Sunday, July 7, 2013 | 11:39 p.m.
Miami Heat MVP LeBron James hosted a party Saturday night at Tao in The Venetian to celebrate his NBA team’s back-to-back championship.
Before James arrived at The Heat Repeat Championship Party in a leather Miami Heat cap, he dined at Tao with a large group that included NBA players Damon Jones and Juwan Howard. The party enjoyed signatures off the menu, while James requested blackened salmon with asparagus before heading upstairs to the nightclub.
Shortly after midnight, DJ Vice announced the NBA superstar’s arrival as the room shifted its attention to James’ VIP tables on the dance floor. The group was bombarded with a flurry of flashes and cheers as fans welcomed them to Tao.
James jumped on the mic to greet the crowd and stood on top of his booth where he was joined by boxer and friend Floyd Mayweather Jr. While shouting out Mayweather to the club, he announced that Floyd should only be called “Money Mayweather” and that he should only be referred to as “King James.”
Tao then surprised the two-time champion with a presentation that included confetti showers and a parade of lights that escorted a chariot holding a pair of gold-painted women through the crowd, as well as a cake shaped as two championship rings designed by Gimme Some Sugar.
The celebration continued to the sounds of DJ Vice, while James and his entourage partied late into the night. Also at Tao on Saturday night: NFL players Adrian Wilson, Leon McFadden, Dimitri Patterson and Karlos Dansby, all of whom partied at separate VIP tables.
At nearby sister hotspot Lavo in the Palazzo, actress Elizabeth Hurley enjoyed dinner at the Italian restaurant for a second consecutive evening. Hurley dined at Lavo with cricket legend fiance Shane Warne on Friday and returned with friends Saturday.
Thanks to Al Powers of Powers Imagery for his photo gallery of James at Tao.
Don Chareunsy is editor of Vegas DeLuxe and senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
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.
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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.