NBA Summer League

Better late than never. 
Every year the NBA holds Summer League in Las Vegas. It’s an opportunity for teams to play their new draft picks, rookies and any players they are interested in. It’s held at the Thomas and Mack centre over 10 days in July. 

It’s a great opportunity to see the latest draft picks and some of the more seasoned NBA players who come along to watch/support. 

The Thomas and Mack centre has two basketball courts allowing the NBA to hold up to eight games a day – 4 in each hall. You do need to plan your day to make sure you get to see the teams / players that you want to see. 

The first five days are the games that determine the seeding. Then they go into the tournament stage. If you are only really interested in your NBA team then I recommend that you go for the first few days. I picked to go the one year the Knicks didn’t so for me it was about picking the teams with the most interesting players. 

Tickets per day are very reasonably priced so many people only come for one game. 

Top tip- if you favourite team is playing the last game of the day in the larger hall get there early. Several games early. That way you pick your preferred seat – if you are in a group make sure you always leave at least one person in the hall to hold the seats. 

Venue – The larger of the two halls is not as big as a NBA venue but then these aren’t full NBA teams. The smaller hall is a good bit smaller so if you plan to watch any of the games there I recommend turning up early to make sure you get a good seat. 

The smaller hall has comfortable padded seats while the larger hall has plastic seats. 

Concessions- The venue has a variety of concession stalls selling beer, soft drinks, water, hot dogs, chicken and even a healthy option stall. The prices are fairly reasonable. A bottle of water was quite expensive but once you had a bottle you could refill it from the water fountains. 

Accessibility the venue is off the Strip. It’s about a 20-30 minute walk from the strip. If you are staying on the Strip I would recommend using taxis as that is quite a walk in July heat. At the end of the day they have a taxi cab rank so there should not be a long wait. 

Top tip- if the main reason you are in Vegas is Summer League then I recommend staying off Strip to make it easier to get to the Venue. There are a couple of options – the Hard Rock Hotel is off Strip or the less expensive Best Western McCarren Inn. 

They do have a massive parking lot with plenty of space  if you have a car. 

Merchandise – they have one big stall and one or two smaller stalls selling summer league t-shirts and associated merchandise. Prices are typical for NBA products. 

Copper Box Arena

The Copper Box is home to the London Lions and, recently, to team GB home qualifiers. This is my local basketball venue so it’s the one I know best.

Venue – the venue is quite big for a BBL venue with two tiers of seating, though usually only the lower tier is open. The seats are standard plastic seats, and there is no VIP section. Away fans wanting to sit behind the away bench should aim to book seats in section 103. Once you get through the bag search area you are on the main concourse and it is easy to see around the arena.

Accessibility – the venue is next to Westfield Stratford in the Olympic Park. It is accessible by bus, tube (Stratford) and overground (Hackney Wick). You can drive but the venue itself has no parking so you will need to park in the shopping centre car parks.

Merchandise – on Lions game days there is a small stall but it does have a limited range. On GB game days I havne’t noticed a merchandise stall.

Concessions – first thing to note is that they often can only take cash payments. There is no cash point on site so come prepared.  There are a couple of stands selling hotdogs, nachos and sweets. They sell soft drinks, wine and beer  – not the most expensive but not cheap it’s about £4 for a bottle of beer.

They occasionally have seperate stalls selling popcorn, candyfloss and beer on draft, again you will need cash. I would not suggest relying on these being open though.
Overall this venue could do with some work, including more reliability of the concession stands, staff that are friendly and able to assist and better connectivity as most weeks there is a problem with the mikes, scoreboards or shot clocks.