Kia offered us the opportunity to see two NBA playoff games between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls, with the road trip from Cleveland to Chicago in the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento sandwiched in between. Naturally we said yes and needless to say it was quite an adventure! (Read more about our impressions of the Kia Sorento here).
It all got started in Cleveland will some amazing floor seats just behind the Cavs bench. Right away we had a buzz-worthy story as Lebron was introduced wearing his signature headband which he had discarded earlier this season. But after a game one thrashing at the hands of the Bulls, Lebron felt the need to go back to the headband to revive his game, which seemed silly in many ways until the game started and the Cavs jumped out to an early lead.
As a Cavs fan the entire experience was pretty amazing. It started as I checked in to the Hyatt located in the historic Arcade in downtown Cleveland.
Confidence opens doors that nothing else can. But confidence can also be misplaced. How do you know if the shirt you’re wearing is completely ridiculous until you actually wear it outside the house? Thanks to Speed Stick, at least I had confidence in my underarm scent.
But confidence was definitely not lacking for driver Cole Whitt. Even though Front Row Motorsports is at a distinct disadvantage, operating on one-eighth the budget of its competitors and Whitt’s highest previous finishing position this season a modest 22nd, Whitt was ready.
A Top 20 finish at Talladega would’ve meant a lot, as Cole explains in our interview below, shot immediately before the race. But Whitt was able to #DefyTheDoubt and lead the entire field with under 40 laps remaining en route to his best performance this season. Speed Stick is all about giving you confidence for the moment you shut down the naysayers, as Whitt did finishing a career-best 13th in the race.
I got a little excited during my interview, and it isn’t completely my fault – there’s so much energy at a NASCAR race, it permeates the grounds and is as real as the guy with the Dale Jr. shirt on next to you.
There is no other major sport that allows fans’ access the way NASCAR does. No one is too big or too important. The mix of American pride and Bible Belt-bred Christianity adds two additional layers that don’t exist north of the Mason-Dixon.
That ethos permeates the grounds and is exemplified in a myriad of ways, from the ease in dealing with on-site officials, to the random mix of cool people you meet while watching the race, to the drivers themselves.
Here’s the scoop: For Super Bowl weekend, Bud Light took over the beautiful Hotel Palomar in downtown Phoenix, and directly across the street in a previously vacant lot, Bud Light paved over and built the House of Whatever. You’ve seen the commercial, but what was it like?
The highlight of day one was something “off menu” from the Bud Light festivities.
While getting hassled by overly aggressive security guards at the entrance as we attempted to enter the House, a familiar voice chimed in from behind us. “Excuse me, fellas.” We turned around and it was none other than NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp. Little did we know, the next 48 hours were essentially the requiem of Sapp’s media career, as he was busted for assaulting two prostitutes at the very same hotel two days later. RIP, Warren.
The first-ever Bud Light House of Whatever got the party started with unique “Up For Whatever” experiences, an unpredictable party and epic concerts. Inside the House, DJs spun from the top of a beached yacht, food trucks lined the interior, and a massive social media tree served as the epicenter of a kinetic forest. Bullz-Eye was on location to partake in whatever.
Here is what it was like when the House was thrown open:
Friday’s activities included:
– An unexpected delivery from Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, who gave partygoers a pep talk and arrived with plenty of Pizza Hut pizza.
– A variety of spontaneous activities, including Super Fry, where guests could have anything edible deep-fried for them by people dressed as super heroes; Brew U, which offered a ten-minute crash course on beer-making with Bud Light brewmasters; and the ultimate Pac-Man black-light arcade.
– Guests putting on animal masks as part of a party boat-themed concert with epic performances by Kongos and Nicki Minaj.
The best thing about the House of Whatever on night one, besides endless Bud Light, Warren Sapp’s inevitable demise, and meeting Riley from the Bud Light Pac Man Super Bowl commercial, were the bottomless quesadillas.
We spoke to Nelly at Bud Light’s House of Whatever in Phoenix, Arizona about his career, the (endless) rise of Taylor Swift, and how he does his best work on the toilet, while some light jazz played in the background.
Here are a few highlights.
On “Country Grammar” and the line, “Get a room in Trump Tower just to hit for three hours/kick the bitch up out the room ’cause she used the word ‘Ours'”:
“It came from real life. It was cool. But you’re talking about lines that were said in 2002. I was a young, thriving Nelly. Hopefully, when you get in this game, you build your own type of fan base and actually have fans that appreciate what you do and grow with you. It’s funny, because it’s a double-edged sword. You hear so many people say, ‘I wish you would do another album like Country Grammar.’ And I say, ‘You were in school when Country Grammar came out, right. You can’t get that feeling back. The reason Country Grammar meant something to you is because you were in school at that time. It was the buddies that were around you, the moment for you. It was your theme music to what you were going through in that life.’ You can’t make that. You don’t think Michael would love to make another Thriller? You think he wasn’t tryin‘? You can’t, because it was that moment. It was music that was unheard at that time. And you can never get all of those elements back again.”
On making new music:
“I don’t chase [past success]; I just make music. Music is creativity, it’s a career. You up, you down, you up, you down… You can’t have a career without an up and down. Nobody is consistently up. Well, probably Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift is probably the only one I see that is like, ‘Yo, she’s just gonna keep going (up), huh? Just gonna keep fuckin’ goin’.”
On when he’s the most creative:
“Songs pop up at the weirdest moments. You can be in a hotel, sittin’ in a room, being in a club, bein’ on the shitter. That’s my office. I can think, I’ve got the phone on the wall, set the laptop up on the dirty clothes hamper; I feel my freest.”
On what motivates him:
“I don’t do that anymore. When people are like, ‘Yo, what do you want to do?’ It’s not about that no more for me. Succeeding is not what drives you. I think what drives you is knowing where you don’t want to be – I know where I don’t want to be. That’s the motivation to keep going. Because as long as I keep going, I’m not gonna be there. Because to say what I want to do, I’ve accomplished so much and I’m steady going, I just don’t know, I just keep it movin’. But I know one thing that never changes; It’s where you don’t wanna be.”
On what makes Nelly, “Nelly”:
“It was everything. When you get counted out so many times, you look for a sense of, ‘Where am I going to channel and put this energy that I have to succeed?’ Some kids take it and take it the wrong way. Some kids work hard, they study, they go to school, they graduate and become something. Some kids do it through sports. But again, being a product of who you are, it can be a fuel. Sometimes, too much fuel can blow you up. But majority of that time, if you take that fuel and use it right, you can go to the moon.”
“You’re not content. If you’re content, you’ve already started the giving up process. This is a game of creativity, being competitive, it’s a ‘dog eat’ and I love it.”
Inadvertently, the above shirtless NASCAR fan, with a canister of what we can safely assume is “Purple Drank,” a southern beverage of choice, dangling from his loins, summed up the entire three-day NET10 Wireless NASCAR event.
NET10 — with no contracts, plans starting at $40 a month for unlimited service, and over 100,000 locations — doesn’t care about your past relationships with previous cell phone service carriers. All NET10 cares about is you and your freedom.
As America’s largest no-contract cell phone provider, they are all about keeping you #FreedForSpeed to enjoy the most sexually progressive cell phone relationship you’ve ever had in your life. #NSA.
Bullz-Eye spent three days in Charlotte, North Carolina and immersed our senses in the intricacies of both NASCAR and the #FreedForSpeed lifestyle of NET10 Wireless. It was the fastest three days we’ve ever experienced.
Within 20 minutes of getting to the hotel, I was in the lobby meeting the group of fellow drivers. 10 minutes later, we headed to Charlotte Motor Speedway to drive a NASCAR under the tutelage of the Richard Petty Driving School. Once we got there, we ate a tremendous lunch.
We were fitted with some fire retardant driving suits (Who you calling a retardant?) and met NET10 Wireless Camping World Truck Series driver German Quiroga, who gave us an idea of what to expect on the track.
Then, we went through a safety briefing lead by our Crew Chief. It was in-depth and complex, and though appreciated, I zoned out for most of it and dreamed about having the fastest MPH in the class.