When a Cleveland sports team needs a kid in its starting lineup, who better to turn to than Alan? He did it with the Indians in 2017, and he’s now done it with the Cavaliers in 2018!
I had registered Alan for the drawing to be in the Kids Starting Lineup for a playoff road game Watch Party at the Q prior to the start of the playoffs. As part of the application, I had to write a few paragraphs as to why Alan would be a great selection.
As the playoffs wore on, I had actually forgotten about this completely – until I was contacted by the Cavaliers via email following the season-extended Game 7 win over Boston. As if we needed more reason to be thrilled about the Cavaliers’ victory, this certainly provided another reason to celebrate. If I had to pick any Watch Party for Alan to participate in, Game 2 of the Finals was what I’d immediate choose. It was great timing (on a weekend) AND Alan would get to run out before a near-sell-out crowd.
Coincidentally, I had already purchased four tickets for the Game 2 Watch Party before knowing Alan would be a part of the festivities. Shane and I have gone to the Game 2 Watch Party all four years of the Cavaliers’ NBA Finals streak, so I knew we’d use two of the tickets. It worked well that Alan and Veronica could take the other two.
We arrived at the Q just before 7PM, about an hour before tip-off. We met a Cavaliers rep at the bottom of section 126 by the scorer’s table. They put us in one of the floor boxes while we waited.
Note: I later realized that we appeared over Jeff Phelps’ shoulder througout the Cavaliers pregame show on Fox Sports Ohio. I caught that after watching the tape later that night.
After all five kids arrived, they called the kids out to the court to practice around 7:30PM.
At this time, I didn’t know which player would be Alan’s assignment. But while Alan was out there, I saw Alan was third in the order, which meant Tristan Thompson. I also happened to catch a Tristan graphic up on the Humongotron.
After practicing, Alan returned to the floor box and confirmed he was Tristan Thompson. Just before 8PM, the kids were called back into position in the corner of the floor, where they watched Sir CC and Whammer (An unexpected 90s throwback!) attempt backwards, half-court shots. Whammer actually sunk one.
Note: The next day the Cavaliers posted a video of Whammer on social media, and I was briefly shown behind Whammer, taking pictures of Alan. That’s a sentence I never thought I’d type — especially considering that Whammer hasn’t been around for 20 years!
As the kids got ready to go, parents were allowed to step onto the court just to the right of the scorer’s table. Veronica, Shane, and I got into position with our cameras ready to go. The Cavaliers in-game entertainment team went through the usual run-up to introductions, which included, among other things, Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight and of course the national anthem. Soon after, the lights went off, the Cavaliers Finals video played, and the PA announcer Sean Peebles went to work announcing the lineup. Alan excitedly ran out through a lane of mascots!!
It was awesome being on the court for the first time and getting to watch Alan enjoy himself in the spotlight.
After all five players were announced, Alan huddled up with kids and mascots alike (photo taken by the Cavaliers). Later I asked Alan what was said in the huddle, and he responded with “Go Cavaliers!”
After all the excitement, we went up to the Wine & Gold United members section at the Huntington Club Level. The adults got some free food set aside for WGU members. Alan opted for a soft pretzel and popcorn. Alan stayed to watch the game until halftime, and then left for home with Veronica, as it was getting late.
Here is the on-court video of Alan!:
6/9/18 Update: Alan received a voucher for a free Cavaliers jersey for participating in the Kids Starting Lineup. Today I cashed it in for a Nike swingman LeBron jersey!