Normally, Albert Hall would in Las Vegas right about now. Normally, the NBA would be preparing for its annual Vegas Summer League at the Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion.
But this summer and this year are anything but normal.
“July 1 was a tough day for me,” said Hall, who has co-operated Vegas Summer League since its inception in 2004. “You’re talking about 17 years of hard work, sweat, relationships, the personality of our team, everybody that we have. There are so many people that are a part of this thing. And to not be able to do that, that was an emotional day.”
Vegas Summer League usually begins shortly after July 4 and was supposed to start this year on July 10. But the coronavirus reconfigured the NBA’s schedule and postponed the event indefinitely.
The league is set to resume its regular season July 30 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Hall is still hopeful that he and co-founder Warren LeGarie can salvage some type of league for young players in Las Vegas — whether it be toward the end of the summer or in the fall.
“Never say never. … I think we’ll learn a lot in Orlando,” Hall said. “In our eyes, there’s always a chance for a fall league, whether that’s toward the end of October or another time. We haven’t been told anything, but at the end of the day, there’s still a need for the rookies and transition players to play.”
For now, Hall is focusing on The Basketball Tournament, the open tournament founded in 2014 that begins Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. His marketing firm, HallPass Media, was contracted to handle elements of the marketing and production. Games will be televised on ESPN and the championship game is scheduled for July 14.
The winning team will receive $1 million.
“We’ve been with them every step of the way on the whole marketing, branding, telling the whole story of what (The Basketball Tournament) is now,” Hall said. “It’s really valuable to learn what the new normal could look like. … For me, I’m looking at it as I’m doing my part as a hoop ambassador.”
Hall is inside the tournament’s bubble site in Columbus, where he is subjected to a strict coronavirus prevention protocol designed to limit the number of cases among the event’s staff and participants. The Basketball Tournament is comprised of former NBA and college basketball players, several of whom play professionally overseas and are eager for the showcase opportunity the event provides.
It’s not Vegas Summer League, but it’s basketball nonetheless.
Hall is happy to be a part of it.
“We’ve got to do everything we can to keep sports alive,” he said. “This is a good opportunity for me and my team, and we jumped in and we’ve really enjoyed it. We’re glad we’re here. We’re learning a ton.”