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NBA All Star Game and Snow make for memorable weekend in Dallas

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By Shawn P. Williams – Dallas South News Editor

The second weekend of February 2010 will be one of the most memorable in the history of North Texas because of two events that unexpectedly coincided. I figured that a basketball game would land the region in the Guinness Book of World Records, didn’t anticipate that weather would exceed local records in the Texas Almanac.

NBA Development League All Star Game played inside the Dallas Convention Center

NBA Development League All Star Game played inside the Dallas Convention Center

Who could have imagined that the NBA All-Star game and twelve inches of snow would both fall on the same weekend? Of all of the contingency plans worked out by the NBA, Dallas Mavericks, and local municipalities, I doubt any of them factored a foot of snow into the equation.

Snowy BackyardYes the winter weather event of the century threatened to turn the party event of the decade into….well, a bat mitzvah. Many party promoters lost out on their Thursday investments as locals were shut in their homes and out of towners were shut out of the city.

But once the melting began Dallas was able to show what All-Star has come to be about: having a good time while doing good. It’s a star powered event that while not on par with the Super Bowl, deserves a special place on the list of annual American events. By Saturday the party scene was at a fever’s pitch, and believe me I did my research on this one.

Yet there will probably be few who mention LeBron James and Jay-Z visiting a Boys and Girls Club in East Dallas while they were in town. There will be a scant few who mention Chris Bosh taking time out of his hectic schedule to visit Lincoln HIgh School, his alma mater. And the fact that the NBA brought thousands of local school children to the AAC for Youth Jam on Friday will be all but forgotten. The scores of parties and battalions of limousines will most likely serve as All Star’s lasting legacy.

All Star SignIt can never be repeated too often that none of this would have happened were it not for the visionary leadership of Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones. A guy like me would never have had a chance to purchase a ticket for an All-Star game played in a typical NBA arena. For years Cuban passed on the opportunity to host All Star at the American Airlines Center because most of the Mavericks’ season ticket holders would have been shut out of the game. But add Jerry World to the mix and not only were season ticket holders accommodated, but folks like my wife and I were able to afford nosebleed seats.

While the game itself was historic, it was far from perfect. The 108,000 plus fans that made their way out to Arlington was the largest crowd ever to watch a basketball game. Between the crowd and the celebrities (Spike Lee, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Ludacris were just some of the celebrities seated courtside) it was like nothing the region has seen to date.

But the in game experience that the Dallas Mavericks have perfected like no other team in the Association did not translate well to Cowboys Stadium. Basketball is not meant to be played in such cavernous environs, and sound problems that plagued the first half served to exaggerate that point.

all star game

When I look back on the Dallas All-Star Weekend 20 years from now, I’ll no doubt remember rubbing elbows with Dwayne Wade, taking my family to the NBA Jam Session at the Dallas Convention Center, and attending the Rookie Challenge. But I’ll also remember other firsts, like helping my son build his first snow fort or shoveling snow out of my driveway for the first time.

Snow during Super Bowl XLV next year could prove fatal for the region’s desire to join the rotation for the NFL’s annual blowout. But since the All-Star game probably won’t be back in Dallas for a generation, the weather accentuated a weekend that was one for the history books.

Categories: Featured, Point of View, Shawn Williams
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