On Saturday night the Texas Legends, the D-League affiliate of the Dallas Mavericks, hosted their season opener vs. the Maine Red Claws, the Boston Celtics affiliate. Despite a Legends opening night record 49 points from Manny Harris, Maine defeated Texas 137-131.
Opening night not only means the players get back to work, but the lights in Dr. Pepper Arena are once again shining on a Texas Legends gameday. Basketball may be the main course, but there’s family friendly entertainment everywhere around you.
The Legends sported customized jerseys to acknowledge the Pizza Hut BOOK IT! Program. The organization and the game celebrated the end of National Young Readers Week and spotlight Pizza Hut’s efforts to support literacy and reading, as well as the efforts of local students and teachers across North Texas.
Pizza Hut, whose headquarters are stationed in neighbor Plano, provided free tickets for area students and families who attended the game.
On the concourse there are a variety of interactive stands. Presented by Raytheon, I found a fan favorite to be the life-size player cutouts and player measurement stations. Fans could compare their wingspan, handprint, shoe size, and vertical to current and former NBA players like Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, Devin Harris and Legends President of Basketball Operations Spud Webb.
The Avigilon Club was full of hungry, sociable fans treated to a five star meal. Facing the court are platinum suites with luxurious lounger seats, putting you at the comfort of your own home to watch live basketball from a perfect vantage point.
Even if you didn’t have the upgraded suites, concessions were aplenty with tasty offerings like Jet’s Pizza and Dippin’ Dots. Perhaps you were in the mood for a life-size game of tic tac toe? Totally exists.
Court level is where things really ramp up. At one end of the court, you see what resembles a section at an amusement park, remind yourself of where you are and then finally realize yeah, that totally exists too. A rock climbing wall is arguably the main attraction, complimented by carnival games and adjacent to the wall is a gigantic slide.
Acting as the banner for this happening section is the Texas Legends gift shop.
The gift shop has some new items, including a Satnam Singh t-shirt that reads, “It’s Not Over Till Satnam Sings!” Also, you must get your infant a tiny Singh jersey. Dressing your little girl or boy in a jersey of a 7 foot 2 behemoth who wears a size 20 shoe is simply too cute to pass up.
Across the way from all of the happenings on this end is a free-for-all play zone for young children. It’s a perfect way for the kids to have a great experience, hang with friends and meet new ones. Parents surely won’t complain when their youngsters are worn out on the ride home.
In this area’s first few rows of seating, the Gene Pike Middle School band was stationed. Prior to the game, members of the 7th and 8th grade from the Justin, Texas school performed “God Bless America.”
Gameday entertainment extends to every corner, every single crevice of Dr. Pepper Arena is either filled with professional basketball players, team personnel or Legends fans enjoying the game or something else but most certainly themselves.
A part of the festivities are the “Legends Frat Boys.” Call them your Legends version of the Dallas Mavericks’ Mavs ManiAACs. The all-male dance crew and fan favorites have become a community staple in the metroplex and inspired the Frat Boys into existence.
Six year vet and the leader of the group is “Preach,” who tells me they have upgraded to seven Boys this season, including their first female member. Preach dons a curly blue wig and wears a painted Legends logo on his face.
I asked him what he loves about providing the form of entertainment, to which he says “fun” before I can even finish my sentence.
Super Daryl acts as a right in command to Preach and says through a big smile how much he loves coming to the Legends games.
“It’s a lot of fun!” Daryl says behind his superhero eyewear. “It’s great to pump up the crowd and feed off their energy.”
Super Daryl wears an ‘L’ on his cape and had been considering the name “Mister Legendary.” Personally, I’m a fan of Super Daryl but this is a development to watch as the season continues.
The Legends continue their season next Saturday, November 19th in Chicago vs. the brand new Windy City Bulls, D-League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls, in the team’s first ever matchup.
Texas returns home on Saturday, November 26th, to face Salt Lake City Stars, affiliate of the Utah Jazz.