The Maloofs have long since cornered the market on courting young celebrities at their Palms Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, and they hosted the biggest young name in the sports world on Friday.
Michael Phelps, the Baltimore-born swimmer who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics this summer, stayed at the renowned Hardwood Suite over the weekend and even dined with Kings co-owner Gavin Maloof at the hotel's Garduno's restaurant.
While Phelps couldn't escape Sin City without getting nabbed by the tabloids, he left quite an impression on Gavin during a visit to the hotel's pool.
"He caused a stir at the pool," Gavin said by phone. "Everybody was asking about him and wanting to take his picture. He was really a gentleman, a really a nice fellow."
While there is always far more socializing than swimming going on at the Palms pool, Gavin said Phelps resisted the urge to speed past the patrons with a few laps.
"He didn't swim, but he stayed in the cabana," Gavin said. "I don't know if he ever got in the pool. We wanted to make him the honorary lifeguard of the Palms. I said, 'We want to offer you an honorary lifeguard position, but are you sure you can swim?'"
According to Gavin, Phelps brought approximately 30 of his family and friends on his trip and even learned a bit about hoops from Phoenix GM Steve Kerr.
"(Kerr) was teaching him how to shoot," Gavin said. "He was having a good time."
JOE MALOOF HAS SURGERY
When I called Gavin, he was in Phoenix offering support for brother, Joe Maloof, who had both of his knees replaced on Friday.
The Kings co-owner who was a two-time letterwinner as a defensive back at the University of New Mexico had to go under the knife to deal with his old football injuries. The surgery, Gavin reports, went well.
"He's doing well," Gavin said. "He's up and around walking a little bit. His knees were shot. Now he's got titanium knees."
The recovery is expected to take approximately two months.
"He's walking around gingerly and in good spirits," Gavin said. "That's why he couldn't sit at the courtside (at Kings games) that long, because his knees would hurt." - Sam Amick