NBA superfan travels to 30 cities in 30 days to watch 30 games
TORONTO -- As the Dallas Mavericks celebrated their win over the Portland Trailblazers on Thursday, there was one person in the stands who was celebrating a personal victory of their own.
NBA superfan David DeLooper had just successfully completed day 30 of an ambitious project: to not only attend 30 basketball games in 30 days in 30 different cities, but to get featured on the Jumbotron every single time.
With the aid of numerous costumes and what he described to CTV News as “subpar dance moves,” he did just that.
Starting on Christmas Day in Philadelphia, DeLooper made his way across America, travelling constantly to keep up with his breakneck schedule.
He documented the journey on Instagram through clips of the dance moves that got him on the Jumbotron.
Dressed in a costume often themed around one of the teams playing that night, DeLooper pumps his fists, pulls faces and gyrates his way through each video. He flaps his arms in a bird costume for the Atlanta Hawks, pulls off some karate moves in a Miami Vice themed costume for Miami Heat, and bows for his subjects in a crown for the Sacramento Kings.
Collectively, the Instagram videos of him on the Jumbotron have garnered over a million views.
DeLooper told CTV News he only got into basketball around three years ago. He had played soccer in college, and said the NBA filled that void in his life.
“That transition from being an athlete to not playing a sport anymore is tough, and basketball really helped me out of that,” he said. He made friends through watching and discussing the NBA, and once he started going to games himself, he said he “just fell in love with the sport.”
Visiting the reigning NBA Champs in Toronto was a highlight, he said.
“The Raptor (mascot) actually came up to me in the stands and actually fell on me and I kind of caught him,” he said. “The atmosphere that the Toronto Raptors have is amazing.”
He said the month-long project wasn’t as expensive as it sounds, largely because he purchased plane tickets on cheap flights so far in advance.
“I’ve been this for well over a year,” he said. For accommodation, he stayed predominantly with friends and family. “We were definitely frugal.”
But as his quest gained traction online, it wasn’t long before others wanted to pitch in to help him reach his goal.
“We ended up getting on Reddit, and actually through that we had people from each team -- whether it was the sales team, whether it was people from the NBA, whether it was even (a) mascot -- message us on Instagram and say, ‘Hey, like are you coming? Do you need tickets, do you need a place to stay?,’” DeLooper said. “The NBA community is so well put together that it’s been an awesome journey because everybody’s been so supportive.”
So what is the perfect formula for being featured on the Jumbotron?
DeLooper said it came down to look and location.
“The number one thing is wear a costume, and sit in the lower bowl, because that’s where the cameramen are,” he advised. The lower bowl refers to seats on the first floor of the stadium.
“(The cameramen are) on the court, and they’re not going to look all the way up at a nosebleed section, so if you can sit in … lower bowl, you have a good chance.”
He added that he made a point of arriving early and making sure to “do a wave to a cameraman, make some eye contact” before the game, so that they might think to pan to him later.
Judging by DeLooper’s Instagram videos, a lot of enthusiastic arm waving and dancing goes a long way as well.
He said he’s still thinking about what to do next, but is interested in possibly repeating the experience with the WNBA or the NHL.
“NHL is a lot of fun, I’m just not great with cold weather,” he said. “No offense to you guys in Canada. But there’s definitely something in the works, I really want to keep the momentum going.”