Monday was a dreary day with rain off an on throughout the day. As a result, the Wizards made the decision to call off the pep rally which was originally scheduled to get started at 10 PM. Given that inclement weather and the beltway don't mix, one would expect that the crowd at the Wizards Midnight Tip-Off would be smaller than expected.
I wanted to play it safe, and so I decided to get out there about 9:40. Once I parked my car at the Patriot Center, I noticed the line was already beginning to form... at 9:40 PM. Waiting on line was an interesting experience, it was clear that most on-line, at least in immediate earshot, were serious Wizards and/or NBA fans. Conversations ranged from Andray Blatche's new agreement, to overpaid/undeserving big men - the consensus was Amir Johnson, to the Wizards soon-to-be new uniform colors, to JaVale McGee's additional muscle and USA Basketball experience... I think you get the picture. As we waited in line for nearly a hour, people excitedly discussed basketball.
With the line beginning to wrap around the building, the Wizards graciously opened the doors at approximately 10:40. And with that, the line began to break down and a mad dash was made for the door. The nights events were just about to get underway.
If you were unable to attend the event or watch on NBA TV, then this post is for you. Below you will find some video clips to give you a taste of the event. I hope you enjoy.
Big Tigger entertaining the crowd before the action gets started.
Many familiar faces make their first appearance in this clip, including Ernie Grunfeld, Tom Izzo and Jim Larranaga.
Brief crowd shot and GMan warming up the crowd.
Brief crowd shot and Mambo Sauce entertaining the crowd.
Another video of Mambo Sauce entertaining the crowd.
Wizards warm up to Welcome to DC by Mambo Sauce.
Player introductions by new voice of the Wizards, Ralph Wesley.
Wizards continue to warm up: Layup line.
Wizards scrimmage - Gilbert Arenas and John Wall on opposite teams.
Additional scrimmage footage.
Wizards sales staff went through the crowd giving free tickets to the loudest fans. Well the self proclaimed, "Jimmy the Greek from across the creek" had been loud nearly the entire night and when the guy from the sales staff came through he began to campaign loudly for tickets. In fact, others in the section began to campaign for him - to get him to sit down.
"Jimmy the Greek from across the creek" speaks with Ted Leonsis as he waits for his interview with CSN's Chris Miller.
At the end of the event, the Wizards players and coaches show their appreciation to the fans.