Thanks to a last minute tip from my friend Josh I decided to check out the 8th Annual Watson Celebrity Basketball Game hosted by Floyd "Money" Mayweather. The game was held at Westchester High School and also featured Adrien "The Problem" Broner and Danny "Swift" Garcia. Admission to the event was $10 or you bring in a toy for their toy drive which made admission free. The game was scheduled to take place at 4pm but it didn't start until 5pm. I went there with the hopes of getting Floyd Mayweather's autograph for the first time along with Adrien Broner's autograph as well. Adrien is the next big thing in boxing and experts are projecting him to become the next Floyd so I really wanted to get his autograph before he becomes a household name.
I arrived at Westchester High School at about 2pm which was about an hour before they let you inside the gym. Surprisingly there was already a large group of about 25 fans waiting outside of the gym to get inside. Every fan waiting there had gloves and photos which meant everyone was there to graph Floyd. This also meant heavy competition. Since Floyd announced the event on his twitter page the event was well publicized so a lot of fans came out to watch Floyd play basketball. Normally I like to go to these events early to check out the area and also to see if I could get autographs of players coming in prior to the game.
There wasn't much action going on pregame so I decided to walk into the gym when the gates opened. It was also cold and rainy outside so I was happy to be inside the gym.
By the time the game started the entire gym was filled. I'd say there were at least 500 people inside and half of them being graphers. I knew this day was going to be tough. Everyone had a duffel bag full of gloves and photos so I expected the worst. What made matters worse was that we were just sitting inside the gym until 5pm. The game started an hour late as expected since these charity games never start on time. My buddy Larry and I were getting really annoyed by that.
There actually weren't that many celebrities that I recognized at the game. Most of the so called "celebrities" were actually music and move producers. The surprise guest was Sugar Shane Mosley who also played in the game and Olden Polynice who coached Floyd's team. The only singer I recognized who didn't play but showed up to watch the game was Brandy's brother Ray J who is now known more for his home videos with Kim Kardashian.
Do you see the mob surrounding Floyd in the picture above? Well that summed up the entire night. There was always four security guards that surrounded Floyd at all times. Floyd was really nice about signing but as soon as he started to sign the guards would cut everyone off.
I decided to change my game plan and go after Shane Mosley and Adrien Broner instead. I figured most fans would try to get Floyd all night and I didn't want to leave the event empty handed without an autograph. I really hate striking out. At halftime I decided to approach Sugar Shane for an autograph. Shane was nice enough to sign both pairs of gloves for me even though one of his handlers were telling him not to sign while he was in the middle of signing my gloves. I swear I hate mean handlers and even organizers. They ruin it for all the fans. I say if the athlete or celebrity wants to sign then let them sign for their fans and stop meddling in their business. Thanks Shane for ignoring your handler and signing these gloves for me.
I tried taking some photos of Floyd but they all came out blurry. There was too much chaos going on at this event. The last thing I was thinking about was taking more photos.
After the game chaos ensued as all of fans stormed the court and ended up mobbing Floyd Mayweather. Immediately his security guards were pushing people away as Floyd began to sign autographs. This was pretty much the most chaos i've ever dealt with when graphing as people were pushing and shoving each other. Miraculously Floyd ended up grabbing my glove and signed it for me. As he was handing it back he almost accidentally gave my glove away to another fan. I had to yell over the guards to let Floyd know that the glove was mine. It was flat out chaos. As soon as I got my glove back I stored it in my backpack.
Afterwards I noticed there was also a crowd forming around Adrien "The Problem" Broner. Luckily I was able to get him to sign both gloves for me and he was nice enough to inscribe "The Problem" on one of the gloves.
Overall it was a great day of graphing boxing even though the environment was chaotic. I want to thank Floyd Mayweather for hosting this event and also Shane Mosley and Adrien Broner for being so cool about signing for the fans.