Hey yardbarkers, how's everyone doing? Last week was a crazy week for me. I was only in LA for five days, but so much happened each day and I just had to share all the crazy stories with all of you. This off-season, I went to a lot of wonderful places all over the country and world - Brazil, the Dominican Republic, NY, Phoenix, Vegas... It's safe to say, though, that of all these trips, my week in LA for the ESPYs was one of my favorites. Before last week, I had only been there once for the BET awards, but my schedule was so tight on that trip that I didn't really get to experience the city. So this time I set out with two goals in mind: work out and enjoy everything that LA has to offer.
During the first couple days I spent some time working out at the Home Depot Center, which is the home of the LA Galaxy soccer team. When I first got there, I didn't put two and two together that since it's the Galaxy stadium, this was where David Beckham plays. When I got there, I saw this guy standing and talking to one of my trainers. We casually said "hi" to each other, and as I walked away I kept thinking to myself that he looked familiar, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Eventually, I figured it out and confirmed with one of the other guys that it really was Beckham. He was shorter than I thought he'd be, but seeing him was a cool way to kick off my week.
There were also quite a few NFL stars there that I got to work out with and talk to. Reggie Bush and I hung out and talked a little trash. He's real laid back, and we ended up joking around a lot together. Someone else that I really enjoyed meeting was TJ Houshmandzadeh. I used to play for the Ravens, so TJ wasn't exactly a favorite person of mine. Up until last week, the picture I had in my mind of him was on the field with Chad Johnson, talking serious trash to our guys like Ed Reed and Ray Lewis. Because of that, I had always thought that he was a very ill-tempered guy, but when I got to meet him with his helmet off, he turned out to be one of the nicest guys I've ever met.
After the workouts on my first day, I was really excited because I had been invited to a party at the Playboy Mansion that night. There was a lot of confusion involved in actually getting there, though. I was supposed to go to UCLA, where there was a shuttle that would take us to the Mansion. Of course, the GPS system broke in the Sebring I'd rented (yes, a Sebring - that's what happens when you're in a rush at the rental place.) With no GPS and this being my second time in LA, I had no clue how to get to the campus. I was calling friends and asking random people on the side of the road at every stoplight, trying to get directions and make it there on time. Luckily, I did. The focus of the evening was a charity poker tournament, so it wasn't one of those big official Playboy parties, and there aren't any crazy stories to tell. I did have a great time, though. It's a huge mansion, and I ran into anybody and everybody. One of the more interesting parts of the party was the waitresses, who were completely naked aside from the paint that covered their bodies. Pretty much the kind of thing you would expect at Hef's house. The Girls Next Door ladies also came down for a bit just to make an appearance. All-in-all, it was a great night, and I can finally say I fulfilled every teenage boy's dream by going there.
The next day I worked out again, then in the evening I went on a date to a pretty well-known sushi place called Nobu. This ended up being a very "LA" experience for me. There were tons of celebrities in the restaurant. I recognized all kinds of people from TV shows and movies that I'd seen, and I got really excited and a little star-struck. It was difficult to play it cool and act like I was used to this sort of thing. You can't embarrass yourself by acting like too much of a fan in those situations. Another thing about this place that was very different from anything you see in Atlanta was the paparazzi standing outside. This was my first experience with them, and I was genuinely curious. I asked one of the guys if he was really on the clock while he was just standing there holding his camera, and he told me that yes, he was being paid for waiting around. I can't believe that's actually their job! The photographers weren't exactly interested in me, which is just fine because I really don't need all those flashing cameras in my face. But when Lebron James walked out, the light bulbs started flashing and everybody was yelling out questions. It was a crazy thing to see.
The next day (Wednesday) was when the ESPYs were filmed, and it was even more hectic and exciting than the other two days. Stay tuned - I'll be writing about and sharing video of my day as Yardbarker's red carpet correspondent very soon!