure a free front-row ticket simply because, well, "look at me I'm Lil Wayne." The Thunder declined to hand him the gratis ducat, and Lil Wayne hopped on Twitter to complain about the terrible oversight.
Red Hot Chili Pepper bassist Flea also enjoys basketball and the perks of stardom in equal amounts, and hoped for a VIP tour of the Thunder's locker room in the same arena when his band Red Hot Chili Peppers performed in OKC on Monday evening. It appears that various arena managers throughout this great land had been allowing Flea, a noted Lakers fan for decades, to take in a quick tour of the local team's locker room before their show; a benefit that did not carry over in the land of the Thunder, so Flea hopped on the Tweet machine to complain:
"Nouveau riche." Super-classy, Michael Balzary. We're probably less of a fan of the Oklahoma City Thunder's ownership group than you are, Flea, but a Twitter slapfest like this is somehow less dignified than calling someone chicken in order to induce them into a drag race, or firing someone by fax.
It doesn't seem like much, following the mid-afternoon soundcheck, to let the visiting entertainment for the night make their way through a locker room for a brief tour. Just enter in a passcode or twist a key, and the guy that is helping to bring thousands of fans (and revenue, and a night's work for your arena's employees) into your stadium goes onstage a happy man. After all, you're already giving the man his meditation room, his figs, his clean underwear and socks; why not let him see where Cole Aldrich performs his pregame meditation?
The Houston Rockets, amongst other teams, allowed as much:
That said, while Flea's 600,000-some Twitter followers might be unaware, the bass player is certainly familiar with how these day-to-day operations work at NBA arenas. It's not as simple as asking the janitor in the hallway for a lookie-loo; because there are all manner of security branches associated with various parts of the arena's operations that have to communicate, and it really isn't as easy as finding the guy with the biggest set of keys to do you a solid, man.
And even if it was, this might come down to a team not wanting you to look at your stuff while they're away.
If the Chili Peppers owned their own studio or practice facility and rented out the space to other bands while they were away, the last thing Flea would want is some visiting musician to pull a bass off the wall hanger for a slap and tickle — or even just walking around the restricted areas. No matter how big a Chili Peppers fan that visitor might be. This has nothing to do with a newish team coming into money and Finals appearances. It's their building from October until June. It's yours for one night.
Put it in your rider next time, Flea. And try to stay away from whining about it on Twitter next time. Reserve those 140 characters for airline complaints.