Obama invited to Hardwood Suites

Everybody wants to talk hoops and make points with President Barack Obama.

The basketball-loving commander-in-chief got an offer he’ll likely take a pass on during his first visit as president.

George Maloof, owner of the Palms hotel-casino, invited Obama to stay at the hotel’s Hardwood Suites, where everyone from George Clooney to Shaquille O’Neal and Britney Spears to Kid Rock have shot baskets.

“He said he had heard about the suites. He thought a game of ‘HORSE’ would be a lot of fun,” added Maloof, who met Obama at a pre-event reception with a major-donor group that included Elaine Wynn, Jenna Morton of N9NE Group and brother Phil Maloof, president of the Maloof family’s music and entertainment division.

That’s probably on the list of photo ops that aren’t going to happen.

“Phil asked him who we (the Maloof-owned Sacramento Kings) should take in the NBA draft,” George Maloof said. “He liked Blake Griffin, of course; (Hasheem) Thabeet from Connecticut and he loved the kid from Memphis — Tyreke Evans,” the consensus national freshman of the year choice.

Wynn, a big basketball fan, joined the hoop talk, too.

The president made it clear he was itching to watch some of the Cleveland-Orlando NBA battle, said George Maloof, who met Obama for the first time.

The Maloofs weren’t the only Las Vegans to make a play for some one-on-one with the president.

UNLV’s basketball program put out word through the local media they hoped Obama would stop in to meet head coach Lon Kruger for a shoot-around.


According to a British tabloid report, singing sensation Susan Boyle has accepted Donny Osmond‘s invitation to see the “Donny & Marie Show” at the Flamingo. One problem: that’s news to Donny, his publicist said Tuesday. …

The 58-member staff at Gulfstream General Dynamics was eager to hear what Obama was going to say as far as helping Las Vegas get back on its feet. The company, which services a ton of corporate jets, has lost almost one-third of its work force since the economic downturn, and Obama’s comments about corporate excess that put a chill in corporate trips here.

“He scared a lot of people and put a big hurt on the corporate jet world,” said Dave Foster, a senior tech mechanic, who could see Air Force One parked across the runways at McCarran International Airport. …

Lance Burton‘s return to the stage at the Monte Carlo has been delayed until June 23. He’s on the mend after breaking a bone in his right foot during his May 7 show. …

Cast members and musicians from “Jersey Boys” will participate tonight in a new cabaret concept at the Liberace Museum, 1775 East Tropicana Avenue. “VS — A Rock Cabaret” will showcase local talent from the Strip. All proceeds benefit the Liberace Foundation for the Performing and Creative Arts. Performers will include Erich Bergen and Kristofer McNeeley from “Jersey Boys,” Bobby Black from the Las Vegas Tenors and Melanie Taylor from “Ultimate Manilow: The Hits.” Ticket information: (702) 798-5595 Ext. 14. …

Stephen Belafonte, the demanding hubbie of Spice Girl Mel B, is wearing out his welcome at Planet Hollywood Resort. I hear Belafonte got tossed out of Privé nightclub over the weekend after a run-in with security. Word has it he’s been “acting like he owns Planet Hollywood,” expecting free food and special treatment. …


ESPN’s Kenny Mayne, producing a segment with a Tiger Woods impersonator at the Flamingo backjack table on Tuesday. In the segment showing “Tiger” playing blackjack, his caddy jumps on a chair and tries to wave off the casino “eye in the sky” cameras. It’s a spoof of Woods’ real-life caddy who often has to keep photographers at bay during tournament play. The segment will air on SportsCenter next month. … Philadelphia Flyers captain Mike Richards, a finalist for the Selke Award for top defenseman, at Simon at Palms Place on Tuesday. … All-Pro NFL running back Adrian Peterson of the Minnesota Vikings, dining at Joe’s Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab (Forum Shops at Caesars). … “Peepshow” co-star Kelly Monaco, being serenaded by cast mates on her 33rd birthday Saturday at the Palms Pool & Bungalows.


“I can’t believe Dick Cheney. He keeps giving speeches, and he’s appearing on TV news shows. It’s like he thinks he’s still president.” — Jay Leno

Norm Clarke can be reached at (702) 383-0244 or norm@reviewjournal.com. Find additional sightings and more online at www.normclarke.com.

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