Across the street from Sin City's private airport and through the doors of this hoops haven known as the Impact Academy, the rarest of treadmills is being put to good use in the dimly lit corner of a sweltering gym.
Antoine Wright has had trouble carrying his own weight in the past, be it the expectations that came with being the No. 15 pick out of Texas A&M in 2005, or his early reluctance to do the work that bridges the gap between players and pretenders in the pros. But this is not that. This is Wright recovering from knee tendinitis with the help of a $75,000 piece of equipment, a machine that can alleviate a chosen percentage of pounds and pressure with the simple pressing of a few buttons.
If only Wright had that kind of control over his career.
This facility has fast become the most popular place on his itinerary, from the five weeks he trained here after being abruptly waived by Sacramento in late November, to the two months he has spent here since returning from a successful stint with a Chinese team in mid-April. The company around him has changed in recent weeks, though, with these young and naive draft prospects preparing for the bright futures that they're so sure await them.
But the 27-year-old Wright knows the dark side, how nothing is promised in the NBA and too many missteps can send you down this path he wishes he had never taken. So he takes a break from playing and preaches about the game within the game every so often, sharing his cautionary tale to the youngsters who will surely suffer setbacks of their own someday.