Saturday, March 03, 2007

NBA All-Star Weekend Fallout

It's been a couple of weeks since the NBA's All-Star weekend, but I'm just now taking some time to vent. Much was made in various media reports about the numbers of arrests and violent incidents in Las Vegas over the weekend, and nearly all the reports/stories I read/heard blamed the NBA and it's "hip-hop culture." Give me a break. I'm pretty sure there weren't any NBA players involved in those arrests, and I'm pretty sure there wasn't anybody in Vegas doing anything "arrest-worthy" because it was All-Star weekend. Anyway, I finally read a fair take on the weekend, courtesy of's Sports Guy:
The NBA was unfairly blamed for the general craziness of the weekend, with the Pacman Jones incident getting the most play ... like it was the NBA's fault that an NFL star caused the biggest riot of the weekend. The NBA didn't screw up; Vegas screwed up. The city failed to stack the Strip and the surrounding parts of the city with enough cops and security guards, and they made the mistake of hoping everyone would act appropriately.

For any other weekend, that was a reasonably sound game plan. For a weekend in which the NBA All-Star Game was the THIRD biggest event behind Chinese New Year and the Fashion Convention? Not a good idea. If you owned a car and resided within driving distance of Vegas, you needed only to find a space in a garage and you were good to go for the weekend, even if you didn't have a place to sleep. Contrary to public belief, New Orleans won't be as chaotic an All-Star destination because the city will flood downtown with cops -- no way the Big Easy makes the same mistake as Vegas did -- and because out-of-towners won't be able to cruise into the city and park downtown without any trouble. Over everything else, that's where Vegas screwed up.

The other ridiculous fallout from Las Vegas is the number of people already saying that the NBA shouldn't hold next year's All-Star weekend in New Orleans. The Houston Rockets' Tracy McGrady, for one, said he doesn't think New Orleans is the "right city to have this type of event right now" and that "If I don't feel that I'm going to be safe, if I am on that team, I will look into probably not even going."

You know what, Tracy? You're probably right. I'm sure the city that hosts Mardi Gras is incapable of hosting the NBA All-Star game.

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