Like any basketball fan, I couldn’t see myself going to Los Angeles without seeing a Lakers game. During our stay, we went to two games: one against the Spurs and one against the Nuggets.
Here are some photos and tips for seeing a basketball game in Los Angeles.
NBA teams in Los Angeles
Before going further, I want to remind you that there are two NBA franchises in Los Angeles: the famous Lakers and the Clippers.
The latter are less famous and most French people who don’t follow American basketball don’t know them. However, if during your stay in the United States, there is only the Clippers playing at home, I strongly recommend attending to their games. Besides, for the last few years, they have a great team.
Both teams play in the same arena.
How to book your Lakers tickets?
To buy your Lakers tickets, go to the NBA website and then go to Lakers tickets. There are two types of tickets available:
- Classic tickets
- The tickets for resale via the “Lakers Ticket Exchange”.
This is the official resale platform. By buying them on it, you are sure to have authentic tickets, unlike when you buy them on other resale ticket websites.
For the Spurs game, I had to buy on the resale platform because all the tickets initially proposed were sold.
For the Nuggets game, there were still “first sales” tickets available.
Your Lakers tickets available on the app
You no longer receive your printed tickets like you did ten years ago. Lakers tickets are available on “The Official Lakers Mobile App”. It is free and available on Google Play and App Store.
You open your tickets on this app, show them at the entrance. The staff scan them and let you through.
How much do Lakers tickets cost?
Many factors affect the price of Lakers tickets: the skills of the Lakers over the season, the presence of stars in the team, the opponent, the stakes, the time of year…
The cheapest tickets can be found for a few tens of dollars, while a “courtside” seat, right next to the court and in the star-studded line-up, costs more than a thousand dollars.
To give you a better idea, I bought our tickets in October, which was at the beginning of the season and Lebron James had just arrived, so demand was high.
For the game against the San Antonio Spurs, we were at the end of the side stand and in the sixth row. So, we can say we had great tickets. We paid about $400/seat.
For the Denver Nuggets, we were behind the panels halfway up the grandstand. We paid about $150/seat.
For a playoff game, the prices are much higher and you can multiply them by three at least.
The price of tickets for the Lakers is obviously very high for someone who is used to seeing European games. But, if like me, you go to the Parc des Princes for PSG games (soccer team in Paris), the prices are similar…
Where is the Lakers’ arena in Los Angeles?
The Lakers arena has recently changed its name. When I went to the games, the name was still Staples Center. Now it is Crypto.com Arena.
The arena has 20,000 seats and is on South Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. It is close to the Walt Disney Concert Hall and Dodgers Stadium.
Is it easy to park next to the arena?
While cities in the United States are more pleasant for drivers than the big ones in Europe, the Lakers’ arena is not in the best location for parking. However, there are paid parking lots in the vicinity.
To be safe, we took an Uber. There was not a lot of people in the streets before the game and the Americans return quickly at home after the game. So it’s easy to take a cab and get dropped off right next to the arena.
How long before the game?
It all depends on your schedule. If it is tight, you can arrive 30 minutes before the game. Entry to American arenas and stadiums is seamless. In a few minutes, you can pass through ticket control, security and go to your seat.
But, if you have time, get there early. There is entertainment around the arena and you may run into former Lakers stars. For the Spurs game, there was even a live radio broadcast just before the game and basketball workshops open to all with prizes to be won.
What souvenirs did you bring back from the Lakers’ game?
We brought back pictures and memories. But there are also several stores around the arena that sell Lakers jerseys, hats and other apparel and goodies. If you arrive at the arena early, do your shopping beforehand. There is no point in rushing to get in a line because as I wrote before, the entrance to the arena, once the doors are open, is very fast.
My Review about the show and the Lakers’ arena
The entrance to the hall
There are several entrances. You choose the one in front of the stand you will be sitting in.
There is no stress when we entered, contrary to some episodes experienced in French soccer stadiums. People are calm, many employees are there and you don’t wait much.
You should know that your bag is checked and you go through a metal detector, but American spectators are smarter than European soccer fans, so only few things are forbidden.
You can have your backpack and even bring your camera. The security will not forbid you to bring your camera because no spectator in the United States has the stupid idea to throw it on the players…
The Lakers pregame
The pregame, to our surprise, was less fun than what we saw during the NHL games in Las Vegas. The main thing is to watch the players warm up and if you are not a big basketball fan, to spot the stars in the stands.
They are present in the front row and are rarely discreet. We were able to see the boxer Mayweather, the UFC fighter Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and the next day, social networks told us that Jack Nicholson and some other famous actors were also in the stands.
Great pleasure for me, I could also see the immense Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Shaquille O’Neal and the late Kobe Bryant.
The catering during the game
You have the choice! Several restaurants are in the hallways. Popcorn, pizza, fries, peanuts… The Americans are true to their reputation. They like to eat (a lot).
The prices are obviously high. I don’t remember the exact price, but we had to pay 30/40$ for two drinks, two sweet snacks. We bought cheaper snacks in Vegas (Golden Knights and Raiders games)
The Lakers game
I’m not going to give a summary of the games because it wouldn’t be interesting. But we were lucky enough to see a crazy first game against the Spurs (two overtime) and a great win against the Nuggets.
The level of play is exceptional. If you are used to watching NBA on TV, the games confirm the power, speed and skill of the players. Lebron James is indeed a huge, dexterous buffalo, while DeMar DeRozan goes up for layups with crazy ease.
With Amelie, we see a lot of first-division games in Orleans and between our French league and the NBA, it’s a monstrous gap.
The many breaks during the game (so that the TV can show commercials and more commercials…) are not annoying. The speaker, cheerleaders and organized games avoid boredom. Even better, you smile, when the big screen above the court, films the worst dancers.
One thing you should know: a sports game is a party in the United States. Many spectators are crazy.
And if you come with your opponent’s jersey on, you’re safe. The people in the stands will respect your support and will not insult you. At worst, you might get a few jokes. This seems normal, but do the same in some French soccer stadiums and you will quickly regret it…
Is it possible to approach the players?
If you arrive early at the venue, you can get down during the warm-up at the lowest level of the stands. So, if you are in the tenth row, it is possible to go to the first row if you do not disturb the people present. But if you are in an upper section, you can go to a lower section.
You can hope for an interaction from a player such as a hand gesture when they return to the locker room.
After the game, players talk to each other a bit, but quickly return to the locker room. So don’t expect pictures with them or an autograph. It’s not in their mindset.
If this is your dream, look for ways to approach them as they enter and exit the arena, either by arriving long before or waiting until after the game.
Security around the Lakers’ arena
Not all areas of major cities in the United States are safe. However, the Crypto.com Arena is in a “business” neighborhood. As a result, the streets are uncrowded and there are few, if any, security concerns.