February 02, 2011
NBA teams get to see most every corner of the United States (plus one city in Canada), but they don't actually get to spend much time in those cities. For most teams, it's a life of getting off planes, seeing the city for an hour or two, and then jumping into another plane after the game to move on to the next town.
So envy the Boston Celtics, even if they seem to be in a tricky situation right now. Due to the blizzards across most of the Midwest, the Celts considered spending Tuesday night in Sacramento instead of flying right back to Beantown after their 95-90 win. (As of this writing, no word has come as to what the Celtics decided.) From Kurt Helin at ProBasketballTalk:
So you know the Celtics must be thrilled that the massive snowstorm racking much of the Midwest may leave them stranded an extra night in Sacramento as they cannot get back to Boston. That's what Doc Rivers said was likely to happen before the Celtics took on the Kings Tuesday night.
Team officials were looking into flying partway back, spending the night and then flying the rest of the way Wednesday. But really, even if it's Sacramento wouldn't you rather spend a full night getting some rest (and a full night's sleep) then just deal with the travel nightmare the next day?
I sure would, Kurt, especially because it's in Sacramento, the capitol of California and one our nation's great underrated cities. Because NBA players rarely get to experience what each city has to offer, I hope that the Celtics take advantage of this great opportunity. With their next game not until Friday, they have plenty of time to bask in the city's glow. Below, check out things to do in Sacramento when you're stranded.
Cow tipping: Popularized in the 1995 classic film "Tommy Boy," cow tipping combines Sacto's noted adoration of cows with the kind of adventurous competition loved by top-level athletes. The game is simple: sneak up next to a sleeping cow and tip it over with all your might. Glen Davis(notes) is likely to be a particularly big fan of this sport, while Kevin Garnett(notes) is crazy enough to scare off any farmers who happen to wake up during the fun and games.
Visit the first Tower Records: Did you know that one of America's favorite shuttered music retailers was started in Sacramento? In 1960, local entrepreneur Russ Solomon opened the first Tower location on Watt Ave. While all Tower locations were closed in 2006 as part of the company's bankruptcy and liquidation, a trip to this first location can still bring back fond memories of a time when CDs were king and iPods were thought of as something from "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Break out that old Discman and tell the kids a tale they won't believe, Ray Allen(notes).
Sutter's Fort: This state park in Sacramento is one of the foremost sites in California's history, acting as a locus of Gold Rush activity and a safe haven for the survivors of the Donner Party. Current visitors to the site can experience a bit of the Old West and learn loads about the era that made California the booming state it is today. Step right up, Los Angeles native Paul Pierce(notes), and learn why the northern part of the state is responsible for the south's prosperity. There's gold in them thar hills!
The Capitol Building: No trip to Sacramento is complete without a visit to the bustling halls of the capitol building, where California's governor and legislature deal with the crippling gridlock that's currently bankrupting the state. Sadly, the Celtics just missed out on getting to see departed governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has the kind of star power to match Boston's on-court greatness. But don't sell short Jerry Brown, who's a tourist attraction of his own. He ran for president three times and never came close to winning the Democratic nomination. That's the kind of determination a basketball team can use as an example of how to never give up.