Went to Vegas last weekend with a couple of bloggers of note - Steve Boese and Matt Stollak. Our destination had a nerd quality to it - The NBA Summer League, where professional basketball hopefuls convene to prove they have what it takes to be one of 400 players that play in the best hoops league in the world.
Now - you should know that only about 5% of the players who attend and play in the Vegas Summer League are actual NBA players - the rest are draft choices and free agents who are scrapping and doing whatever it takes to impress the teams. For example, your world champion Miami Heat had zero players who were on the championship roster playing in Vegas. Instead they had 15 guys who were incredible, but for the most part had never graced an NBA roster.
Why go to that? First, we like hoops. More importantly, I go because there's a huge morality play on talent going on at the Summer League. If NBA veterans are the best 400 players in the world, what we saw is 401-1000, and the differences are pretty small between spots 300 to 400 in the NBA and the better players in the summer league. Who decides? What makes the difference between making a roster and going to Turdistan to play next winter?
Anyway, let's lighten it up. He's the story of the weekend as told through my Instagram account (enable pictures if you viewing this in email or just click through). Follow me on Instagram and I'll follow you back, yo.
First up, what Vegas trip is complete without a Strip photo? Here's the view from my room - stayed at Palms Place at the Palms, which is like staying at the W, except with more mirrors so you can check your - shall we say - posture - wherever you are at in the room. KD had his own room - and he didn't really need all the mirrors, but he doesn't make the rules in Vegas.
I went to a couple of casinos, and just to get teed up, I watched Rounders a couple of nights before, where I was reminded how Matt Damon always got into Teddy KGB's head. Check it out if you haven't seen Rounders for awhile (mild NSFW):
Alas, I've never really been bitten by the bug, so I just drove Steve and Matt crazy by encouraging them to "Splash the Pot" early and often, regardless of where we were and what we we were doing.
Picture #2 - the only thing that mildly interested me was the early odds on who would win the NBA title next year, a photo I'm including here. Couldn't find any value. I like the Pacers at 12:1, but I would LOVE them at 20:1. Feel me? Like KGB, I'll splash the pot whenever the ##*# I want.
Picture #3 - Helicopter parents exist everywhere, even in the NBA. The guy in the Lebron shades is Quincy's Acy's dad, who talked so much trash behind his own son's bench that I thought someone would have come to take care of it. He was pure helicopter dad, equal parts bombastically encouraging his son and downgrading him verbally when he screwed up. Bonus - Quincy's mom to his right was talking equal trash to his teammates when she felt like they didn't kick it to him soon enough. Quincy's actually a good player, and was on the Toronto roster last year. Only in America.
Picture #4 - Stars have entourages, and James "Fear the Beard" Harden was no different. He appeared right in front of us to watch a game featuring one of a his former teammates, and had at least 3 non-hoops friends in tow - just like Vinny Chase in Entourage. We saw all kinds of great NBA players and coaches watching the games all weekend, Harden's the only one who got security. They final turned around the fifth time I encouraged the Suns' Summer League team to "Splash the Pot". I kid - they turned around when an attractive lady had a question. After ignoring a line of kids for autographs for an hour, of course. To be fair, the Beard would have never stopped signing autographs if he started. That's why he's got his own Eric, Turtle and Johnny Drama - so someone else can tell security he's not going to sign.
Picture #5 - My biggest regret is we didn't have enough dudes (or replica jerseys) to have our own Bro-pack. This guy was part of a Warriors Bro-pack, and Warriors fan loved his Warriors. So much so, he pledged his loyalty by creating a sign that said, "I'm a Warriors" (plural). Nothing to round that sentence out - like "fan", "bro" or any other identifier. "I'm a Warriors". Of course you are, Warriors Bro-pack leader. Of course you are.
That's a wrap. 5 photos and a Teddy KGB video. I'm encouraging you to Splash the Pot this week. After all, it's your HR department and you can Splash the Pot whenever the #### you want.
Drop me a note if you want to go to the NBA Summer League next year. We're thinking less hoops (2 games a day) across 3 days and field trips to Casinos, Penn and Teller shows and In-and-Out Burger.