Column: A glimpse of the NBA’s future in Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — There was LeBron James, still somewhat of a startling sight in purple and gold. And there were Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, still very much the champions of basketball for now and the foreseeable future.

Playing each other Wednesday night in a game that meant nothing — except for those looking for a glimpse into the future of the NBA.

Basketball’s biggest stars on stage in a city full of stars. An exhibition game, yes, but that didn’t stop fans from packing T-Mobile Arena on the Strip, where in a few years there almost surely will be a team they can call their own.

And maybe the best thing? Anyone in the arena with a betting account could pull out their phone and bet a few dollars during the game.

The gambling stigma is gone, thanks largely to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s progressive attitude and a Supreme Court decision that allowed sports betting in other states. The Vegas Golden Knights showed in their inaugural season that professional sports not only work in Sin City — it seems to be a perfect fit.

And nothing fits the city better than the NBA. The fans love it in Las Vegas, and so do the players.

“There’s a different energy here when you come, whether you’re from here or you’re just visiting,” Cur

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