by Beth LaVigne
I have to start this first with a confession. “I know next to nothing about sports.” Sad, I know, when I have the luxury of living in pretty much a sports fan dream city, at least I think so anyway. Those sports book with $1 hot dogs and beers seem exciting. And, I often pass by those rowdy sports bars with an air of longing, wanting to know what exactly they are all yelling about. So when I was invited down to SCORE!, the latest attraction at the Luxor, I hesitated. I was more than likely the wrong person on our staff to cover this event, but I thought my husband (a true sports fan) would enjoy it, so off we went. The Grand Opening was jam-packed. I couldn’t figure out whom the big celebrity was bogging down traffic in the middle of the place – it was a traffic jam. Then the crowd parted, and I saw the true draw of the night: “the open bar”. Now, I’m not one to turn down a free drink, so I grabbed my comped vodka, and pushed my way past the crowd to the official entry of this attraction. OK, so I said I wasn’t a sports fan, but even the non-sports fan will enjoy this tour.
SCORE! is like the Smithsonian teaming up with Disneyland to create a sports experience, which has merged together some of the most famous hall of fames for the very first time. There was one of the first ball warmers, (yeah, I snickered), they were for footballs – not what you were thinking about – famous uniforms, huge shoes worn by Shaq, a chance to check your long jump (don’t ask), your peripheral vision (once again, don’t), and check your fastball (ummm yeah, I won’t be drafted anytime soon), plus much more. And you know what? It was fun! My husband, the REAL sports fan, truly loved each experience. And if you love fantasy football, this is your dream destination. YOU are going to be able to sign with your favorite team, get that press release, and most importantly, get that big fat paycheck just like the pros (sorry not a real check, just your photo posing with one).
Now, the night we went, we got to mill amongst the memorabilia with Mike Tyson, Oscar Goodman, Marcus Allen, and Warren Moon, to name a few. And I will be the first to admit that a fourth grader at my son’s school was the one to school me on whom the last two football legends were. Even his mom knew. It was pretty embarrassing – I felt like Smalls in Sandlot. According to football legend Marcus Allen, getting to walk through SCORE! is like “you get to walk through history,” and I think that sums up the experience really well. By getting a glimpse into the legendary collection of Jock M. Smith, the legendary trial lawyer and fanatical sports collector, along with special pieces donated by an alliance of some of the top hall of fames is a true experience. I felt a certain reverence for many of the pieces I saw. It contains more than 300 prized pieces housed in eight galleries and valued in the millions of dollars. The permanent exhibits feature items dating to the early 20th century and include such notable hardware as the 1999 Women’s World Cup trophy, the 1981 Heisman Trophy awarded to legendary USC tailback Marcus Allen, championship rings, World Series trophies, Jim Brown’s 1957 MVP trophy, and the largest and most diverse collection of game-worn jerseys anywhere in the world.
SCORE!’s unique interactive platform was produced by Sports Emmy winner John Brenkus, author of the “Perfection Point” and host of television’s popular Sports Science. At the end of the tour, fans can see for themselves through a “virtual locker”, a synopsis of their career featuring their team uniform, press release, signing bonus and a personalized magazine cover highlighting their induction into their favorite Hall of Fame. In addition to the interactive exhibit, SCORE! features a fan shop, and a broadcast studio, and provides a great location to host private events and corporate outings.
SCORE! is located inside Luxor. Open daily at 10am - last admission at 9pm. Tickets are $28, $20 for Nevada residents, $15 for kids under 12.
The Collector / Jock M. Smith
Born June 10, 1948 in New York City, Jock M. Smith graduated from Tuskegee University with high honors in 1970 and earned his law degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law in 1973. While a law student, Smith founded the Black American Law Students’ Association (BALSA) chapter at Notre Dame’s Law School, and became its chairman. Smith earned his J.D. degree on May 20, 1973. Smith was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
After graduation, Mr. Smith worked as a legal advisor for the NAACP in Broome County, NY and Professor of Afro-American Studies, teaching a course entitled “American Law and Racism” at the New York State University at Binghamton.
In 1974, Smith became a professor of political science at Tuskegee University. Mr. Smith served as the Assistant Attorney General for the state of Alabama from 1974 – 1977 before opening The Law Offices of Jock M. Smith in Tuskegee, Alabama that same year. His practice represented plaintiffs and defendants in both criminal and civil suits. In 1987, Smith became a city municipal judge in Camp Hill, Alabama, spending two years on the bench. In 1990, he became Macon County’s County Attorney, a position he would hold for fifteen years, representing the county in all legal matters.
In 1993, Smith organized his lifelong sports passion and new career as a sports collector and created Scoring For Life, Inc., a non-profit organization that utilized his national sports collection to inspire and motivate teens and young adults to overcome life’s challenges by using the real-life stories of sports legends. Smith has the largest, documented, privately-owned collection of game-worn sports memorabilia and the largest African American sports collection in the United States. In addition to speaking to youth and adult groups across the country, Scoring For Life made a special appearance at Super Bowl XXXI as a guest of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
In addition to his accomplished legal career as an attorney, law professor, motivational speaker and sports collector, Smith added author to his list of accomplishments, and in 2002, New South Books published Mr. Smith’s autobiography, Climbing Jacob’s ladder – A Trial Lawyer’s Journey on Behalf of the Least of These.
Smith was also the recipient of numerous awards, among which includes keys to the cities of New Orleans, Memphis and Flint. He has been recognized by the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association for tireless dedication and unwavering commitment, inducted into the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and received the Inaugural Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Journey to Justice Award (2005) at the National Bar Association Convention. The Martindale-Hubbell legal publication has given Smith its highest rating, the AV Rating. “Jock was nationally known as an advocate for others and a well-respected member of the legal profession. His absence will be felt for years,” said Hezekiah Sistrunk, National Partner with The Cochran Firm.