My New Best Friend … Really?

I don’t want to seem like a name dropper, but I’ve become great friends with John McEnroe.

And why not. We share similar interests. He likes rock music, I like rock music. He likes hockey, I like hockey. Naturally, we run in the same circles. Kindred spirits, cut from the same cloth.

Our newfound BFF status began last Thursday. Bon Jovi (yes, that Bon Jovi) played a sold out concert at The Garden. My girlfriend and I were in attendance. About four songs into their set, I noticed that “Johnny Mac” was sitting behind us.

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 13: Musician Jon Bon Jovi of the band Bon Jovi performs live on stage for the 'This House Is Not For Sale' Tour 2017 at Madison Square Garden on April 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Matthew Eisman/Getty Images)

He tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Hey, aren’t you Arda from the MSG Hockey Show presented by Geico?” Humbled, I said yes. I shook his hand and we struck up a conversation, becoming fast friends. I congratulated him on a terrific tennis career, he congratulated me on a terrific broadcasting career. A couple songs later he invited me to come side stage with him, but I politely declined. It would be rude after all to leave my girlfriend hanging just to get a few feet closer to the action (yes, we were sitting quite close).*

The next night, while traveling to a weekend vacation getaway to New Hampshire (sometimes you have to leave the New York bubble to show you care about someone, you know?), I got a text. It was John. He was at The Garden again, this time to see Billy Joel. Kevin Spacey was also there, and they sent me one of those pictures where you put your arm out as if it’s around someone, but they are missing. That empty space was for me. I was touched. Billy Joel is beside them in the snap, smiling.**

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) John McEnroe and Kevin Spacey attend Billy Joel's 40th consecutive sold-out show at Madison Square Garden on April 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Myrna M. Suarez/Getty Images)

Sunday, the Rangers were back at The Garden for Game 3 against the Montreal Canadiens. After hosting at RangersTown Square in the afternoon, I headed to the game. Midway through the first period, I was grabbed in a sort of bear hug. To my surprise, it was Johnny Mac! We laughed and performed the secret handshake we invented a couple nights ago at “The Joves.” We then began a raucous “Let’s Go Rangers” chant, to the delight of our section.***

Moral of the story: good friends are hard to find. Cheers to you, JM! Let’s finish those friendship bracelets tomorrow at Game 4.


*Actually, he did sit behind us, but we never actually talked. He did go side stage, and my girlfriend and I were actually secretly a little jealous.

**Actually, The Garden posted a picture of John McEnroe and Kevin Spacey taking a selfie on social media. Kevin Spacey, in reality, is my favorite actor that I admire from afar.

***Actually, John McEnroe was featured on the big screen in between whistles as a Celebrity Welcome.

Basically, John McEnroe is Mr. New York and I’m convinced after seeing him three of the last five nights at The Garden, that he must have a bed in one of the suites at The World’s Most Famous Arena.

Side Note:

Wednesday’s guests on #TheApod will be Anson Carter and Will Reeve, a #MSGHockeyShow postseason podcast. Also, we will have another bonus Friday episode, and the guest for that will be announced on Wednesday’s podcast. Really.