Let the games begin (cont.)
Posted: Friday February 16, 2007 3:00PM; Updated: Friday February 16, 2007 3:00PM
While Shaq and Wade didn't take part in the pool tournament, there was a star studded group of celebrities and athletes that did take part, including Ludacris, Terrell Owens, Vivica Fox, "Sugar" Shane Mosley, Dr. J, Magic Johnson, Reggie Bush, Akin Ayodele, Big Boi and Caron Butler. While the tournament, which took place in one of the hotel's grand ballrooms, was lighthearted, most didn't take their losses too well. "We lost in the first 15 minutes," said Cannon. "It was horrible. We lost to Dr. J. C'mon man. Pool table is furniture it's not a sport." When I asked Bush, who sitting on the edge of an empty pool table talking to Kim Kardashian towards the end of the tournament, why he wasn't playing he said, "I got knocked out by Scottie (freaking) Pippen. Can you believe that?"
Magic got into the spirit of the game by taking off his jacket and loosening his tie before he started his game. Although he was optimistic about his chances as he teamed with Big Boi, he was knocked out by the tandem of Bush and Ayodele. Nevertheless, Magic wasn't about to let the loss ruin his trip to Vegas. "Vegas is sexy, hot and full of entertainment," he said. "It's easy to get around. Everyplace that we've gone to before there's always been a traffic backup. You can't get to every party. That's not going to be a problem this year. Plus the parties will go until 5, 6, 7 in the morning so it's going to be fun."
Dr. J took a break from the action by laying his pool stick on a plush couch set up in the center of the ballroom besides the scantily clad dancers shaking it to Kanye West's Gold Digger. As he took in the scene with a bottle of bubbly chilling on ice in front of him, he was constantly being asked for pictures and autographs. "I played in 16 all-star games, 5 in the ABA and 11 in the NBA and no other player has played in 16 all-star games," he said. "I was always a player that the fans wanted to see and I always wanted to put on a show so that's my legacy."
T.O. was one of the bigger draws of the night for celebrities as he was approached through the night by the likes of Ludacris, Gabrielle Union and Queen Latifah. The Queen gave Owens grief about the way last season ended and Owens said. "We're going to be better next year." When she continued on about last season's let down, Owens said, "Who do you root for?" Latifah then smiled and said, "I root for you" and then hugged Owens. "I'm just playing with you." As Owens said goodbye to Queen Latifah, Roy Williams walked by and Owens yelled out at his teammate, "Hey Pro Bowler," he said. "That's the Pro Bowler right there."
I began the day feeling a bit out of place as I was invited to the exclusive MGM Sky Loft where Brand Jordan had taken over a two-floor corner suite where celebrities were rolling in and out, checking out all the Jordan shoes and apparel. The suite, which was located past a VIP door, golden gate and at the end of a long lighted hallway seemed like a sweet pad but it was put into perspective by one of the Brand Jordan reps. "If you think this is nice, you should see Jordan's actual suite."
Speaking of feeling out of place, I spent Valentine's Day escorting the lovely Julie Henderson and Yesica Toscanini to the SI Swimsuit Launch Party at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles. While I was supposed to catch a flight into Vegas the next morning, it's hard to leave a party where you find yourself sipping on champagne in between a couple of SI Swimsuit models. Oh, the things I do for this company.