As I prepare for NBA All Star weekend next month in New Orleans I find myself fondly looking back on some memories of previous years. Interestingly enough it’s not a basketball player but Flo Rida that’s the most prominent (and recurring) thought I carry with me.
For NBA photographers, All Star weekend is closer to four (or more) days of work than a weekend. The host city is transformed into a basketball wonderland of concerts, appearances, and all kinds of events and we’re there to capture it all (last year we shot over a terabyte of stills.) In addition to all the fun, the NBA works hard with many community foundations and charities. They do this all across the country year-round but (perhaps) mores during ASW. We capture that as well.
Back to Flo Rida… In 2012, another photographer and I were heading into Orlando’s Amway Center on game day when a couple of Bugatti’s made a
loud grand entrance at the parking garage. It was, yes, Flo Rida (in at least one car.) This was at a time when “Good Feeling” was getting very heavy play on the radio, at the arena, just everywhere. I loved the song on its own merit but also because it sampled the incomparable Etta James. In short, the song was constantly looping in my head then and even now when I hear it I’m immediately transported back to that (wonderful) exact time and place.
Fast forward to Houston in 2013. As I’m given my assignments on Thursday morning at NBAE headquarters I see that I’m assigned the big TNT party at the House of Blues Saturday night. Cool, I think, that’s going to be fun (Full disclosure: I think all my assignments are cool and fun: but I digress. ) Upon arrival at the venue that night there are rumors as to who’s performing but that all. I’m thinking how big a name could it be? After two warm up acts I find out. You guessed it, Flo Rida. I’m pretty ecstatic.
There isn’t much more to the story aside from the fact that he absolutely kills it. It was an amazing performance but I’d be remiss if to didn’t elaborate a bit more.
I’m an old school rap fan. By old school I mean Public Enemy and NWA etc. I’m (still) an avid Beastie Boys fan but in the late 80′ and early 90’s I could have existed off a diet solely of PE. With that said, now I’m a dad with a teenage (when did that happen?) son who’s into rap. At the risk of being a hypocrite I continue to withhold my complete music archive from him. I just can’t get comfortable sharing some of it. That’s where Flo Rida comes in. His performance was a high energy, fully engaging experience and at no point was there an “F” (or any other kind of) bomb. Nothing I wouldn’t want my kids to hear etc. As a rap fan AND a dad I say wow and thank you. In comedy they say that working “blue” is an artistic cop-up, cheating if you will. It’s too easy. It takes real talent to go without.
So to Flo Rida I say thank you for everything.