One of the reasons why there’s no NBA team in Las Vegas is that David Stern and the rest of the league are utterly terrified of the effect that the gambling mecca would have on its players. There’s the inevitable point-shaving, and who knows how many glassy-eyed, hung over players who had been up gambling for 16 hours straight we’d have on our hands. And jail time. Lots of jail time. It’d be bad, right?
Oh, funny thing though. Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has a decidedly different view of gambling and its potential effects. Why else would he be providing his support to “Yes on Issue 3,” which would put casinos in Ohio? Check that - right in downtown Cleveland, which just so happens to be where the Cavaliers play. Opposite day!
You can watch Gilbert’s speech here, and while he makes a good point - if Ohioans are gambling anyway, why not keep the money in the local coffers - but it seems strange to see an NBA team owner advocating this, and on the NBA’s own website to boot. Is that appropriate?
After all, while most of the problems with putting a team in Las Vegas - lack of a good arena and an overload of entertainment options, most notably - don’t apply to Cleveland, directly allying the league with gambling in the wake of the Tim Donaghy/Scott Foster mess seems like a curious move, to say the least.
And then there’s the fact that the cultures of casinos and the NBA just don’t mix very well. This, from Las Vegas’ KLAS-TV after the NBA’s 2007 All-Star Game (emphasis ours):
Sheriff Doug Gillespie says his officers performed as they should have and prevented total chaos at the NBA events. He calls the weekend a success from a police standpoint.
There were a total of 403 arrests. “The presence of police officers were very instrumental, I believe, in keeping this event as safe as it was,” Sheriff Gillespie said.
Still, there were four shootings related to NBA events. A shooting in front of the Minxx Gentlemen’s Club injured three people. Witnesses say a fight inside the club led to the shooting outside.
Estrella, a Minxx dancer said, “A famous rapper, Nelly, came in. He spent so much money that people and customers were just going crazy.”
Three people were shot. One still remains in critical condition at the hospital.
Let’s go ahead and bring all that to Cleveland. LeBron won’t mind!