Whatever Happens In Vegas …

Patrick Dorsey

By Patrick DorseyThe Daily Northwestern

The All-Star Game came to Las Vegas and went, leading to lots of questions.

Can the NBA flourish in Sin City? Will gambling be a problem? What team will move there?

And so on.

But here’s the real question: Can Vegas now survive without the NBA?

Yes, the (second) best city in the desert has amazing gambling, golf and legalized prostitution – all enjoyable things, for sure.

But something’s missing.

Celebrity.

Who are the big acts in Vegas? Wayne Newton? Carrot Top? That one guy who got eaten by a tiger?

And what about that awful Vegas-themed halftime show? Christina Aguilera’s a fine choice, but Toni Braxton? She’s far less significant than All-Star and future Mr. Eva Longoria, Tony Parker. And Cirque du Soleil? They looked about as out of place as Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah.

That’s where the NBA comes in.

In addition to all those big-time players, the Association’s cavalcade of celebrity followers – from Jay-Z to Arnold Schwarzenegger to Evanston’s own Jeremy Piven – showed their faces at Sunday night’s game.

And while every night likely wouldn’t be so star-studded, Vegas still could rival hot spots like Los Angeles (with Jack Nicholson, still the coolest man alive) and Miami (where, last spring, Heat fan Anna Kournikova quickly jumped to No. 1 on the Hottest People I’ve Stood 10 Feet Away From list).

Heck, maybe even Gibson could show up.

So listen up, Vegas. Don’t stop courting the NBA.

Wouldn’t you rather have LeBron than Celine Dion?

RANDOM THOUGHTS

The West (shockingly) won 153-132, after which Pistons guard Chauncey Billups complained about the game’s lack of meaning and intensity. He then suggested the NBA award home-court advantage in the Finals to the All-Star Game’s winning conference. But maybe he just said that because it looks like an East team won’t have the league’s best record any time soon … So let’s get this straight: Steve Nash had an amazing first half of the season, but didn’t earn MVP consideration in some circles until the Suns recently went 0-3 without him. By that logic, shouldn’t Michael Jordan be the MVP every season until the Bulls win 70 again? … Even if you missed it live, check out Charles Barkley’s hilarious Saturday night race with referee Dick Bavetta on YouTube.com. It further proves Barkley as basketball’s best personality, which thankfully is on display every week on TNT’s NBA Thursday.

Assistant Sports Editor Patrick Dorsey is a Medill senior. Catch his NBA Beat every Tuesday. Reach him at [email protected]