SUGA | Agust D TOUR 공연 개최#SUGA #AgustD #슈가 #SUGA_AgustD_TOUR pic.twitter.com/wbbMd3Ezzl
— BIGHIT MUSIC (@BIGHIT_MUSIC) February 14, 2023
I live in Los Angeles. For that reason, I am afforded more opportunities to see BTS than most fans. When you add in some luck, blood, sweat and tears, the chance to see BTS is real.
On January 12, 2023, I attended the Laker game where Min Yoongi sat courtside. I have survived and am here to tell my story.
How did I get a ticket? Getting the ticket was the easy part, just expensive even at face value. Figuring out which NBA game he might be attending, well, that was trickier.
Korean media reported that Suga would fly to Los Angeles for a GQ/Valentino shoot and would attend a Clipper game. Just on that report alone, ARMY purchased tickets. I held off. I wanted more proof.
Days later, Suga and the Lakers posted a photo of him with a Laker jersey on Instagram. Why would he do that? So confusing! (In hindsight, it seems very obvious.) Should I buy both Laker and Clipper tickets? Again, I held off. On January 12, I woke up to the NBA tweeting that Suga would be courtside at the Laker game that night. Immediately, at 7 a.m., I woke up my friend who had a set of tickets for me. I couldn’t give him my credit card fast enough!
I didn’t hear from him for five hours. Why is BTS ticketing always like this?
👉 https://t.co/Mcvg3ejZEA@BTS_twt @dallasmavs @Lakers #SUGA #BTS #NBARakuten pic.twitter.com/Vtv4yBIv73
— NBA Japan (@NBAJPN) January 12, 2023
Assuming the best, I hurriedly packed a small purse, binoculars; threw on my Laker shirt and went to work. Important things were forgotten! No headband! No picket! No “Yoongi Marry Me” sign. I will learn to regret this later.
The tickets finally came through. I invited my friend Peace who had also been hunting down tickets. Our seats were simply amazing. We are behind the backboard, on the same level as the court. Yoongi is seated across the court. I have a far away but direct view of him. The camera on my phone has 9x zoom.
Immediately entering the arena, I found two other ARMY. We know how to spot each other. One was in the much desired Jimin purple hoodie and the other in Suga’s green sheep sweater from the 2021 Holiday Collection Photobook. I love how ARMY immediately bond, chat like besties and help each other. One lent me her picket for a selfie. And I lent them my binoculars. One would end up going viral as she wildly waved her picket when she was shown on the Jumbotron.
The game started and I proceeded to sit across from Yoongi for almost three hours. As you can imagine, it was hard to focus on the game.
There were cameras on him the entire night, during breaks, during the Laker Girls dancing to Butter. (He clapped politely.) When they played Mic Drop between plays, I instinctively got up and started dancing. My body was like wooohooooo! Party party yeah! They put me on the Jumbotron! YOU GUYS: Yoongi is watching me dance (badly) to Mic Drop on the Jumbotron! For a few brief seconds, he knew I exist. Why didn’t I wear my headband or bring my PTD Yoongi picket?! So many regrets! I wanted him to know I was here for him. I’m told that I was on the big screen three times.
Yoongi is truly like a quiet, gently fierce cat. His gestures are small, shy, reserved. Tiny clapping; twinkly-eyed and genuine smiles. No gregariousness. No hype energy. He remained seated, composed. Only at the very end did he pull out his camera for video and stand up as the game ended in double overtime.
Being on the Jumbotron was already unexpected. I didn’t know that the universe would bless us with one more gift. Post-game, we moved our way to the court, not wanting to leave knowing he was still in the arena. As we were taking selfies, I turned around and noticed his manager/interpreter walking our way. I thought for sure he would leave through the tunnel near his seat. This was a complete surprise.
With my brain barely comprehending, I calmly said, “he’s coming our way.” I switched my camera to video and as he walked by us, I screamed, “SUUUGGGAAAAAAAH WE LOVE YOU!” like a deranged animal. Ugh, why couldn’t I be more classy and poised?
He looked at us and he waved.
I will tell you that the moment a member of BTS responds to you, it feels like magic. He heard me. He waved to us.
These few seconds of interaction were a fleeting, surreal dream: deeply satisfying, exciting, fantasy-come-true moment. I will never forget it. Did it actually happen?
I have been really, very blessed when it comes to BTS. This is not even my first Laker game with Yoongi. In 2020, Yoongi attended the Kobe Bryant Memorial game with Max. I was at that game. I’ve attended their PTD Concerts, the American Music Awards in 2021, and I waited all day in the heat at Hobipalooza.
This encounter felt different and more intimate. A few of us ARMY got a small glimpse of Min Yoongi just enjoying a basketball game, drinking a beer, being himself as much as he could be with all the cameras and security around him. For a moment, I could imagine that it was just all of us enjoying a game. And truly, I hope being courtside was a dream come true for Yoongi who loves basketball so much.