Calling attention to the commenter who claims I am "racist" for daring to write about a legitimate problem, I give you these words about the All Star weekend from African American columnist, Jason Whitlock:
I was there. Walking The Strip this weekend must be what it feels like to walk the yard at a maximum security prison. You couldn't relax. You avoided eye contact. The heavy police presence only reminded you of the danger.
Without a full-scale military occupation, New Orleans will not survive All-Star Weekend 2008.
David Stern seriously needs to consider moving the event out of the country for the next couple of years in hopes that young, hip-hop hoodlums would find another event to terrorize. Taking the game to Canada won't do it. The game needs to be moved overseas, someplace where the Bloods and Crips and hookers and hoes can't get to it without a passport and plane ticket.
I'm serious. Stern has spent the past three years trying to move his league and players past the thug image Ron Artest's fan brawl stamped on the NBA.
After this weekend, I'm convinced he's losing the battle. All-Star Weekend Vegas screamed that the NBA is aligned too closely with thugs. Stern is going to have to take drastic measures to break that perception/reality. All-Star Weekend can no longer remain the Woodstock for parolees, wannabe rap artists and baby's mamas on tax-refund vacations.
This was not a byproduct of the game being held in Vegas. All-Star Weekend has been on this path for the past five or six years. Every year the event becomes more and more a destination for troublemakers.
If something isn't done, next year's All-Star Weekend will surpass the deceased Freaknik, a weekend-long party in Atlanta, in terms of lawlessness. Wide-spread looting and a rape killed the Freaknik in 1999.
The NBA's image cannot survive bedlam in the French Quarter. And I'm not sure it can survive the embarrassment of a New Orleans standoff between its fans and the National Guard, either.
If Stern wants to continue to strengthen the international appeal of his game, he has the perfect excuse to move the All-Star Game to Germany, China, England or anywhere Suge Knight's posse can't find it.
300 arrests in two days. Three people shot and a brawl - in those same two days.
No, I'm not talking about what happened in Iraq over the weekend; I'm talking about the NBA all star weekend in Las Vegas. I don't want to say anything offensive here, but could there perhaps be a cultural breakdown with the average basketball player's entourage? Just sayin' - you wouldn't see these headlines after the NHL all star weekend...