ARLINGTON, Texas – Even as Dallas residents and visitors braved the cold to come out in big numbers for NBA All-Star Week, the final event had all the signs of being an underwhelming footnote. But after a freak snowstorm followed by frigid temperatures, plus a disappointing Slam Dunk contest, Sunday night’s All-Star Game exceeded expectations on many fronts.
While thousands tweeted complaints about the traffic jam on the way to the stadium, disappointment vanished upon entered Cowboys Stadium. Tens of thousands of first-time visitors literally watched the game and walked around the hulking edifice bug-eyed for several hours. NBA athletes, hardened public relations professionals and youngsters were all in awe.
“I’ve never seen anything likes this before in my life,” was a frequent line heard from members of the world’s largest audience ever for a basketball game. While the game set a Guinness World Record for attendance at 108,713, it was not the first basketball game at the stadium. A college contest held in mid-December served as the test run for the All-Star Game. Texas and North Carolina battled under the world’s largest HDTV screen in front of a crowd of 38,052 surpassing the expected 35,000 pre-game estimate. The NCAA will bring the men’s Final Four to the stadium in 2014.
WNBA players, staffers and other women’s basketball professionals attended the game and several like the New York Liberty’s Shameka Christon watched from VIP suites. Basketball legend and Frisco D-League head coach Nancy Lieberman and her son had prime seats behind the East bench. Alicia Keys, whose song “Superwoman” became the 2008 WNBA Anthem, performed at halftime.
More WNBA Involvement in 2010
Even before the East squad beat the West, 141-139 on Sunday, WNBA players and officials had already spent several days in Dallas making public appearances, attending parties and hob-nobbing with celebrities, NBA athletes and corporate titans.
Women’s basketball players, past and present, who attended included:
- Shameka Christon, New York
- Marie Ferdinand-Harris, Los Angeles
- Becky Hammon, San Antonio
- Asjha Jones, Connecticut
- Kara Lawson, Connecticut
- Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta
- Ticha Penicheiro, Los Angeles
- Nicole Powell, New York
- Ashley Robinson, Seattle (FA)
- Scholanda Robinson, Tulsa (FA)
- Jennifer Azzi, WNBA legend
- Lisa Leslie, WNBA legend
- Nancy Lieberman, WNBA legend
- Lynette Woodard, WNBA legend
Several expressed excitement and awe during the days celebrating the cr