In a week that featured a record amount of snow falling over the North Texas area, the NBA All-Star Game still managed to be the main topic of conversation. While celebrity parties continued in spite of this winter storm, the top dog of the star-studded All-Star Weekend was the game at Cowboys Stadium. The collaboration between Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones led to a crowd of 108,713 -- shattering all kinds of records. It will soon be printed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the attendance record for a basketball game. Included in the crowd were celebs such as Terrell Owens, Deion Sanders, Magic Johnson, Spike Lee, Ludacris, Floyd Mayweather, and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. My pal Kelsi Reich and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders provided entertainment. Not to be outdone, Mallory Mills and the Dallas Mavericks Dancers put on their usual high-energy show throughout the evening. Usher performed during the player introductions. The halftime show featured Shakira and Alicia Keys. I heard LOTS of complaints from people about how bad the setup was to get inside the stadium. There were no ropes, no real lines and tens of thousands of people trying to squeeze through a few "Male/Female" lines and then a couple of metal detectors that are not present at Dallas Cowboys games. While I will freely admit that my face stung from being slapped by the freezing wind while standing in line, I was so excited about being there that I managed to escape the irritation factor. Maybe the next time patrons head to a venue where they're set to be part of a crowd of over 100,000 people, they'll arrive a little sooner. And maybe when the Super Bowl and Final Four come to this palace, out-of-towners will receive a little better direction on how to navigate the stadium.
Once I got inside and to my seat, I really had that "Once-in-a-lifetime" feeling and I tried to soak up every second of this electrifying scene. While the entertainment and celebrity sightings were great, the game was off the charts. Former Dallas Lincoln star Chris Bosh hit a pair of free throws with 5 seconds left, to give the Eastern Conference a 141-139 victory over the West. Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade won the MVP after teaming with LeBron James to dazzle the crowd with some amazing dunks. Although he was instrumental in denying the Mavs title hopes in 2006, Wade managed huge cheers from the crowd.
So, on Valentine's Day in Arlington, three attendance marks were set: basketball game attendance (78,129), NBA All-Star Game (44,735), and the Cowboys Stadium (105,121.) Mavericks owner Mark Cuban's reaction? "WOW!"
As I glanced back at the stadium from Collins Street, I couldn't have agreed more.
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