It was something
If you weren't in Las Vegas for NBA All Star weekend, let me offer a few comparisons just so you have an idea of what you missed: take the most crowded DC nightclub you can imagine, remove the dress code, add gambling, the strip, ridiculous traffic, a smattering of celebrities both current and over the hill, tons of booze, blunts and music and then times it all by 10 and you may some inkling of what went on. It was crazy. For the record, I heard about one stabbing, one shooting and at least one closing (the Palms shut down last night after a brawl). To my knowledge, none of this involved Stephen Jackson. NBA basketball, it's fantastic!
Getting a cab from my hotel, the MGM Grand, to anywhere else was impossible on Friday and Saturday night so the only way to get around was to walk but that was nearly impossible as well because the streets were clogged with people. On Saturday night, my goal was to get off the strip to Old Vegas for a little more chilled out scene but after two hours of hunting for a cab at three different hotels, I gave up, ate at some Chinese joint and soon called it a night.
I managed to get into one of the "parties" on Friday night. I say "parties" that way because in reality, they were all a bunch of semi-private gatherings where people crammed together and stood around trying to spot celebs while getting their holla, holla, holla on. Seriously, some of these cats would have more game if they just clubbed a female over the head and took her home caveman style. I felt bad for some of the uh, young ladies even if they were wearing next to nothing. My favorite female t-shirt of the weekend read "Open 24 hours" Classy.
One of the funniest sights for me happened at New York, New York on Saturday night. Now, keep in mind that Vegas was about two-thirds black folks this weekend and the MGM, Palms and other spots were more than that. So anyway, I'm walking through New York, New York desperately trying to find a place to suck down a beer when I rolled past an Irish pub that doubled as a piano bar. I think every caucasian in the city flocked to this place to drink Harp, listen to bad 80's music and cheesy bar songs like "Sweet Caroline" and uh, dance. If you can call it that. The joint was whiter than the NHL. A few black folks walking by took a look, didn't know what to make of it and kept rolling. Funny stuff.
A few of the highlights from my All Star weekend:
-Gilbert Arenas was the star of media day. Though the big stars - Kobe, D-Wade, Shaq and Yao - had their usual huge media swarms, Gilbert was not far behind. Obviously, everyone who makes a living with a pen and a pad or a TV camera knows about Gil's quotable nature and they couldn't wait to hear what he had to say. The general consensus is that yes, Gilbert is quirky but compared to other "stars" he's approachable and his unfiltered takes are refreshing. I had one reporter who regularly deals with LeBron James tell me that he'd trade LeBron for Gilbert in a second.
-Caron Butler on his first All Star game: "I was nervous. I'm not going to even lie to you. I got out there and all that tough juice stuff went out the window. The only thing I was worried about was scoring. For a while there Mehmo (Okur) and myself were the only two guys who hadn't scored yet but then he scored so I was like: I got to get a rebound and a putback or something."
-The game itself was a joke. I know it's an All Star game but man, would it have killed the East guys to have competed just a little bit? That was bad. The most popular press joke about the game: "Looks like Eddie Jordan finally found a team that plays worse defense than the Wizards." Ouch.
-My favorite moment from the game was when Eva Longoria, who was sitting across from the East bench next to Ludacris, Prince, Dave Chapelle and Chris Tucker, moved two seats over and started chatting up Prince. Now, I know Tony Parker is rich and has that French thing going on but wouldn't it make you just a little bit nervous to see your lady rapping to Prince? Couldn't Prince just drop a little "Purple Rain" on her and that's that?
-I walked away up $90 from my lone gambling run of the weekend. I followed my tried and true "system" for playing blackjack and came out on top. I'm happy.
-I swear this just happened. I'm sitting in the airport waiting for my flight and the PA guy just announced: "Attention, will the passenger who left their hearing aid and false teeth in the men's bathroom please report to airport personnel?" First of all, who is this person, Scottie Pippen? Second, if the cat left his hearing aid, how would he hear such an announcement?
See you back in DC. I'm tired.
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