For years, sports executives have clamored for the establishment of a professional market in Las Vegas, Nevada. This iconic, bold city would add a flair and flamboyance to any and all professional sports leagues. Little do these bosses know, Vegas actually holds a minority stake in every single professional league in America, and in the world.
In Vegas, the stakes are high. More importantly, the course of fate can change with one turn. The stakes can begin as a passionate lover, but become a savage vampire in an instant. In sports, competitors see fate change the same way.
The gruesome injury suffered by Indiana Pacers forward Paul George Friday night may seem to be one of Vegas’ cruel deeds. At the U.S. Men’s National basketball team’s national camp in the Sin City, George was making a chase-down block during the team scrimmage, and landed on his foot in horrifying fashion. Social media swelled up in virtual tears and pleas, “praying” for a star to return to form. A stir of debate surfaced whether NBA stars should even compete for team USA following the incident. In the end, George’s injury was diagnosed as a broken leg, meaning he will likely miss the 2014-2015 season. Was this scare in fact a night in Vegas gone wrong?
Just yesterday, the Giants released a statement announcing that running back David Wilson was placed on the Injured Reserve(IR) list for the year, after aggravating a previous neck injury. Wilson, a 23 year-old, was recommended by doctors to hang up the cleats and helmet for good. “I don’t want anybody to feel sorry for me, or pity me,” Wilson stated. “I lived my dream. A lot of people only get to dream their dream. I lived that dream.” Wilson’s career is likely over, and his days of earning an NFL paycheck are behind him. Though Wilson has earned around $8 million, the aforementioned George has set even his great grandchildren with financial comfort. While Wilson is still set financially, he will never see the perviously imminent pay raise he was soon due.
Far fewer fans “prayed” or sent well-wishes to Wilson than those that seemingly blessed Paul George’s broken leg with immortality. George, who is currently tied to a $90 million contract, seems to have simply picked up a bad bounce on the roulette table in comparison to Wilson, who has been thrown out of the casino entirely, stripped of his riches after a long night of gambling.
Eagles fans will remember the disappointing tale of cornerback Ellis Hobbs, a former Patriot and Eagle. Hobbs was traded to the Eagles on 2009 Draft day, brought in to bolster the secondary and special teams. Hobbs became a solid kick returner for the Eagles in 2009, and was having an equally productive 2010. On a Sunday night late in the year, Hobbs was returning a kickoff against the rival New York Giants.
My, don’t the Giants know Vegas well.
Hobbs stumbled off balance from a tackle, slowly sinking to the ground. As he fell on the symbolic 21-yard line at the Linc, another blue helmet came flying in. The helmet struck Hobbs square in the head, leaving him motionless on the blackjack table. Hobbs was forced to retire shortly after.
Hobbs had been living Vegas large for the majority of his NFL career. He appeared in a Super Bowl for the Patriots, and had enjoyed a run of form under one of the most successful organizations in the game. Hobbs, who had been treated kindly by the dice, finally drew a card he could not play.
There’s a little Vegas in all athletic competition. Feeling sorry for Paul George is like pitying the man who was banned for a week in the casino. George will be back. George will return to greatness. Ellis Hobbs and David Wilson, who combined likely earned less than half of what George has earned already, will not play another game. The odds have not been kind to these former NFC East soldiers, as both surrendered everything they had worked for in singular moments. Here’s to hoping the 2014 Eagles cash in on the Vegas glory, and avoid the fate of an empty hand.
Photo: ABC Local