Las Vegas Summer League Thread: Sixers vs. Dante Exum

Mike Stobe

The Sixers won the 2014 Orlando Summer League Championship. But this summer is far from over for the boys from Philly.

"I'm too young to be having a heart attack, right?"

That question ran through my head on a loop as I laid disheveled in my Crowne Plaza-Downtown Orlando hotel room Thursday evening. Three helpings of penne pasta doused in pesto sauce and coated in parmesan cheese in the Amway Center media dining area turned a pleasant lunch into a what seemed like the brink of death.

I ducked out of the Orlando Magic's home arena before Thursday's action to work on an extended feature story I'm writing for SLAM. The tightness in my chest seemed to die down around 9 p.m., so I idiotically ordered a Rueben sandwich and fries off the hotel's room service menu. About a half hour after consuming my dinner, I collapsed in bed with the feeling that some rusting, iron claw was clenching my heart with every ounce of strength it possessed.

"I'm too young to be having a heart attack, right?"

Jake Pavorsky receives endless flack for his young age within this community, but I'm still only 20 years old. I refused to call my mother while I pondered if I was on my death bed, not wanting to hear any bit of her worrying. I figured I could just let it pass, sleep it off, I'll be fine. But it was clear nearly a full week of dining on the Amway Center's high-cholesteral meal plan had gotten the best of me.

I needed medicine. Advil, Aspirin, Pepto-bismol. I didn't give a shit. Anything that would make this excruciating pain subside. Finally coming to grips that my condition required ingesting a tablet to relieve this struggle, I crawled over to the elevator and called a cab just to go to the 7/11 a block down the street. Plopping down in the cab's back seat, the driver laughed hysterically when I told him to take me to the drug store and keep the meter running, happy to steal my money just like Elton Brand has done throughout the second half of his career.

When I finally set my head to my pillow that evening in an attempt to fall asleep, a terror came to my realization: my heart might stop during my 7:10 a.m. takeoff on Friday morning. I might not ever make it to Las Vegas. Could I rest in peace knowing I never met Michael Levin and Matt Carey in person? Would I enjoy the after life with the understanding I would never see Chad Iske roam the sidelines of the Thomas & Mack Center?

I surprisingly survived the night, but the pain hadn't quite subsided early Friday morning. Hunching over to tie my shoes made it feel like I was leaning into a knife positioned atop my right knee. Nonetheless, a four hour flight to Phoenix, a LeBron Decision 2.0 during my layover and an hour flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas later, I've arrived for the second stretch of Summer League. The Sixers have, too.

They take on the Jazz at 10:30 p.m. EST. If you can stay up past your bed time, you'll get a nice first look at what Dante Exum can do on a semi-NBA court.

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