February 14, 2013

Hornets forward Ryan Anderson is providing periodic blog updates on Hornets.com, delving into many of his experiences as a new resident of New Orleans. In his first update, Anderson shares his perspective on Mardi Gras season and the first-ever Super Bowl game he’s attended.

When I came to the Hornets last summer, I was so excited to start a new chapter in my NBA career with a new team. I was really looking forward to meeting all of my new teammates and coaches. But I was also thrilled to move here based on something that doesn’t have as much to do with basketball.

The city of New Orleans has always been known as one of the most unique places in the country. I wanted to see that for myself. No matter where we go, my girlfriend Gia and I like to experience the best aspects of places. We made it a point when we came to New Orleans to try to experience everything we possibly could. We’ve only been here for a relatively brief amount of time, but we love this city because of everything it offers.

Unfortunately due to all of the road games we’ve played recently, I wasn’t able to experience as much of Mardi Gras as I would have liked to, but after our three-game trip to Atlanta, Toronto and Detroit, we had an off day on Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day.

Early in the day, Gia and I walked down Magazine Street and got some food, then we went to one of the parades down St. Charles. I feel like the best thing to do during parades is just people-watch. That’s what it seemed like a lot of other people do when they go, to see all of the costumes, and the people who are very heavily intoxicated. It’s hilarious to just watch people.

I also caught some beads. I actually got a direct-line hit by them in the head at one point! But it was a really interesting thing to see, how so many people come out to celebrate. It was great. The atmosphere around the city is just so much fun. It’s like a big party here. I love the way people get so into the idea of Mardi Gras and everything that comes with it.

This might seem like an exaggeration at first, but Super Bowl Sunday was one of the most memorable days of my whole life. To me, it was the perfect day.

I had some great friends in town, including my brother-in-law, a great friend from Orlando and one of my girlfriend’s mutual friends. It was such a great group. We started the day off by going to church and heard a great message – I go to Celebration Church in Metairie. When we got home, I went out onto my balcony and barbecued, which is one of my favorite things to do. I love cooking. It was absolutely beautiful, incredible weather here on Super Bowl Sunday. It was one of those things where that would have been enough for the day, and I would’ve been completely content. But we still had the game to go to that night.

One of the coolest parts about this city is that everything is so close together, so you can walk everywhere. From my condo you can easily get to the Superdome, so we walked over to the Superdome about an hour before the game. I was talking about this with my agent the other day, that it’s easy to see why people say there’s no better city to host a Super Bowl or a big event than New Orleans. There are so many great restaurants and great hotels here, and everything is within walking distance.

The game itself was a blast. The Super Bowl was just a surreal thing to go to. I never thought I’d be able to go. What a great game, too. It was incredible.

As a California guy, I was rooting for the 49ers to win. My girlfriend and I wore red sweatshirts with the Niners logo, but it was funny, because when we looked around, everyone sitting near us was a Ravens fan. It seemed like the only people in our section who were also cheering for the Niners were Robin Lopez and Jason Smith, who were sitting right behind us.

It was fun to be able to just go and watch as a fan, as a regular guy. It was great. We made friends with a family who was here from Baltimore, and they were so into the game. On the last play, when the Niners could have won the game, this kid in front of me was praying the whole time, almost crying. It was great.

Along with Robin and Jason, we were also sitting in the same section of the stadium as Greivis, Anthony and Eric. I think most of the fans around us were from other parts of the country. I don’t think they realized that we were all teammates.

Editor’s note: Do you have a New Orleans restaurant recommendation for Ryan? Perhaps a movie you think he should see… or avoid? Want to ask him a question? Send in your thoughts on Twitter to @Jim_Eichenhofer using the hashtag of #rynoblog and we’ll help Ryan become even more acclimated to the Crescent City.