Vegas Summer League Is A Fanboy's Wet DreamS

Are you a fan of basketball? Do you enjoy traveling to Las Vegas? Do you appreciate young ladies of questionable legality traipsing around in tiny shirts that read "Where Amazing Happens" and very little else? Well then why the fuck would you miss the NBA's Vegas Summer League?

The annual event featuring 21 teams comprised of rookies, future stars, hopefuls, hilarious retreads, and a blogger draws journalists, coaches, and front office types alike to UNLV's Cox Pavilion. It only seemed right to reschedule my annual trek to Vegas to coincide with this veritable orgy of basketball.

All it takes to get into the building is a $20 general admission ticket good for one day, or roughly 10 hours of games spread over two courts. Of course you could pony up $100 for reserved courtside seats, but to do that you'd have to be a relatively huge putz.

Day One

I arrived with a small contingent of fans intent on seeing our beloved Wizards, specifically the "Little Three" (pictured), so we showed up about a half an hour before their game against the Cavs. We took a seat to watch the waning minutes of the Detroit/Charlotte debacle with a round of Bud Lites that really hit the spot after the five or so gin and tonics I had just downed in the poker room. After about ten seconds I exclaimed, "Holy shit, Mustafa Shakur is guarding Will Bynum!" That's when I realized that I was going to enjoy the shit out of this weekend.

Shortly thereafter it was time for the Wizards to take the floor, and for us to take up our spot directly behind the bench. It was quickly apparent that we were not alone. The section quickly filled with fellow Washingtonians, and it was almost like being back in Chinatown (sans go-go). I was immediately struck by the fans' unfettered access to the players, coaches, and even Big Ern.

At one point a bulked up Andray Blatche did what he is wont to do, run the fast break like the 6'11" point guard that he is. It may have not been pretty, but the big guy converted the layup. I happened to comment that "Eddie [Jordan]'s not gonna like that" only to have assistant coach Phil Hubbard turn around to inform me that, "Eddie likes baskets." I would have asked Eddie for confirmation, but he was sitting way the fuck up in the last row.

The Wizards ended up winning that first game (suck on that, Cleveland!), but most importantly we learned that we could carry on a running conversation with the guys on the bench while cheering a lot louder than the game called for (which did not escape the notice of WaPo's Ivan Carter). Something we certainly took advantage of when we returned to Cox the next day.

Later That Night

Dinner at N9ne is always a highlight of the annual trip, and we ran into JaVale McGee as soon as we walked into the Palms. Fortunately he's only 20, so he had nothing better to do than to stop and exchange pleasantries.

By the time appetizers were served the hostess was seating a party including Jason Whitlock, David Aldridge, and J.A. Adande in the adjoining booth. But everything was cool, I told them I was AJ.

Day 2

Players all over the building were giving their discarded shoes and jerseys to their fans, but instead of asking for Nick Young's Jordans at halftime, I joined in requesting that he take them off in favor of the Kobe models sitting under the bench. Apparently City is still new enough in town that he really hasn't grasped the whole "Jordan = Satan" concept, but he complied with the request.

Needless to say the change of shoes broke Young out of a rough slump in time to hit a deep three late in the game. Young got another chance to tighten things up when Joey Dorsey was called for a technical while in street clothes. Whether or not the game-long heckling he received from gentlemen in a George Muresan jersey put Dorsey on edge is a matter left for debate. Young, with his feet devoid of evil, hit the free throw to put them within reach. Newly acquired Dee Brown sent the game into overtime with an improbable put-back that sent the bench and the fans into a completely unnecessary frenzy.

Oh, and you're welcome, coaching staff. Now go throw anything else with a Jumpman logo in Abe Pollin's private incinerator.

Final Thoughts

-Jerryd Bayless will fuck your daughter and you will thank him for it.
-The Black Widow Mojito at Mesa Grill is both delicious and masculine.
-Dominic McGuire's sweat cures cancer.
-Jamie Foxx will not hesitate to ask your girlfriend to join his table.
-My stories suck, go next year and have your own fun.
-Next year I'm going to all of the games.

Quote of the Trip

"I get buckets, son" -Oleksiy Pecherov