So it's the last Pistons game ever at the Palace of Auburn Hills and we have a private luxury suite courtesy of the powers-that-be in the booze industry. There are people lining up outside, reflecting in the moment, collecting T-shirts, taking memorial photos, and basking in the last vestiges of a bygone era in Detroit. Me? I'm merely an outsider, having a few Lot 40 cocktails, eating the limited hot plate courses, and taking in the season's final match-up between Detroit and Washington. That is until I met Nakita Hogue who was standing in the hallway next to our suite while her family sat along the row in front of us. Apparently there wasn't enough space for them all to sit together, so she decided to buy a separate ticket, but stand next to the row in order to be near them. After questioning her about her situation and talking casually for a few minutes, I convinced her to join our suite party and sit behind her family comfortably. After completely falling for Niki and her husband Tim, along with their kids, I invited the whole family to come join us in the suite. Free food and free booze for everyone!!!!!
After a few glasses of liquid courage, I convinced Niki's son to bring his commemorative basketball over to the neighboring suite where Isiah Thomas and Chauncey Billups were giving an interview on live TV to commemorate the final game at the Palace. Emboldened by liquor and a sense of foreign impropriety, I stormed the suite, acted like I was part of the entourage, moved past the bodyguards, and got a few autographs for Niki's basketball. From that point on, I could do no wrong. Nor could they. I sincerely enjoyed my time last night in Detroit, surrounded by the city's finest and most loyal NBA fans. I got a real sense of what the city is about and how generous its citizens can be. Thanks to the Hogue family for showing me an authentic night on the town. It was nice to get real in Detroit.