The NBA has previously explored playing in Las Vegas and focused their efforts on the Thomas & Mack Center where the league held the 2007 All-Star Game.
However, given the tight configuration of the arena, the NBA decided against such citing multiple concerns, one of them regarding player safety. Unhappy with how close the basket stand was to the court and the inability to move it, NBA basketball was not going to happen in Las Vegas before changes were made.
Of course, international basketball is a different story and Team USA decided to use the venue as their home base for training camp. Things were working according to plan until Friday night when Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered a career-threatening injury thanks in part to the basket stand the NBA had previously shown concern over.
But Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird, who understandably would have every right to be upset, says the injury to Paul George was a freak incident and suggested it could have occurred anytime, anywhere.
”We still support USA Basketball and believe in the NBA’s goals of exposing our game, our teams and players worldwide. This is an extremely unfortunate injury that occurred on a highly-visible stage, but could also have occurred anytime, anywhere.”
While that does hold some truth to it, it’s very unlikely such an injury from the result of the basket stand would have happened in the NBA given the fact it’s over two feet further away. Still, it’s a very stoic show of support for all parties involved by Bird, who has to be nauseated internally knowing the devastating nature of the injury suffered by Paul George.