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Why I didn't go to Vegas for the All Star Break -- This time.
by: Rodrique Benson
February 20, 2007
It’s late Sunday afternoon. I’ve got to connect flights in Albuquerque, New Mexico on my way to Fort Worth. As I enjoy my Quizno’s and the free wifi, I sign onto AIM and there’s an away message that catches my eye:

“Can somebody help me define a word? I need to know what the word PROBATE means. I think I know. There’s this white girl who shows up at all the basketball games. We call that B!&$# PRO-BATE.”

I then remember that he, along with many people I know, went to Las Vegas for All-Star weekend. I then notice that he, along with many people I know, was already back from Vegas – never ever saw the game. The All-Star GAME was really not why anyone went to Vegas, I don’t really know anyone who watched it. In fact, while I was still at the airport, a guy behind me says to one of his buddies “Ice skating is the only sporting event going on tonight.” I think to myself that he, like the guys in that new “ESPNNews” commercial, was talking sports of his a—out of ignorance. I mean, even if you don’t watch the game, you gotta at least know it’s goin on!

I had the chance to go to Vegas, and I didn’t take it. No, not because I wasn’t a D-League All Star (because that would have actually been kinda tight if so), and not because I didn’t know anyone there. I didn’t go for two reasons. The first, and probably more practical reason, was that at one of our NBDL seminars (yep, we have seminars) we were warned against getting too wild out in Vegas, and told the consequences that would come down if we were caught “wild’n out” in the Sin City. The second reason I didn’t go is that I really, really wanted to “wild out”. Haha, and I wanted to do it Berkeley style where nearly all my friends were waiting to ask me questions about how crazy it is to live in North Dakota (One girl actually asked if it bordered North Carolina, seriously), and where they would be willing to have a very low key good time.

So I heard about the craziness that was All Star weekend 2007 through IM’s, Texts, and Voicemails (No way could a call get through before 5AM, it was far to wild out there for that). One guy’s away message reads “Vegas Baby! Vegas!” Another reads “Man, why are all these women out here wearing so little.” I get the feeling that it’s basically Groupie-Fest 2007 going on out there. I take that back, it’s more like the first and only Groupie-Fest until the next All-Star game in Vegas. It seems that everyone I know out there has gotten in with someone who knows someone, or maybe even a big time celebrity. A pretty good-looking girl I know has an away message that says “So I met the owners of the Palms, they invited us to their party, where we met D-Wade and his crew who invited us to THEIR party! I’m sitting there thinking “Great. Now D-Wade has her in his ‘5’, I’m blown out of the water…I don’t even have T-Mobile.” She’s by no means a groupie, but who could resist the chance to party with D-Wade, heck I wanna party with him too. Maybe I should try to meet Charles first.

Fact of the matter is that the NBA made this whole Friday – Saturday thing the biggest production of all time. A couple of my teammates got a chance to go because they are NBDL All-Stars. I met up with one of them, Quemont Greer, at the Dallas-Ft.Worth Airport late last night as we both finally got back from our respective trips. I start to tell him the crazy weekend I had. How I was at a club on Friday, using the bathroom and, in my rush to get in there, forgot to lock the stall. I figured it didn’t matter anyways because my head is easily visible over the door and it was a #1 job (you don’t #2 at a club). Some guy walks right in like nobody was there and just watches me. I confront him like “Mann what the hell are you doing?” I guess because he was so drunk, he just kinda pretended like he didn’t hear me. I really wanted to fight him but my friends calmed me down – besides, I’m no fighter. But anyways, I tell “Q” this story and he kind of nods and laughs a little. I’m thinking how can he not be more impressed? Then he pulls out a cigar that I guess costs more than a Playstation 3 and tells the story of how he got it. Dammit, it was wwayyy better than my stupid story. Then, later on the drive, he’s holding a folded thing that has a kind of basketball-like pebbling on it. He hands it to me. I open it up and inside is an oversized casino chip…with Jamie Foxx’s photo on it. The thing is a coddamn invitation to a party. No joke the planning, production, and design, of the invitation probably cost more than the cigar – each. It’s not like these things were mass-produced.
Quemont Greer, D-League All-Star, had been invited to probably the biggest party on Sunday night but couldn’t go. I read the thing, and it was unbelievable what it said. The Oversized chip was blue and white and said the party was from 9PM to 5AM, the date, and it noted the location. The chip was magnetic and stuck to the folded basketball pebbled encasing. I took out the chip and there was a message in silver writing (I’m sure people would say that the color was Platinum or something just for effect) that made the whole thing just really ascetically pleasing. It said:
“Taste the luxury, feel the beat as Marc and Taz present, not just another star studded Gala, but a truly life defining moment. Secure your place in entertainment history as you strut up the red carpet in the finest Vegas experience ever to hit the strip. You may never again have this opportunity to stand up and be counted.”
Man if I had gone down to Vegas and got this invite, would people really say I’ve secured my “place in entertainment history”? “Rod Benson, Sixth Man for the Dakota Wizards, just came in, no00o0 wayyyy! You see him? On the red carpet! Have you read his blogs? This guy DEFINITELY DESERVES TO BE HERE! What a truly life defining moment this must be for him.” I actually have aspirations of one day attending parties like this, but that’s when I have to money to afford to buy one drink in that bad boy. I guess maybe that’s part of why I didn’t go as well. I could picture exactly what happens. I try to get close to big time friends I have out there, clinging to them like an annoying little brother who you know is too young to get into an “R” rated movie. Through my use of my wit, skill, and intelligence, I finally find my way into Jay-Z’s party. There are now Super Groupies from around the country who have come out here to “stand up and be counted” and they assume I’m somebody real big time. Alas, I can’t even buy them a drink. I can’t even afford a meal really, if it weren’t for the extra Per Diem.

In the end I guess the small-fish-in-a-big-pond thing just isn’t my cup of tea. I went to Berkeley to watch my boys play, and win, against Oregon and Oregon State. I may not be a “Big” fish out there, but I’m solid. If Berkeley were really an ocean I’d be like Sebastian from “The Little Mermaid” whereas if I was in Vegas I’d be closer to Nemo from “Finding Nemo.” It’s good I didn’t go to Vegas and overdo it too early, because when I do get into the NBA, I’ll have more fun at those types of things than I ever could being a wide eyed D-Leaguer. For now, I have to focus on the Ft. Worth Flyers and a fellow named Pops if I ever want to get there. You can see funny videos, pics, and stories from this past weekend in Berkeley on www.toomuchrodbenson.com
 


Feedback for this article may be sent to rzb0@yahoo.com .

 

Quemont Greer
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 245 lbs.
Birthday: 12/07/1981
32 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Berkshire Academy
Previous Team: DePaul , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: SF/PF,
NBA: SF/PF,
Possible: SF
Quick Stats:
11.0 Pts, 5.4 Rebs, 1.3 Asts


Rod Benson
Full Profile | Player Stats
Physicals
Height: 6' 10"
Weight: 235 lbs.
Birthday: 10/10/1984
29 Years Old
Teams:
High School: Torrey Pines
Previous Team: California , PRO
Drafted: Undrafted in Draft
Positions:
Current: PF/C,
NBA: PF/C,
Possible: PF/C
Quick Stats:
4.8 Pts, 2.5 Rebs, 0.8 Asts


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