Sin City Has Become The NBA's Summer Base Of Operation
Despite being the home of exactly zero professional sports franchises, the great city of Las Vegas has emerged as a major hub of NBA activity, during the league's offseason. Amid the scorching 100-plus degree desert heat, the summer months in Sin City are filled with a continual array of hoops activity, both on and off the court.
Since 2006, the US Men's National Team has conducted practices in Vegas, with this year's camp taking place this week at UNLV's Mendenhall Center. Every summer, Team USA caps their week of work with exhibition games at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center.
Though the NBA holds summer league competition in both Orlando and Las Vegas, the Vegas version of the event stands as by far the more high profile of the two. While the Central Florida games are closed to the public, the Nevada showcase is open to fans and extremely well attended. In addition to hosting games at the adjoining Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion, the Las Vegas league serves as the NBA's main offseason gathering of players, coaches, front office staff, owners, league officials and broadcasters. The early July festivities have become the equivalent of Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings.
Every summer, the LeBron James Skills Academy takes place at the Cashman Center, located just north of downtown Las Vegas. The event was once held at Rancho High School, before moving to the convention facility. This year's camp took on even greater significance, since it occurred right in the middle of LeBron's free agency feeding frenzy.
Earlier this week, the National Basketball Players Association elected Michele Roberts as its executive director. The meeting of the player's union was held at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort. The Wynn also serves as the headquarter hotel for summer league visitors, with commissioner Adam Silver holding a press conference there, earlier this month.
Las Vegas may not be home to an NBA team, as least not yet. But, its imprint on the league appears to be growing by the day. If there is offseason news to be reported, Sin City now finds itself very much in the conversation.