As some of you may know, and others will soon come to know, a lot of your post college summer life will revolve around your selfish friends deciding to get married. When I woke up one day a few months ago and saw this massive email chain to myself and around 20 other people, I didn’t want to open it. What was waiting for me was instructions announcing the plan for an upcoming bachelor party for one of our very close ASU friends. The plan was to meet in the airport in Denver where my friend thought he was going, and then hand him a ticket to Vegas for a nice little 4 day aka 50 day trip. Now having lived in Arizona during college I’ve probably been to Vegas more times than any person should. If you’ve never been, everything you hear about it is true. There are MANY types of Vegas trips you can have, whether you want to see a show, go to a spa, or be like Nate and win a shit ton of money at the WSOP. When I saw the dates being talked about and the location, I started to get a little tingle down below. July 7-10th you say? The same time my beloved Celtics happened to be in town? No chance this was a coincidence, this is what we call fate kids. Once Walter caught wind of the fact that I was going to see the Celts, he wasn’t exactly thrilled with me for going to see 7/11 without him, but over my dead body was I going to ruin his pure soul with the utter disaster that is Las Vegas. I need him good to go for the regular season/playoffs/Finals/parade etc.
Some might think it’s kind of a dick move to leave a bachelor party to go watch Summer League basketball of all things, but I say don’t invite me to go somewhere where you know the Celtics are going to be and expect me NOT to go. I have a #brand (sickness) to maintain and I made that very clear. If I was going to be spending (losing) all this money in Vegas, you DAMN sure I’m going to actually get something out of it. So without further ado, these were my main learnings from my time in that hell hole.
1. If you are going to go to the Vegas Summer League and there is a big time game between the Celtics and Lakers, don’t be a fucking asshole and think you can just buy tickets the day of
Mistake #1 for your boy here. I looked online every day before my trip and there were $30 general admission tickets available before I took off Friday morning. The second I landed, all sold out and tickets on the secondary market were around 5 or 6 times the price. Not great for a certain guy with the last name Greenberg. Five seconds into this bachelor party trip that was supposed to be for my buddy, was already ruined for me. In what was the prayer of all prayers, I threw out this tweet. In no way did I think this was going to work, because if there is one thing I am NOT it’s a Big J journo, but when you’re desperate in Vegas you’ll do just about anything
So what did I learn from this experience? That stoolies truly, without a doubt, are the best people on the planet. Did I get hooked up with a journo pass? No, but a stoolie DID help hook me up with tickets through a certain NBA team that shall not be named all for the price of $free.99. For someone who had gotten his dick kicked in on the craps table, this was the prayer I needed. So please, if a nobody like me can get saved by a stoolie, you probably can too. All you have to do is ask.
2. Lakers fans are extremely insecure
Lakers fans don’t have a lot to be excited about once the real basketball starts, so naturally they took this matchup with the Celtics VERRRRY seriously. The sold out arena was probably around 95% Lakers fans, and there was probably more energy in there than any game at Staples in my honest and totally unbiased opinion. When the Celts got down like 15-0 to start, they went WILD. Almost as if they’ve never heard of the #Theory before or something, idiots.
If you could hear the fans around me, you’d think you were on another planet. “Lakers could have been something if Steve Nash wasn’t so old”, “How can you look at me with a straight face and say Michael Jordan is better than Kobe Bryant? NOBODY wanted to win more than Kobe”, “Magic Johnson is going to bring a title back to LA within 2 years watch”, “Brandon Ingram is better than Jaylen Brown”, it went on and on and on and all I could do was try and contain my laughter, mostly for fear of my life.
I will also say this though. They REALLY want Lonzo Ball to be the real deal. So much in fact that even if he threw a simple chest pass, 18,000 people collectively cummed their pants. It was incredible. Who cares that he shot like absolute dogshit and played decent defense at best, each and every bounce pass was like it was the best pass in the history of passing. Calm the fuck down people. If you didn’t think Lonzo was the second coming of Jesus, you got some as my Mom puts it “hairy eyeballs”.
3. Jaylen Brown was still WAY too careless with the basketball
I’m not sure if it’s because he’s working on holes in his game, or he’s not taking it that seriously, but if Jaylen is going to be playing a lot more this year, especially at the two, he needs to be better about taking care of the basketball. What’s the point of watching all those YouTube videos of him working out and practicing dribbling if he’s not actually going to do it once he starts playing?
To be honest, Jaylen didn’t have the best showings in Vegas as a whole from what I saw. He didn’t shoot that great (30%), didn’t score that much (10ppg), and like I mentioned had problems taking care of the ball (3.0). Watching him play it does feel like he knows he’s the best player on the court, so in turn spends more time forcing things, than actually making the right basketball play. It was awesome to see him murder that dude though
4. RJ Hunter is one cool ass dude, and NBA players in fact do live better lives than the rest of us
Part of the allure of Vegas is that literally nothing ever closes. Well, on Saturday night after hours and hours of celebrating another win over the sorry pathetic Lakers, my friends and I found ourselves at a random bar at the Cromwell. You ever been there? Very legit hotel. Anyways, it was about 3:45 in the morning, and I looked over and saw this giant person staring at my shirt. What shirt? Well, one you can buy yourself!
Anyway, I didn’t think anything of it, but then I looked back in his direction a few minutes later and he was still looking at my shirt. Then it hit me. THAT’S MY DUDE RJ HUNTER! So I decided to walk over (which in reality was probably some sort of drunk run/walk while I yelled RJJJJJJJJ) and introduced myself. The thing about me is it’s still very weird for me to introduce myself as Greenie from Barstool Sports. I dunno why it just is. Probably because nobody knows or gives a fuck who that is. Anyway once he heard Barstool, he relaxed and we talked about everything. How sad I was he got cut, how much I enjoyed his spacing and how he saw the floor, he talked about how much he loved Boston yada yada yada.
The surprise came when he was like “That shirt is dope we should show Isaiah”. Ummm yeah I think we should too RJ what a great idea. What ended up being on that 4am snap to Isaiah lord only knows, but RJ couldn’t have been a cooler dude.
But that’s not all I learned from this encounter. While we were talking it became clear he was just waiting for other guys to show up, and out of nowhere Gary Harris and Denzel Valentine walked through the door. These dudes are fucking giants. Now you would think at nearly 4am, things are calming down, but no no no. Out of NOWHERE no less than 50 absolute smokebombs show up where we were at the Cromwell. The hotel was basically empty and BAM a couple NBA players show up and it was utter chaos. I know NBA players and jersey chasers are nothing new, but to be honest I’d never seen anything like this in person. If they are turning out like this for some Summer League guys, just IMAGINE what it’s like for the really good NBA talent. Mind. Blown. Next thing I knew no less than 100 girls followed these guys into Drai’s After Hours which looks like this
and was filled with girls that looked like this
just insane for a normal poor blogger’s brain to comprehend. Oh, and I’m sure this had nothing to do with RJ’s 2-5 performance in a starter low 18 minutes on Sunday. Nope, no chance.
5. There is a new In-N-Out right next to the Flamingo/Cromwell
Bigggggg news and perhaps the biggest news of the trip. Having an In-N-Out within walking distance was an absolute game changer. Lose all your money? Cheer yourself up with a nice double double animal style. Hung over as shit? Throw in some animal style fries and work your way back. In previous trips to Vegas that I had gone on, it was always a hassle to get those sweet sweet burgers. But now? I am not ashamed to say I went every day I was there.
6. It’s looking more and more likely that Semi is going to make this roster
There are certain players that “fit Brad’s system”. A guy who is a physical monster, who can guard multiple positions and isn’t shy about jacking up threes may be the ideal player Brad dreams about while wearing his Celtics footy pajamas. I was without a doubt impressed with the three bukkake that Semi gave the Lakers on Saturday, and he’s actually tied for 3rd in all of Vegas Summer League in made three pointers per game (3.0). Of any player that takes at least 7.0 per game (there’s 12) not one of them shoots better than Semi’s 42%.
I am already getting way too excited for the defensive lineup of Marcus/Semi/Yabu.
7. Do not play craps at Bally’s. They are the worst tables on the entire strip
I’m a craps guy. Don’t really play poker and I feel like blackjack is too rigged. Well, Bally’s had by far the worst mojo on their craps tables these eyes have ever seen. Not one player on any table we went to hit their point more than twice before crapping out. Guys crapping out on their first rolls. It was an absolute BLOODBATH. So my advice to you is stay away, go to any of the other thousands of craps tables on the strip. Don’t be like me and be a slave to their $10 tables. It will ruin you.
8. Jayson Tatum was every bit as real and spectacular as I hoped
I can’t lie, I wasn’t sure if I should believe the hype I saw on TV. Before I go any further, please go ahead and take that giant salt shaker right next to you and pour it ALL OVER this take. OK…you ready?
Jayson Tatum is the real deal. I mean, REAL DEAL.
The shots this dude was pulling off with ease had the look of a 10 year vet, not a 19 year old rookie. His defense was acceptable, and he has shown me he can step up in big time games. There was the opener against Fultz in Utah, and then the 27/11 against Lonzo and the Lakers. His offense is so advanced this team is going to utilize it right away, Day 1. There absolutely is a difference between doing this stuff against fringe NBA players and someone like, Kawhi, but other than maybe Mitchell on UTA, he’s been arguably the best player in Vegas.
I’d like to see him feel more confident in his three point shot, but that’s nitpicking. Everything I was hoping to see from him as reasons why Ainge went the way he did was answered for me, and I can’t wait for the rest of you guys to see him in person. He’s going to be a STUD.
9. When crossing the bridges from one side of the strip to the other, you gotta keep your head on a swivel
If you haven’t been to Vegas before, they have these bridges all down the strip that make it possible for people to go from a casino on one side to the other. It is my advice you keep your wits about you at all times while crossing these, and I base this solely on the little stabbing incident that went down on the bridge to Caeser’s. No big deal, just a little fucked up on something homeless person got a little upset and went a little stab happy. That’s just Vegas being Vegas.
10. However long you think you want to go to Vegas, cut the trip one day shorter
Props to those who are still there, but shit was 4 days more than enough. Maybe that has to do with me being washed and 30, but by Monday I was dying to get the hell out of that place. It wasn’t even the heat either, I’m used to that from ASU, but everything is just so damn expensive. Any move you make costs $20 minimum. So do yourself and your wallet/sanity/mental state a favor and get out as quick as you can. Vegas will eat you alive and feel no remorse.
All in all, my buddy had a good time which is nice and all but really I cared more about the two Celts wins I saw. Recap of last night is coming later today, it’s playoff time baby!!!