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Texas promises to make All-Star Game in Dallas huge

DALLAS - When it comes to the NBA All-Star Game, everything is bigger in Texas. Take it from one of the hosts of this year's spectacle in Dallas, which will draw the largest crowd ever for a basketball game.

"It's going to be such an amazing, huge event. I mean, this will be the biggest All-Star ever," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said recently. "There's going to be so much going on, it literally could be for North Texas the largest party weekend in the history of the United States. That's how big this thing has gotten."

LeBron James and the rest of the NBA's best - minus Kobe Bryant, who has a sore ankle - will play Sunday night at the new Cowboys Stadium, with more than 90,000 fans expected.

Cuban and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones had hoped the NBA would push for more than 100,000, and the building could accommodate it, but that's unlikely with the way the venue will be reconfigured for basketball.

Still, it easily will topple the record for the largest crowd to watch a basketball game - 78,129 for a college game between Kentucky and Michigan State at Detroit's Ford Field on Dec. 13, 2003.

"You guys have been to All-Star Weekend in other places," Cuban told reporters. "I mean, we shut down cities. I mean, literally, you go to any city and it basically shuts it down. So imagine having 100,000 people and all the people come for the parties.''

Cuban added that the attendance and party scene will "make the Super Bowl look like a bar mitzvah."

The players are looking forward to playing in the $1.2-billion stadium, with its high-definition video boards that stand roughly 60 yards wide and 25 yards high.

"It's going to be fun," said James, a Cowboys fan who attended the first regular-season game there in September. "The home of the Cowboys makes it a lot more special to me because of how much I love and watch those guys every year. It's going to be fun."

Players largely prefer shooting in smaller venues as opposed to domes, and playing in something as enormous as Cowboys Stadium could mess with their accuracy.

"I think that in those big venues, it's tougher on shooters getting their scope. I think your depth perception is just off a little bit just because of the background," said Kevin McHale, an All-Star for the Celtics now working as an NBA TV analyst. "But it's going to be so much fun to be in there with that crowd and that environment."

New York Sports