While browsing Twitter on my iPhone, I noticed this tweet by Rudy Gay that called anyone in Las Vegas to go to the Cheesecake Factory where Andre Iguodala and himself were eating dinner.
Me and @ai9 are in the cheesecakefactore! And if you can come up to us and tell us our jersey #’s you get a free cheesecake
Eager to get there first, I immediately got my room key and started sprinting down the hall way of the Flamingo Hotel. Once I got off the elevator, I made a quick left turn, and continued running until I got outside. While running up the sidewalk to get to the main drag, I passed a bus. Now, at the time I did not realize what it was for, but on my way back I realized that it was a prison transport and that I was sprinting by 5-10 convicts. Anyways, I waited for the little man to show up on the crossing light and ran across from the O’Sheas Casino to Caesar’s Palace. I then turned right and entered into the Forum Shops that lay to the side of the actual hotel and casino. I ran up a flight of stairs and tried to catch my breath as I asked someone at the information booth where the Cheesecake Factory was. To my dismay, they told me to go as far as I can go and it would be there. So I ran. Ran some more and continued to run. In about six minutes, I found myself in front of a large water show that took place right near a set of restaurants, one of which was my much sought after Cheesecake Factory. Two things must be pointed out at this point: 1) I was only guessing that this was the Cheesecake factory they were at and 2) I have never actually had a piece, or even a bite, of cheesecake. I would assume it is a piece of cake with cheese.
Once I arrived at the establishment, I entered into the seating area and spotted two men texting at the bar. As I drew closer, it was clear to me that the two people at the bar were the two people who had asked their twitter followers to find them. I politely tapped on Mr. Iguodala’s shoulder and said “You’re number nine and he’s number twenty-two.” Both guys laughed and turned around to shake my hand. I had won the challenge. Technically, that meant I won a piece of cheesecake, but I was more than thrilled just to meet two NBA players during their regular lives instead of during practice (like I did earlier today) or after a game. They told me to take a seat, so I showed them my website and told them why I am here, which is to cover their practices with Team USA. They were surprised when I told them where I had come from and a little more shocked when I said I was just 16. Iguodala and Gay were nice enough to offer me anything I wanted from the menu, but since I had just eaten, I chose to take the prize, a regular piece of cheesecake, that I had “earned” to take back to my room and give to my mother.
In a few minutes, their own food came, and I didn’t want to interupt too much of their meal. I thanked them again for purchasing the cheesecake, my first real-life experience with a tab after having Peter Griffin’s tab at Mort’s Pharmacy be my only example of such to this point, and shook their hands once again.
If there was anything negative from this experience, it would be the picture I got. I asked the guys for a quick picture, but instead of a glossy photo that had halos above their heads, I got this:
Luckily, I might have a chance tomorrow night at the Team USA Showcase to get a clear picture of us three.
All-in-all, I would not trade the experience for anything. From running a mile or two to meet with them to having a seemingly unlimited pocketbook for 30 seconds – well, I could have gotten a steak instead of a cheesecake – it was quite an exciting night. This of course is without mentioning the fun I had at practice earlier today.