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Las Vegas All-Star Weekend Full of Violence?

From the Wayne Newton, Christina Aguilera and Cirque de Soleil extravaganza Sunday which also included an All-Star game, handily won by the Western Conference, 153 to 132, you would have thought Las Vegas played the ultimate host, showering fans with neon and celebrity.

Word is now trickling out that there was a much darker element to the weekend - one with brawls and shootings and mayhem, which forced 24-hour establishments to close and tourists hoping to catch the big game to leave their hotels and flee for their safety.

AOL Sports' Jason Whitlock says police were simply overwhelmed by the game's revelers, calling the weekend "an unmitigated failure", cautioning that bringing the game to New Orleans next year would be "total lunacy".

... there were multiple brawls, at least two shootings, more than 350 arrests and a lot of terror in Vegas over the weekend... There were so many fights and so many gangbangers and one parking-lot shootout at the MGM Grand that people literally fled the hotel in fear for their safety.

Whitlock says the violence reflects the NBA's culture - one David Stern has tried to adjust, unsuccessfully.

All-Star Weekend Vegas screamed that the NBA is aligned too closely with thugs. Stern is going to have to take drastic measures to break that perception/reality. All-Star Weekend can no longer remain the Woodstock for parolees, wannabe rap artists and baby's mamas on tax-refund vacations.

That big sporting events and violent fans are linked is no surprise. Final Four winners, NBA championships and Super Bowl trophies are paired side by side with newspaper columns reporting vandalism and over the top celebration. But it looks like Whitlock found the marriage of the "anything goes" Sin City attitude and the All-Star Game to be too much.

Do you think he's right? Is the game too thuggish and should events like the All-Star Game reside in more mild settings?

See Also: Weekend Violence Mars NBA All-Star Experience