It's got its own full-service bar, and a 10-person Jacuzzi in the middle of the living room (you know--in case the cheerleaders get sweaty). One of the Murphy beds folds down right under the hoop. You can literally sleep in the lane, thus approximating life as Greg Ostertag.
When the game's over, it's time to get out there. Well, not out there, among the great unwashed, of course. No, the Palms takes you into the high-roller VIP gaming room, where if you play blackjack for $15,000 a hand, the suite is on them.
Don't try to bet on an NBA game, though. It's not allowed at the Palms. Hell, at one time people were disgusted that the NBA allowed a casino owner to have a team at all, but that's so 15 minutes ago. The NBA All-Star Game will be in Las Vegas in 2007, and guess which is the players' hotel.
If your cards earn you a little stackable legal tender, why not splurge at the in-hotel tattoo parlor? It's a little touch the Maloofs put in especially for tatted-up, posse-dragging superstar jocks--and those who want to act like tatted-up, posse-dragging superstar jocks. A Milwaukee Brewer was just in and got something cool: baseball stitches ringing his right biceps. But you get yourself a full-color Satan ($600).
Won't Mom be proud?
It's almost two in the morning, which means Rain, the Palm's achingly cool hip-hop club, will really start hipping and/or hopping. You want to be in the VIP section? Please. You'll be in the VIP section inside the VIP section--one of six luxury skyboxes with your own bartender ($1,000). As your gyrating fans look up at you, you can gaze down at them like the Pope from his balcony at St. Peter's.
They say scandalous things happen in those skyboxes, but you are comforted by the hotel's motto: What happens at the Palms never happened.
Sadly, the sun comes up and it's time to get back to the real world--playing boring old pro basketball in front of packed houses of adoring fans who would give a kidney and a half to be you for a weekend. You've gone through about $75,000, not counting gambling wins or losses.
And you think, Damn, at only $9 million a year, it's going to take me more than half a game to make it back! �
? For photos of Rick Reilly's Vegas adventure, go to SI.com/reillyvegas. If you have a comment for Rick, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.