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Voodoo Road Trip: At the NBA Summer League with Dominique Jones and Mark Cuban

Road trip is kind of pushing it as I live about five minutes from the Thomas and Mack Center, and of course Dominique's first game as a pro was too important to miss. So I woke up at a reasonable hour for once, and headed down the street with my snazzy new Flip Cam to cover the first day of what we all hope is a long and successful pro career for a former Bull.

If you're an NBA junkie, I can't recommend a trip to the Summer League highly enough. I sat next to the budding entourages of two emerging players, who were very willing to share their thoughts on the game with insightful commentary such as "he sorry" and "break him down yo!" I saw Ty Lawson miss wide open jump shots, which was of course the knock on him coming out of UNC.  I saw Coby Karl find a professional basketball game where he was a factor instead of the guy in a suit.  I saw that Harvard's Jeremy Lin might be the best player to come out of the Ivy League since Bill Bradley, and he might become a decent role guy in the NBA. I goofed on Ric Bucher for getting scooped on Bosh/LeBron/Wade by Stephen A. Smith (as did everyone who covers the League, and QUITE FRANKLY I didn't see that coming). However, since I couldn't get anyone to go with me, and I think drinking alone is a sign you have a problem, I didn't take advantage of either the beer stand or the rather awesome Jack Daniels concession booth. And yes, both were doing quite a brisk business at 1pm on a Friday. Only in Vegas, people.

My original goal was to talk to Cuban about Dominique at halftime, but he got swarmed (and I do mean swarmed, he was easily the most popular person in the building) by real media people. This was the day following the LeBron debacle and Dan Gilbert's Comic Sans reaction, therefore it made sense that the press would deluge the NBA owner most likely to give you a great quote. So I ended up chasing him down the stairs of the Cox Pavilion after the game was over. Sorry for the sloppy camera work, but it was 115 degrees outside, and I don't move like I once did.

Our postgame interview with Dominique, after the jump:

I was hoping to have a little more fun with Dominique, maybe give him a chance to pop his NBA jersey and talk a little trash to everyone back in Tampa that didn't think he'd be a first round pick. But you could see that he was clearly upset and disappointed with his performance, despite having 19 points and scoring the first six for the Mavs. He also admitted to being nervous, and it did show a couple times. It'll be interesting to see how he settles in as the Summer League season continues.

Although the basketball can sometimes be painful to watch (tons of turnovers, guys that don't really know each other and haven't practiced much at all trying to work together, basically a glorified pickup game), the atmosphere and surrounding accoutrements are just tremendous. I can't recommend the Summer League enough if you're ever in Vegas in July. However asking $28 for a ticket to watch teams of mostly scrubs run into each other and throw up bricks is basically robbery, even if you do get four games out of it.  Hey NBA league office, how about a locals discount or something?

But I will be heading back before the summer road show leaves town for sure.  Any questions you might have for DoJo, put them in the comments and I'll ask him the next time I head back over.