When Dallas record store owner Bill Wisener relocated Bill's Records to the South Side Lamar complex a couple of years ago, one of the first people to drop in the store and welcome him to the neighborhood was Dallas Mavericks GM Donnie Nelson.
And, last week, Nelson treated Bill to his first-ever professional basketball game.
Wisener, who rarely ever leaves his record store, is still giddy from the experience.
"Donnie is just the nicest man," says Wisener. "He called earlier during the week and asked me if I wanted to go to a game, and of course, I have never been to one, so I didn't even know what to say. He sent a limo over to pick me up, then we went to the W Hotel first, which I had never seen either. We just walked across the street to the AAC and went in the player's entrance, and then rode the private elevator up to the owner's box. It was just gorgeous, with all of this wonderful catered food and beautiful furniture... I was just trying to stand in the corner and be quiet. I'm just not used to that kind of thing."
Wisener joined Paul Levatino, who is Erykah Badu's manager, and Chris Bell, her longtime recording engineer, as Nelson's guests in the evening's festivities.
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"The whole thing, the lights and the music and video, these incredible acrobats that were performing at halftime, the whole thing was just this amazing spectacle," Wisener said. "I couldn't believe it... it was just astonishing. I hadn't been to a live basketball game since I was in high school. Obviously, I don't even keep up with sports. But the game was one of the most fun things I've ever done in my life."
After the Mavs lost a close one to the Denver Nuggets, Nelson and Wisener piled back into the limo and headed to The Loft, where Badu was performing at a private party for the AFI Festival.
"I hadn't seen her since the record release party at the store," said Wisener. "As soon as I saw her she walked right over, hugged me and said, 'Bill, I wanted to thank you for that night, and for leaving my posters up in the front window all this time. Every time I drive by your store I see that and I've been meaning to come back and see you again.' She was just so sweet. And her show was just phenomenal. Erykah is so talented... what an artist. What a true, original artist she is," he said, tears welling up in his eyes.
"It just gives me goose bumps thinking about it. These wonderful, thoughtful people like Erykah and Donnie... it just makes me thankful to have lived here in Dallas my whole life. We're just so very, very lucky to have such wonderful people here..."