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July 30, 2014

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Q+A: George Maloof

What: NBA All-Star Jam Session

Where: Mandalay Bay South Convention Center

When: 4 to 10 p.m., Thursday-Friday ; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday , 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday-Monday

D-League All-Star Game, 4 p.m. Saturday; Mandalay Bay

Ticket prices: $20 for adults; $12 for children 3 to 12 years old, senior citizens and military personnel; free for children 2 and younger

On sale: Mandalay Bay Box Office, Ticketmaster locations in Las Vegas, ticketmaster.com and (800) 462-2849

SOLD OUT

Celebrity game, 4 p.m. Friday; Mandalay Bay

Rookie All-Star Game, 6 p.m. Friday; Thomas & Mack Center

East practice session, 11 a.m. Saturday; Mandalay Bay

West practice session, 1:30 p.m. Saturday; Mandalay Bay

Dunk, 3-point shooting and skill contests, 5 p.m. Saturday; Thomas & Mack Center

All-Star Game, 5 p.m. Sunday; Thomas & Mack Center

Five years ago the Brothers Maloof sat together at an NBA All-Star game and thought out loud about Las Vegas one day playing host to that midseason marquee game and its many peripheral festivities. The subject did not get broached again.

Early in 2005 Joe and Gavin Maloof, who run the Sacramento Kings for the Maloof empire, placed a midnight call to brother George Jr., who runs the Palms for the family. They left a message:

We might be able to get the 2007 All-Star game for Las Vegas. Do you think it can happen?

When George, who left Albuquerque to play football and study hotel management at UNLV in 1984, called back, he had a to-do list as long as his arm.

Within the next 24 hours, he made about five dozen calls to key figures in the city, county and state. Less than four months later, the NBA agreed, for the first time, to play an All-Star game in a non-NBA city.

All-Star merchandise in the gift shop of the Palms, the players' headquarters, ranges from $22 caps to $20 T-shirts to $6 shot glasses. Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas, Dwyane Wade of Miami and murals of other players adorn pillars on the gaming floor and the wall of the registration desk.

Outside Junior's conservatively appointed office on the "hidden" third floor of the property hangs a 6-foot oil painting of his father, George Sr., in front of a building being constructed in Albuquerque. The day after the building opened, in 1980, Senior was struck by a fatal heart attack at 56.

With a camera crew from a cable show documenting his day last week, George Maloof Jr., 42, talked about working those phones, testing his network and the chances of Las Vegas landing an NBA franchise.

Q: After that midnight call from your brothers, whom did you ring first?

I think (Station Casino owners) Lorenzo Fertitta, then Frank (Fertitta).

Then I just went down the line, calling the closest people I knew: (Boyd Gaming Chairman and Chief Executive) Bill Boyd, (Wynn Resorts owner) Steve Wynn, (MGM Grand Chairman) Terry Lanni, (Harrah's Entertainment Chairman and Chief Executive) Gary Loveman, Las Vegas Mayor (Oscar) Goodman, (Las Vegas Sands Chairman) Sheldon Adelson.

What did you tell them?

I told them the city had the opportunity to bring the All-Star game to Las Vegas, but that we'd have to take the NBA All-Star game off the (sports) books. I was sure the NBA would require it. How do you feel about it? Would you support it? I had to get a comfort level there. Everyone was on board.

Then I had to get a comfort level with the Gaming Control Board. I called the members of the board to make sure they were comfortable. Then I called the County Commissioners. I called Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (President) Rossi Ralenkotter. (Maloof attorney) Frank Schreck was a huge help with the whole legal process. Everybody was 100 percent behind it. There was a 24-hour period when every thing happened, and I didn't have one negative response.

Was that a test of your connections and relationships in the city?

We all get along. This is a great community. We've done business everywhere, all over the country. There's just something special and positive about Las Vegas. People make things happen here. We compete. But, at the end of the day, it's about the community.

Why will it be so great for the community and kids?

You'll see when the athletes show up. People are fascinated with the whole league. The marketing. It's just fun. Cool. The Jam Session at Mandalay Bay ... you've got to see it. In a town that has great events like the National Finals Rodeo, one of my favorite events each year ... it's just another great opportunity that makes our community special and different. We needed to go for it.

What was the biggest challenge?

Coordination, working together, is always the biggest challenge. The details. Making sure everything goes off. We've been meeting, internally, at the Palms for six months. We meet now on a daily basis. You know what to expect, but you don't know how it'll play out.

Do you like the sound of Las Vegas Kings?

(Maloof laughs) The Las Vegas Kings? Hmmm. It's hard. We're so damn loyal to Sacramento and the fans up there. That's my reaction. We just have great loyalty to that community. But we need an arena that's best for that community.

Mayor Goodman said playing host to an All-Star game is a "giant step" toward Las Vegas getting a team. Do you agree?

I would agree with that. I think it's a great step. Yeah. Absolutely. I would agree with that.

What needs to be done?

The first would be a comfort level with the NBA about the gambling part of it. That has to be solved. I think that can be figured out. Obviously, you have to have a facility. We don't have one in this community right now. That's probably the biggest hurdle. Then, (he laughs) a team.

Might there one day be a Maloof Arena in Las Vegas?

Us, the Maloofs, build an arena here? You can't finance an arena privately. Nobody does it. Doesn't make sense.

Wasn't Staples Center in Los Angeles a privately financed endeavor?

That was rare. You need help. You have to have public help. You can't do it privately. Doesn't make sense. No, I don't see us doing that.

Have NBA Commissioner David Stern and his lieutenants done their due diligence to learn how well gaming in Nevada is policed and regulated?

David Stern is a brilliant guy, first of all. He does his homework, unlike any human being I've ever met. I don't know if that answers your question, but he does his homework. He has a great understanding of what the NBA is and where he wants it to go. Obviously, with the owners' involvement, he gets it. He's a man who can change his mind. But he understands it. He has a great vision, he really does.

Isn't Stern adamantly against gambling?

Maybe the NBA sees it as a risk. Why take that risk? I think that can change. That attitude can change.

Could an NBA team come to Las Vegas without the Maloofs being involved?

I've never thought of that. Sure. We wouldn't be against a team coming here. That's an interesting question. For me, personally, it would be great to have our team here; I wouldn't have to fly anywhere. I don't know how my brothers or mother would feel. But it would be great to leave the Palms and see our team play (here, regularly). But our team is in Sacramento. I don't mind flying out there, either.

What about an NBA team coming here if the books only have to take down wagers on a Las Vegas team?

I think that could probably happen. I think that's a great idea.

What about only taking down Las Vegas games when its team plays at home?

That would be even better. I think that would be great. I think having an NBA team here and having no restrictions on any betting, like we do with UNLV, is just fine. The next step would be to restrict (bets) on that team, which I don't think is necessary. As a casino owner, I would be in favor of that, yes. Taking the entire league off? No. Taking the local team off? Probably.

It's the first time the game will be played in a non-NBA city, but Las Vegas isn't your average non-NBA city, is it?

No, that's why I think it's special. The anticipation is so unreal, and the excitement is just building. It's already here. We have the best events in the world. This is another one, but one that hasn't been done before. Having an NBA presence and event here is remarkable.

Eastern Conference All-Stars lead all-time series 3421.

YEAR, CITY, MVP

1951, Boston, Ed Macauley, Boston Celtics

1952, Boston, Paul Arizin, Philadelphia Warriors

1953, Fort Wayne, Ind., George Mikan, Minn. Lakers

1954, New York, Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics

1955, New York, Bill Sharman, Boston Celtics

1956, Rochester, N.Y., Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks

1957, Boston, Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics

1958, St. Louis, Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks

1959, Detroit, Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks; Elgin Baylor, Minn. Lakers

1960, Philadelphia, Wilt Chamberlain, Philadelphia Warriors

1961, Syracuse, N.Y., Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals

1962, St. Louis, Bob Pettit, St. Louis Hawks

1963, Los Angeles, Bill Russell, Boston Celtics

1964, Boston, Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals

1965, St. Louis, Jerry Lucas, Cincinnati Royals

1966, Cincinnati, Adrian Smith, Cincinnati Royals

1967, San Francisco, Rick Barry, San Francisco Warriors

1968, New York, Hal Greer, Philadelphia 76ers

1969, Baltimore, Oscar Robertson, Cincinnati Royals

1970, Philadelphia, Willis Reed, New York Knicks

1971, San Diego, Lenny Wilkens, Sea. SuperSonics

1972, Inglewood, Calif., Jerry West, L.A. Lakers

1973, Chicago, Dave Cowens, Boston Celtics

1974, Seattle, Bob Lanier, Detroit Pistons

1975, Phoenix, Walt Frazier, New York Knicks

1976, Philadelphia, Dave Bing, Washington Bullets

1977, Milwaukee, Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers

1978, Atlanta, Randy Smith, Buffalo Braves

1979, Pontiac, Mich., David Thompson, Denver Nuggets

1980, Landover, Md., George Gervin, San Antonio Spurs

1981, Richfield, Ohio, Nate Archibald, Boston Celtics

1982, East Rutherford, N.J., Larry Bird, Boston Celtics

1983, Inglewood, Calif., Julius Erving, Philadelphia 76ers

1984, Denver, Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

1985, Indianapolis, Ralph Sampson, Houston Rockets

1986, Dallas, Isiah Thomas, Detroit Pistons

1987, Seattle, Tom Chambers, Sea. SuperSonics

1988, Chicago, Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

1989, Houston, Karl Malone, Utah Jazz

1990, Miami, Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers

1991, Charlotte, N.C., Charles Barkley, Philadelphia 76ers

1992, Orlando, Fla., Magic Johnson, L.A. Lakers

1993, Salt Lake City, Karl Malone, Utah Jazz; John Stockton, Utah Jazz

1994, Minneapolis, Scottie Pippen, Chicago Bulls

1995, Phoenix, Mitch Richmond, Sacramento Kings

1996, San Antonio, Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

1997, Cleveland, Glen Rice, Charlotte Hornets

1998, New York, Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls

1999, Canceled because of lockout. Scheduled for Philadelphia

2000, Oakland, Calif., Shaquille ONeal, L.A. Lakers Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

2001, Washington, D.C., Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

2002, Philadelphia, Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers

2003, Atlanta, Kevin Garnett, Minn. Timberwolves

2004, Los Angeles, Shaquille ONeal, L.A. Lakers

2005, Denver, Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers

2006, Houston, LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

2007, Las Vegas

2008, New Orleans

Player (team)

Pos. Ht./Wt. School/Country

STARTERS

Gilbert Arenas (Washington)

G 6-4/210 Arizona

Chris Bosh (Toronto)

F 6-10/235 Georgia Tech

LeBron James (Cleveland)

F 6-8/245 St. Vincent/ St. Mary (HS)

Shaquille ONeal (Miami)

C 7-1/325 LSU

Dwyane Wade (Miami)

G 6-4/212 Marquette

RESERVES

Chauncey Billups (Detroit)

G 6-3/202 Colorado

Caron Butler (Washington)

F 6-7/228 Connecticut

Vince Carter (New Jersey)

G-F 6-6/220 North Carolina

Richard Hamilton (Detroit)

G-F 6-7/193 Connecticut

Dwight Howard (Orlando)

C-F 6-11/265 SW Atlanta Christian (HS)

Jason Kidd (New Jersey)

G 6-4/210 California

Jermaine ONeal (Indiana)

F-C 6-11/260 Eau Claire (HS)

Head coach: Eddie Jordan (Washington)

WESTERN CONFERENCE STARTERS

Kobe Bryant (L.A. Lakers)

G 6-6/220 Lower Merion (HS)

Tim Duncan (San Antonio)

F 7-0/260 Wake Forest

Kevin Garnett (Minnesota)

F 6-11/220 Farragut Academy (HS)

Tracy McGrady (Houston)

G 6-8/210 Mount Zion Academy (HS)

*Yao Ming (Houston)

C 7-6/310 China

RESERVES

**Carmelo Anthony (Denver)

F 6-8/230 Syracuse

*Carlos Boozer (Utah)

F-C 6-9 /266 Duke

**Josh Howard (Dallas)

F 6-7/210 Wake Forest

Allen Iverson (Denver)

G 6-0/165 Georgetown

Shawn Marion (Phoenix)

F 6-7/228 UNLV

Steve Nash (Phoenix)

G 6-3/195 Santa Clara

Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas)

F 7-0/245 Germany

Tony Parker (San Antonio)

G 6-2/180 France

Amare Stoudemire (Phoenix)

C 6-10/245 Cypress Creek (HS)

Head coach: Mike DAntoni (Phoenix)

*Out with injury; **Injury replacement

SLAM DUNK CHAMPION

Nate Robinson, New York, 2006

Josh Smith, Atlanta, 2005

Fred Jones, Indiana, 2004

Jason Richardson, Golden State, 2003

Jason Richardson, Golden State, 2003

Desmond Mason, Seattle, 2001

Vince Carter, Toronto, 2000

Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers, 1997

Brent Barry, L.A. Clippers, 1996

Harold Miner, Miami, 1995

Isaiah Rider, Minnesota, 1994

Harold Miner, Cleveland, 1993

Cedric Ceballos, Phoenix, 1992

Dee Brown, Boston, 1991

Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta, 1990

Kenny Walker, New York, 1989

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1988

Michael Jordan, Chicago, 1987

Spud Webb, Atlanta, 1986

Dominique Wilkins, Atlanta, 1985

Larry Nance, Phoenix, 1984

3-POINT SHOOTOUT WINNERS

Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas, 2006

Quentin Richardson, Phoenix, 2005

Voshon Lenard, Denver, 2004

Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento, 2003

Peja Stojakovic, Sacramento, 2002

Ray Allen, Milwaukee, 2001

Jeff Hornacek, Utah, 2000

Jeff Hornacek, Utah, 1998

Steve Kerr, Chicago, 1997

Tim Legler, Washington, 1996

Glen Rice, Miami, 1995

Mark Price, Cleveland, 1994

Mark Price, Cleveland, 1993

Craig Hodges, Chicago, 1992

Craig Hodges, Chicago, 1991

Craig Hodges, Chicago, 1990

Dale Ellis, Seattle, 1989

Larry Bird, Boston, 1988

Larry Bird, Boston, 1987

Larry Bird, Boston, 1986

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