Sydney Kings Cocktail Party
Night Parrot at the Australian Museum, city
Although the Sydney Kings didn't finish within a cooee of the NBL's pesky Kiwi premiers last season, celebrities flocked to celebrate with the basketball team. The room was crammed for the new season launch and the humidity left people sweating as though they were in the playoffs. Purple and yellow lights beamed on the stuffed animals on the museum walls, while drinks flowed and chatter bounced between players and celebrities.
And there were so many celebrities. Heading to the ''Kingdome'' is a new hot ticket for the stars, with competition fierce for court-side seats, in the style of Jack Nicholson at LA Lakers games. But they are not just posing; these stars are true Kings fans, jumping out of their seats and screaming encouragement. Channel Seven's David Koch is the team's part-owner but he was a surprise no-show at the party. Now he's president of the Port Adelaide football club, will he treat the Kings like a red-headed stepson? No, apparently, he was double-booked at a finance function he couldn't get out of. Phew.
One constant is Lion, the Kings' mascot. It is said the same guy has been Lion for 20 years, which is impressive, if slightly weird. Trouble is, it doesn't smell as though they've dry-cleaned the suit for that long, either. Channel Ten newsreader and MC for the evening Natarsha Belling was pounced on by Lion. He even patted her backside, prompting Belling to peer into the mask and ask, ''Is that Peter Slipper in there?''
The entertainment was a feast of reality TV stars, with former Australian Idol star Cosima de Vito singing and recent X Factor rejectees What About Tonight whipping the crowd into a frenzy. It's going to be a fun season. Let's go, Kings! Let's go!
Shelly Horton is editor-at-large and acting editor of S plus a regular on Channel Seven's Sunrise, The Morning Show and Weekend Sunrise.