Fans thrilled with return of NBA Summer League to Las Vegas

Posted at 9:12 PM, Aug 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-09 10:50:36-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Basketball is back in Las Vegas. The NBA Summer League has returned for the first time since the pandemic.

Roars rang out at Cox Pavilion on Sunday as fans saw a mix of rookies and veterans on their favorite NBA teams.

“You see a lot of young talent coming into the league and hopefully they do well,” Vishal Sharma, who’s visiting from Los Angeles, said.

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Sharma brought his family to cheer on the Los Angeles Lakers and says he is happy to see some basketball in person.

“It’s fun to get into this atmosphere, get back into a stadium and fill it up and have a good time again,” he said.

A good time that’s been more than a year in the making.

The league was canceled last year due to the pandemic. It averaged more than 12,000 fans a day in 2019. This year, there are protocols in place for teams and fans.

One of Sunday's games was postponed due to contact tracing for the Washington Wizards.

Gina Johnson, the mother of NBA superstar Damian Lillard, says having fans in the stands is important after watching NBA games in empty arenas.

“Fans are what make the world go round. It’s better when fans are at the games because it helps them play better,” she said.

Sharma says he expects fans to bring the same enthusiasm they had pre-pandemic.

“We’re going to come into the stadium with a lot more energy, a lot more excitement. Fill up the stands and come in here and have a good time,” he said.

The NBA Summer League will continue through Aug. 17 at the Thomas and Mack Center.