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You should go to the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League

For a hardcore fan, it’s a top notch experience

2022 NBA Summer League - Portland Trailblazers v New York Knicks Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA’s annual Las Vegas Summer League is right around the corner, taking place July 7th to July 17th. If I’m able to go this summer (if my wife is reading this, tell me it’s okay to book tickets), it’ll be my 10th straight time and it’s quietly been among the best experiences I’ve had both covering the team and as a fan of the game.

While there remains a question as to whether or not the Dallas Mavericks will have a pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, they will field a Las Vegas Summer League team no matter what, coached by Jared Dudley. If the Mavericks DO have a pick, somehow jump in the NBA Lottery, and actually use the pick on a real life player, well you can be there in person for that player’s debut as well.

Here’s the case for NBA Summer League in a nutshell: for a shockingly reasonably priced ticket (more on that in a moment), you get a full day of games played on overlapping schedules in two connected gyms. While those games are played, you will see NBA legends and current stars walking around the arena. It’s basically like a music festival, only for basketball. They let you leave and come back to the venue as well, so if you’ve never been to Vegas, it’s really a fantastic excuse to come to town, see some admittedly bad but fun basketball, and go experience one of the crazier cities on Earth. Between the food, the people, and the sites, Las Vegas plus NBA-adjacent basketball can be a great experience for you and some friends, you and your significant, or even you and your kids. I’m not kidding.

General admission tickets, once they’re available, run around $60 a person, but again that’s for a full day’s admission for many, many games. The first weekend is the most packed but I’ve gone for both the start and the end of the event and it’s fun. Beyond that, if you’re looking to go really big and have a full on experience, the NBA has a range of packages for you.

  • There’s the truly crazy courtside experience, with prices ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 with a ton of perks included including an invitation to a VIP pool party, getting to attend some photoshoots, and even getting to go to a shoot around with NBA players past and present.
  • There’s a reserved seating grouping too, which some of the tiers of extras mentioned in the courtside experience. Those seem to be more limited in number.
  • Additionally there’s a courtside upper deck classification which has a few of the perks of the other two, but the main draw has to be the tier of seats in the main court.
  • Lastly there’s a general admission plus tier, which is general admission tickets plus some access to the VIP events.

When/if I go this season, it’ll be general admission, largely because I’ll have to work as well (assuming I don’t get media credentials). But it’s such a fun time either way and I can’t recommend it enough. With two and a half months to plan, now is the time to get working on a trip. I hope to see you there.