The Morning Column: September 23, 2021

It’s looking more and more like the last pro sports league to come to Las Vegas will be the NBA. The league has no plans to expand or relocate while Vegas officials work to add an MLB and MLS team.

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1. 🎰 Las Vegas continues to grow as a pro sports town

For years it was widely believed that if Las Vegas ever became a professional sports town, it would be because of the NBA. Not only did the city embrace the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels basketball team as if it was their pro team (hold your jokes) but several NBA teams had made Las Vegas their home away from home.

The Utah Jazz played 13 “home” games from 1983 to 1985 at the Thomas and Mack Center and the Lakers played preseason games there and were even forced to play a postseason game there in 1992 during the riots. The 2007 NBA All-Star Game being held in Las Vegas was supposed to be a huge moment but probably set the city back a decade in terms of getting a professional sports teams after there were reportedly over 400 arrests during a chaotic weekend marred by shootings and fights.

Las Vegas recovered and opened T-Mobile Arena in 2016, welcomed their first professional sports team, the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights in 2017, their second team in 2018 with the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces and recently opened up the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders.

It’s looking more and more like the last professional sports league that will come to Las Vegas – if it actually ever happens – will be the NBA. The first league to embrace Sin City currently has no plans to expand or relocate. Meanwhile Las Vegas officials are working on attracting an MLB team and an MLS team over the next few years.

Executives from the Oakland Athletics have made numerous trips to Las Vegas over the past year, looking at different locations for a possible $1 billion new stadium. A’s president Dave Kaval told the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently that they have reduced their list of potential stadium sites in Las Vegas from 20 to 10-12 and will release a list of the finalists sometime after the World Series.

MLS commissioner Don Garber was in Las Vegas on Wednesday to watch the Seattle Sounders face Club Leon of Liga MX in the Leagues Cup Final at Allegiant Stadium and said Las Vegas is going to be a great soccer market and a great MLS market. While Las Vegas hasn’t officially been awarded an MLS expansion team yet, Garber said he hopes Las Vegas will get an expansion team, which is as good an endorsement as you’re going to get.

Maybe Las Vegas will get an NBA team at some point. Until then, however, they will continue to be the home away from home for many teams and players. This week, for example, the Utah Jazz announced they would be holding training camp in Las Vegas with practices taking place at the Wynn Las Vegas and LeBron James will be leading a mini camp before training camp this weekend in Las Vegas for the Los Angeles Lakers at Impact Basketball.

2. 🎤 Dwight Howard on ‘The Masked Singer’

Lakers center Dwight Howard was on Fox’s “The Masked Singer” Wednesday night and sang Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” while wearing an octopus costume. Howard said he wanted to go on the show because it’s his mother’s favorite television program and he wanted to surprise her and he picked “Tutti Frutti” because his sister’s nickname is Tutti and that’s her favorite song.

Here’s Dwight’ performance and the big reveal.   

3. 🎶 Song of the Day 🎶

4. 📸 Photo of the Day

5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada

Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:

6. 📆 Sept. 23, 1962: Maury Wills shatters Ty Cobb’s stolen base record

On this day 59 years ago, Maury Wills tied Ty Cobb’s stolen base record in the third inning and broke it in the seventh inning in the Dodgers’ 12-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium. Wills would go on to steal 104 bases; shattering Cobbs’ record of 96, which was set in 1915. Wills didn’t just set an individual record that season but he stole more bases than every other MLB team in 1962.  

7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Matt Kemp

Happy birthday to Matt Kemp. The former Dodgers outfielder is turning 37 years old today. Kemp was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2003 MLB draft and was with the team from 2006-2014 and again in 2018. He was a three-time all-star (2011, 2012, 2018) and should have won the NL MVP in 2011 when he was the NL leader in home runs, RBI, runs scored, total bases, OPS+ and WAR. He also won the Hank Aaron Award, Gold Glove award and Silver Slugger award. Ryan Braun, who won the NL MVP, later admitted to and apologized for using PEDs in 2011.

8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub

Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game:

⚾️ Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – $6

9. 📺 On The Air

⚾️ 12:00 p.m. – Los Angeles Dodgers at Colorado Rockies – SportsNet LA

⚾️ 6:30 p.m. – Houston Astros at Los Angeles Angels – Bally Sports West

10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show 

On Wednesday’s show we talked about Albert Pujols coming up big for the Dodgers again and if the Dodgers can find a way to win the NL West.

Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Play and Stitcher.

And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc SteinHenry AbbottChad Ford and Ethan Sherwood Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight and Joe Posnanski on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.

That’s it for today. I’m on the road tomorrow. See you on Monday!