Reports of crime and violence in Las Vegas during All-Star weekend have NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter concerned about New Orleans' ability to host the NBA's midseason party next season.We just got finished with Mardi Gras, and the NBA Players Association is worried we won’t be able to handle the NBA All-Star game a year from now.
Reports of crime and violence in Las Vegas during All-Star weekend have NBA Players Association executive director Billy Hunter concerned about New Orleans' ability to host the NBA's midseason party next season.
On Monday, Hunter told Newsday that he'll take the NBA to court to try and move the game if New Orleans, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, can't prove it's ready to handle the event.
"If the union is not convinced that the city can accommodate the All-Star Game, it's an issue that will be subject to litigation between the union and the league," Hunter said.I am not going to say that we are walking on rose petals down here. But, I think the NBA Players Association executive director’s concerns say more about the NBA’s problems than NOLA’s problems.
Hunter is concerned that post-Katrina New Orleans does not have a big enough police force or enough resources to handle the crowd that comes with an NBA All-Star Game.
"First of all, their police force is dissipated. They're probably dealing with half the force they had before," Hunter told Newsday. "They don't have all the resources that we will need to properly police the city. They've got a serious crime problem as it is. And so what are they going to do?"
Cliff’s Crib links to a couple of stories on the NBA’s issues. The author of the stories, Jason Whitlock, also addresses some greater issues in the African-American community. For New Orleans’ purpose, here’s the relevant point:
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.Of course, Whitlock also wrote:
NBA All-Star Weekend in Vegas was an unmitigated failure, and any thoughts of taking the extravaganza to New Orleans in 2008 are total lunacy.I have a little more confidence than Whitlock in our city’s ability to host major events without problems. It’s the day-to-day operation of the city that we can’t handle.
Without a full-scale military occupation, New Orleans will not survive All-Star Weekend 2008.
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.
Et tu, Shaq Fu?
"I'm not sure if the city of New Orleans is ready for something like that," Shaquille O'Neal, who played at LSU, told Newsday. "I don't know what New Orleans' situation is, but from watching the Spike Lee special and watching the news, it doesn't look like it's ready for something like that."At least he is watching the news.
I am no longer a fan.