Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012 | 3:27 p.m.
L.A. Clippers star Chris Paul and his teammates tipped off the NBA pre-season in the Entertainment Capital of the World on Friday night at Tao in the Venetian.
The entire team, including Paul, Lamar Odom, Grant Hill, Chauncey Billups, Matt Barnes and Blake Griffin, dined at the culinary hotspot on Friday night. Odom started dinner by ordering a champagne toast for the group who took up two large tables in front of Tao’s larger-than-life Buddha in the main dining room.
The athletes enjoyed a special Clippers sushi roll added to the menu for the night, as well as a special Lob City Typhoon Lobster dish and Paul’s favorite miso-glazed Chilean sea bass. He was overheard asking Tao executive chef Mike Armstrong to bring out another serving of Chilean sea bass. He also gave the chef a preview of his Jordan CP3 VII sneakers via his iPhone.
Post-dinner, the entourage walked upstairs to the nightclub and took over VIP tables on the dance floor as DJ Politik shouted out their arrival. NBA legend Hill, who turned 40 on Friday, was surprised with birthday cake and his teammates and partygoers singing “Happy Birthday.”
Later in the evening, the Clippers stars were presented with a cake that read “All I Do Is Win.” Griffin showed off his basketball-spinning skills as he danced while spinning it on his finger. Paul and his teammates partied until 2 a.m. (In their preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday night, they lost in a nail-biter 106-104.)
COLIN HANKS AT MARQUEE
Actor Colin Hanks and his wife and friends partied at Marquee in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on Friday night. The eldest son of Academy Award-winner actor Tom Hanks and his group had a VIP table on the roof deck patio. Hanks told his cocktail server that he loved Marquee and was looking forward to catching DJ Avicii at Marquee Dayclub on Saturday.
Thanks to Al Powers of Powers Imagery for his photo gallery of the Friday night party fun and to Brian Jones of Las Vegas News Bureau for his photo gallery of the preseason game.
Don Chareunsy is editor of VegasDeLuxe.com and senior editor, arts and entertainment, of LasVegasSun.com.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
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In the spirit of Venice, The Venetian is a little piece of romantic Italy right here in Las Vegas. The Venetian is an "all-suite" hotel, with rooms accented with plush linens and Italian marble. The 4,027 suites are divided into two towers: The 36-story Venetian Tower that offers guests a taste of luxurious Las Vegas and the Venezia suites, which guarantee 12 floors of high-end elegance. The top five floors are the hotel's highest level of luxury with its private access, concierge lounge, upgraded features and even a dedicated staff.
The flagship of Venetian nightlife is TAO, an ultra-hip nightclub located inside of TAO Asian Bistro. V Bar is The Venetian's super smooth ultra lounge, made by the owners of New York City's club Lotus and Los Angeles' super swank Sunset Room.
The Venetian features 19 restaurants including Thomas Keller's award-winning French restaurant Bouchon, Mario Batali's B&B Ristorante, Aquaknox for fresh seafood and the 42,000 square foot TAO Asian Bistro. There's also the food court inside the Canal Shoppes for those looking for a quick bite.
Guests can float along The Grand Canal Shops in an authentic Italian gondola ride and pass stores like Burberry and Kenneth Cole along the way. And if you haven't caught a real celeb, on the street in Vegas, you can head over to Madame Tussauds to check out a wax version.