Over the weekend, right when I was on the verge of snapping due to lack-of-vacation, I got the word: I’d be going to Vegas with our friends at Nike for the unveiling of the LeBron V sneakers, and in the meantime, I’d be able to catch a Team USA practice. Perfect timing: a puts-my-Brooklyn-apartment-to-shame hotel room courtesy of the Swoosh, a couple nights in the Other City That Never Sleeps, a sneak peek at LeBron’s latest kicks, and I get to check out some of the NBA’s best all in one spot. (The only downside is that my man Kevin Durant just got cut from the U.S. squad, so I won’t get to see him drop buckets until the preseason.)
As cool as Vegas itself is, I have yet to have a great airport/flight experience on the way there or back. Last time I went, for All-Star ’07, me and Cass barely made it through a grueling 7-hour wait in the cramped NYC airport; it got so bad by the time they let us on the plane I thought a scene from 300 was about to break out. And on the way back following the All-Star Game, the turbulence/hangover factors didn’t mix well.
This time, soon as I get through security at JFK and grab something to eat, some ladies nearby start screaming that they saw a mouse and are standing on chairs. Of course, no one else sees the alleged mouse. (By the way, do you know Burger King has something called a “Quad Stacker”? FOUR patties, FOUR slices of cheese AND bacon. That’s just gross.)
On the plane before we take off, a couple in front of me has this exchange:
Guy: Every time you go to Vegas you play this character who has to drink a lot.
Girl: That’s not true. I drink a lot wherever I go out.
After six hours of turbulence, I land in Vegas, get through the guy screaming at everyone in the taxi line unscathed, and finally to the Palms. Soon as I walk in, I see a bunch of guys in Team Lithuania jackets — either a soccer team or a basketball team, I figure. And on my way to my room, Sam Dalembert walks past me, following behind two people with him and looking like he just wants to go to bed since it’s almost 3 a.m. East Coast time. For a half-second I wanna introduce myself and tell him how we’ve given him the “Dalembeast” nickname at work.
I didn’t do much last night (too tired), but in a couple hours I’ll be at Team USA practice, and after that, hanging with LeBron. I’ll check back in and let you all know how everything goes …