I’ve never been more disappointed in a multi-billion dollar franchise. All that money and you can’t even hook a brotha up with some snacks? No open bar, no refreshments, no nothing. Where did my $80 go for this networking event? To the Clippers staffs’ bonus? Are you telling me I paid people to hang around long enough so I can get their name and business card? Oh what a time to be alive! You might as well fucking rob me at gun point with a Chris Paul mask and a Clippers foam finger. I suppose I shouldn’t be so salty considering the “complementary” nosebleed seats I was graciously given as a token of gratitude. The only thing I’m grateful for was the amount of female attention I got tonight. Ya boy was fly (No lieeee).
As you all may have deduced, I attended a Clippers sponsored shindig complete with professionals that were employed by the organization. Positions ranging from I-don’t-give-a-shit to PR and marketing. The latter was the only reason I decided to show my mug in the first place. And it wasn’t just the Clippers. Professionals and representatives from the Rams, Lakers, Chargers, LA Galaxy, and other non-important sports related folks were there. It was actually a nice mix of talent…if you have a hard-on for sales. Which clearly was the theme of the night because five out of the 6 panel guests kept vomiting the same line. “In sports, anything you do is sales.” Yes, yes I didn’t hear the other four people and the keynote speaker (my golden goose) harp on that for five minutes. Could you repeat that?
I have nothing against sales and they’re not wrong. Sports, on the corporate side, is about getting butts in seats and generating brand loyalty. Obviously. Maybe I’m just in the wrong crowd. Spectator sports has never appealed to me in any capacity. I rather be out there playing the sport than watching the best in the business. But I did meet some pretty cool (and attractive) people. For that I can’t be too mad. I ended up meeting a Latin dude that was a programmer looking for a little something something in the way of employment like me. Apparently he attended the same event a year ago and mentioned some helpful tips. He sure as shit didn’t mention the lack of food. Allegedly they had food last year. Somebody scammed us all this time around.
I’m pretty quiet. I’m not the life of the party nor will I ever be, but when I have to channel my father’s gift of gab people notice. So I was a whore of legend and shameless at that. I did spy a young guy, couldn’t have been more than 18 years old, kind of standing around looking like a lost lamb. We exchange pleasantries and he immediately asks me if I’ve done a similar networking event before. I say yeah and tell him not to be so nervous. And before I step away, I tell him to follow me. Mainly because he looked like Tom Holland’s stunt double and I can’t leave Spidey hanging like that. So we duo and I work each professional crowd, casually inserting my Great Value Tom Holland into the conversations. After a couple rounds he says he feels confident enough to do it himself. They grow up so fast. He’ll be making out with a black Gwen Stacy sooner than later. Maybe later if that acne doesn’t clear up. Sistas ain’t with the pizza face action (sorry ghetto Tom!).
It certainly didn’t help that the host thought it would be awesome to release all the professionals into the wild without introducing them and their title. This asshat needed to lay off the Hunger Games fan-ficition. And of course they all walk the same goddamn way. So I’m standing here watching everyone beeline to cut some of them off. While the rabble were fighting for attention, I picked off the lone business folk. After about 20 minutes of working various crowds and spitting game to particularly scrumptious handful of female guests (I’m lying my ass off), I still hadn’t found my golden goose of marketing. I was getting discouraged.
I slipped away from an obnoxious white woman that was trying way too hard to be relevant. Just overly animated and laughing loudly at non-jokes. Turns out she was selling hotel products for a job she just got. Rules were made to be broken I suppose. I run into my Latin homeboy again and air my grievances about the lack of opportunity for me. He tells me that generic white dude #45 knows everyone that’s important. Sweet, so fucking descriptive bro. I walk over to a group that fits the bill only to get cockblocked by the host who takes it upon himself to have a useless conversation with me. Mind you, we barely got 30 minutes to actually talk to these people. I didn’t have a minute to lose. I throw this random guy under the bus by introducing him to Mr. Asshat and sneak away. And of course as soon as I get to white guy 45 the mingling is ended and the red-shirt mafia tell me to go back to the common area. Son of a bitch.
Defeated once more, I’m sulking in the cold in a crowd of other cold people and it’s just stupid. The Q&A panel starts up and guess what? My golden goose contact kicks it off with a 7 minute speech, only to walk off and never to be seen again. I was beyond livid. And Mr. Asshat is the only one asking questions on this panel. Asinine ones at that. So we all suffer through another 30 minutes of spiels and anecdotes about life in the sports industry which were very insightful, I’ll concede that. But it all felt like a farce because they were all essentially regurgitating the same points. “You gotta take risk.” “Break the rules, have fun.” “Be humble, take it up the butt if you have to.” I mean come on.
The only highlight of this panel was the surprise appearance of Marcellus Wiley from ESPN’s “Afternoons with Marcellus and Kelvin.” His speech was very motivational and so candid. My favorite quote of the night was “Yeah you gotta formulate your own brand. When I first started doing the show I was essentially told that I had to speak like Tom Brokaw from the Nightly News. I said ‘Hell naw, that’s not gonna work!’ So I found my voice and my brand and it’s been working out great so far.” Wiley’s not wrong. Some industries and some people will do their damnedest to get you to conform to what they perceive to be a normal selling point. Much respect to him for forging his own path at a great risk to his career and livelihood in show business. Ironically, a true lesson to be internalized in the face of that networking event’s mantra of “sales, sales, sales.”
I definitely tried to get some face time with Marcellus because he might have need of my skills and services, but of course another red-shirt clown stops me and says Marcellus has somewhere else to be and can’t field questions. I ask him if he’s his agent, then slip past this clown to hand Marcellus my card. Before I could start my 30 second pitch, Mr. Clown tries to butt it. The next thing that happened…I can’t make this shit up. So Marcellus looks at me, smirks and then looks at Mr. Clown. Keep in mind dude is like 6′ 4″ 275lbs towering over this red-shirt midget essentially. With an open palm, Marcellus scoops this guy to the side and waves me closer so he can hear me (I talk really low). So we shoot the shit for a little bit, shake hands, and he takes my card. He said I might be hearing from him in the next couple weeks. Whether or not it happens is irrelevant. I got face time with biggest deal there.Somebody is gonna contact me, Marcellus or not.
I’m not even going to recount the Clippers game because I stayed for one and a half quarters. Between looking at this lady watch the game through binoculars and the angry Cantonese conversation behind me, I was over the whole “watch the Clippers from the roof” experience. Also I really need people to know how to read. I have nothing against foreigners and immigrants, but holy shit please learn basic English. I don’t need to be nagged on a flight of 45 degree angled stairs about where your shitty nosebleed seats are. I don’t care. This shit is scary enough in dress shoes. Didn’t even give us vouchers for food, what kind of bullshit is that? I can’t ingest the novelty of the nosebleed experience. I believe I made an impact though, golden goose or not. I may be the worst copywriter and PR specialist they’ve heard of tonight, but goddamnit they’ve heard of me.