Archives For Golden State Warriors

I love how the weekend after I visited Toronto, Drake just drops two songs out of nowhere!

Anyways, I was listening to his album “More Life” as my plane made the descent in to Pearson International Airport. After a quick trip through Customs and to the Uber pick-up area, I hopped in an “Uber Select” (nicer than X but not as nice as Black) and headed 20 minutes towards downtown.

I was in Toronto last weekend because of my cousin Shawn. He’s a shooting guard on amateur basketball team called Healthy Buffalo and a couple times throughout the season they play on a NBA court, typically Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland or Air Canada Centre in Toronto. When I was home for Thanksgiving, Shawn and his older brother Chris told me about the Canada date and asked if I was interested in attending. I booked my flight a few weeks later.

Thanks to my plane taxiing on the runway for an hour, Chris (along with his wife, sister-and-law and two kids) and Shawn beat me to the hotel. I met them there, dropped off my bags and we left for the ACC. It was certainly different watching basketball in a nearly-empty, half-lit arena, not to mention it was my first time in this particular venue. Still, it was awesome to see Shawn ballin’ on the same court where later in the evening the Raptors would be taking on Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors.

Shawn played great and his team won the round-robin tournament.

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After a late lunch and a quick nap, the three men headed back to the arena for the game. Chris and Shawn had 100 level seats; I was late to the party so I ended up with a seat in 317 that I sat in for player introductions and the first quarter. I spent the rest of the evening in an area called the Draught Deck – full bar, tons of seating and multiple TVs to watch both the game on the court and other sports (Patriots/Titans were on as well).

Oh, then there was the Coors Light virtual reality game that I figured it was necessary to partake in.

Golden State edged out Toronto, I almost drank the arena out of Crown and the three of us headed across the street to this fantastic sports bar called Real Sports. More Crown (for me at least), some appetizers and a check later and we retired to the hotel room.

Rather, Chris and Shawn retired. I had made arrangements to check out Soho House Toronto and I didn’t want to flake on that. Obviously what happens there isn’t for public consumption but I had a great time. The nightcap to the nightcap took place at Cactus Club Café before I wrapped the night in the fashion that every great Canadian night should end.

Poutine, of course.

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Sunday I drove with my family home to see the parents, get one last taste of my Mom’s homecooking and grab a few things I left over the holidays. I flew back early Monday morning, knowingly dreaming of that poutine and unknowingly awaiting new music from Drake.

Back in February, while talking about baseball, Train lead singer Pat Monahan told me he was done singing the National Anthem at sporting events because of how stressful it is.

You could imagine my surprise when I saw Monahan on national television belting out the anthem, a cappella, before Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as nervous as that one, and I sang at the AFC Championship game two years ago in New England,” Monahan said after I played him the clip of us speaking earlier this year. “That was stressful, but nothing like Game 1 in Oakland.

The singer explained why the moment is filled with so much pressure.

“There’s a thing that happens, up until, ‘and the rockets’ red glare,’ all the way up until then, there’s a vast chance of you forgetting all of the words that would just disappear,” he said. “I don’t know why, but I’m so scared for that 48 seconds that it takes years off of my life.”

Monahan agreed to sing the anthem at the urging of his manager. With connections in the Bay Area along with Seattle and Western Pennsylvania, the front man has a number of rooting interests in sports, including the Golden State Warriors.

When I caught up with Pat, it was in a much-more relaxed setting. He and I chatted backstage before the band headlined Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut. Our interview was for Mohegan Sun’s Facebook page and broadcasted live on it as we talked in Monahan’s dressing room.

“There are songs that we play every night that I had no idea that they would get the reaction that they’re getting,” the lead singer told me. “There’s a song called “Working Girl” and it goes pretty bananas out there every night.”

Monahan is mixing in the newest from the band’s “A Girl, a Bottle, a Boat” with the classics as well; one in the latter category is his favorite to perform every night.

“’Drops of Jupiter’ will always be the song that has heart for me,” he said in response to a fan question about his favorites on the set list. “Play That Song,” Train’s lead single from its latest LP, also received an honorable mention.

As far as other set list specifics, the band switches out two songs every night. They also pay tribute to Chris Cornell and Gregg Allman, neither of whom had passed away before the “Play That Song Tour” commenced.

The tour, which features support from Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R., runs through mid-July before Train takes off for the “Fuji Rock Festival” in Niigata, Japan.

The world is still mourning the loss of Prince, who passed away at just 57 years old. Many of his fans would describe “The Purple One” as legendary or iconic. But supermodel Damaris Lewis came to know the “When Doves Cry” singer as a regular person, “just like you and me.”

“I think Prince has done an amazing job at building an immense amount of respectability around his career,” Lewis replied when I asked what it was like to be out in public with the superstar. Earlier this month, the model joined my show to chat about some of her charity work; this past March Lewis and Prince sat courtside at a Warriors/Thunder NBA game in California. “He says hello and does what he has to do but at the end of the day, people really respect his space.”
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As far as any hang time with Kevin Durant or Stephen Curry, Lewis said that didn’t happen because they arrived to their seats just after the tip-off and left right at halftime.

“We are really big basketball fans,” she told me, just weeks before the singer’s demise. “I’ve been his dancer/muse since 2012; really good friend and we watch basketball. That day, we just went to the game.”

Prince played Oracle Arena, home to the defending NBA Champions, the following evening.

Lewis, who first met the “Purple Rain” singer six years ago, has been a guest on my show a handful of times over the past years. In one instance, I asked her what the kids she was mentoring through the Garden of Dreams Foundation could learn from Prince.

“Working with Prince, the one thing I notice is that he hears everything,” she noted. “He’s very observant and that’s important if you’re going to go in to a career in entertainment. You need to know what’s happening all around you at all times.

“Prince is definitely a person who has taught me to be very aware.”

Lewis’ comments reflect some reporting this past week from TMZ, which estimated Prince’s net worth at about $150 million. The website, which also broke the news of his death, said that figure could be much higher but Prince almost always refused to license his music catalog.

The reason? Like other artists, Prince was protective of his art, and was probably aware of others’ ulterior motives. This along with his notoriously private lifestyle and tight inner circle only added to the mystique and aura of the artist.

And in a day where so many public figures over-share their lives with others, this aspect of Prince’s life may have drawn fans closer to him. The artist has posthumously sold over 3.5 million albums and singles. His LPs “The Very Best Of Prince” and “Purple Rain” re-entered the Billboard 200 album chart as one and two respectively.

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Damaris Lewis stopped by to chat about the upcoming Garden of Dreams Foundation Talent Show at Radio City Music Hall, where kids from throughout the tri-state area will have the opportunity to perform on stage at Radio City.

Lewis also chatted a bit about her recent outing to a Warriors/Thunder NBA game, where her and friend Prince (yes, that one) sat courtside to see Stephen Curry and the defending NBA Champions take on Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City.

The Garden of Dreams Talent Show is Monday, April 11, at Radio City Music Hall. Tickets to the event are free and will be distributed upon entrance in to the venue.
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