Saturday, July 21, 2007

NBA corruption--good news for Utah?

What a week of cold water in the faces of little sports fans. Baseball fans have an unpleasant juicer closing in on a hallowed record. NFL fans have a sicko indicted for incomprehensible acts of animal cruelty. And now, to those leagues' relief, the NBA is facing the biggest scandal in its history, a referee who might have been fixing games. What's next, WNBA players selling babies? At least there's no evidence that Real Salt Lake is doing anything like cheating. (It's worth a try, though...)

The big question, of course, is how does this affect us in Utah? Well, maybe it will keep the Rocky Mountain Revue in town a while longer. For non-Jazz fans, the Revue is a week-long rookie camp held here every July. Back in the day, it used to be at the Delta Center; now it's at the Salt Lake Community College. It used to host 11 teams; it now has 6 regulars.

At one time, attending the Revue was practically mandatory, rather than an "I guess we should go at least once this year" kind of thing. A group of us would skip out of work early and pay $3 -- now $10, and no senior discount, Grandma -- for our first look at Jazz draft picks like Jamie Watson, Quincy Lewis, and Scott Padgett. Granted, in most some years it was more exciting to watch other teams' picks. Remember Steve Nash's buzz cut? Remember Luther Wright's cluelessness? Ah, the memories...

Revue fans got real seats then, with backs and everything. Now one must arrive at the crack of dawn or else sit on someone's lap on a plastic bench. Still, the Revue has a certain charm. When Paul Millsap hit a three-pointer the other night to send the game against Atlanta into overtime, we all screamed our heads off as if Jordan had been called for the push off in '98.

Last week's D-News warned us that the Revue might be on its way out. Most teams now participate in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Will our rookies be debuting in Vegas some day? It was looking that way, but maybe this Tim Donaghy mess will help. The NBA has resisted putting a team in Vegas for years because they didn't want the specter of point shaving, game rigging, etc. They have enough trouble explaining Dick Bavetta.

Now, thanks to Quick-Whistle Donaghy, the corruption concern looms larger than ever. So come on, NBA, why put all your eggs in a Sin City rookie camp? What's the point, to teach the rookies early on to drink, carouse, and gamble? They'll learn that soon enough.

No, there's only one way to make this thing go away, Mr. Stern, and that's to move the NBA Summer League to the purest city in the league, a city with no gambling (except that damned bingo), a city where it takes an Excel spreadsheet and a compass to figure out how to get a drink. Now, where could that be...?


oussan said...

Two years ago when RSL was in its first scoring drought color commentator Wayne Scholes commmented that RSL looked as though they couldn't score in a whorehouse. RSL-fandom has been nothing if not exhausting, but I doubt we'd have much more success cheating! :(

As Vegas continues to grow, pro sports leagues increasingly seem unable to resist the temptation of such a unique and untapped market. There's an ambitious proposal for a soccer stadium (real turf field) and an accompanying MLS franchise; and despite Larry H. Miller's consistent opposition, it's clear the NBA's been looking closely at Vegas for some time now.

It seems like the NBA sees the Summer League in LV as the lesser of the two evils, and a way to sort of test the waters for future expansion. Such an alluring town, and so close to SoCal, it seems like a slam dunk for the league. Unfortunately, SLC and the Revue simply don't have the same cachet as "Sin City."

But, yeah, the NBA's gonna have to do something about the Tim Donaghy thing if they're going to convince anyone that LV is really in the league's future.

Anonymous said...

The nba stinks like no other, stern is to blame for the dumbing down of basketball. The nba commissioner should be required to have played the sport. stern is a bean counter and a sissy.

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