BY ROUBEN KRIKOURIAN
LOS ANGELES—Friends and family from the Armenian community came out Tuesday night to the Staples Center for a fun night of basketball and entertainment, as the Los Angeles Sparks hosted an Armenian Celebration Night at their home game against the Chicago Sky.
To start the Armenian Night festivities, Element Band held a pre-game show at the rooftop of the Staples Center, drawing a crowd of both fans and first-time listeners.
“Element was amazing!” Sossi Oozoonian happily remarked. Having made the trip there with her family from Orange County, she was delighted with the show. When her daughter Knar Oozoonian saw the event ad on Facebook, she “had to be there,” so they made it a family trip.
Members from the Homenetmen Glendale “Ararat” Chapter – the Community Spotlight at the event – had the lucky opportunity to use the Staples Center court for practice and scrimmage before the game. At the Sparks tunnel, Homenetmen Pasadena “Azadamard” Chapter members high-fived the players as they entered the court.
As Sparks fans filled the seats of the Staples Center, singer, songwriter Emily Simonian was invited on stage to perform the National Anthem. The Tumanian family, also from Orange County, was there to support Simonian, who is a fellow parishioner at their church. Izzy Tumanian, who teaches an Armenian dance class at St. Mary’s Armenian Apostolic Church, was pleased to be there. “It was a good opportunity for Armenians to come out and celebrate with an American pastime,” she said.
After an exciting first half, in which the Sparks fought back to just take the lead by one point, the audience was treated to a festive performance by the Gevorkian Armenian Dance Academy. The group of young men and women stormed the court and gave an exciting, charming performance that is sure to have made an impression on the audience.
The game finished to cheering fans with a victory for the L.A. Sparks.
“On behalf of the Los Angeles Sparks, we are honored to be able to collaborate with the Armenian community and celebrate the [sic] culture and heritage and look forward to doing this again next year,” said L.A. Sparks President Vinnie Malcolm.
The event’s organizer and Account Executive at the L.A. Sparks, Romela Kurdoglanyan, said, “I am honored that the L.A. Sparks provided this opportunity for the Armenian community to come out and shine.”
“We thank the sponsors, performers and community supporters and are looking forward to another great event next year,” she added.