All Stars, All The Time
By Matt Wurst, NBA.com
Celebrities - Just like us!

They get popcorn and nachos from concession stands at basketball games.

Well maybe not just like us. Not when the celebrities are Cameron Diaz or Jeremy Piven and not when the basketball game is the NBA All-Star Game.

Many of the biggest celebrities on the planet were on hand tonight to soak in all of the action. They came to watch basketball, they came to mingle with one another, they came to be seen and, yes, they came for the popcorn and nachos.

Jeremy Piven, Eva Longoria and Cameron Diaz share a snack.
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"I got nachos to start, which was really exciting" Diaz said as she made her way back to her seat from the concession stand underneath the stands. "Then I hit some popcorn while I was waiting for my hot dogs. Once I got the hot dogs, those went down really easy. Then I went back to the popcorn to bring back to my seat for everyone. So it all goes full circle."

Walking The Red Carpet

As much talent as there was on the court in the tonight, most of the biggest and most impressive names in Thomas & Mack Center tonight belonged to the hundreds of celebrities seated courtside and around the arena. They walked the red carpet on arrival and posed for pictures and answered reporters' questions as if it were a movie premiere or awards show. Journalist Maria Shriver, who is also married to California governor Arnold Schwarzeneger, proved that she has picked up some of the skills of her politically-bent family as she walked the red carpet. She also had the table turned on her by inqusitive reporters.

"I would say that everyone is equally accomplished and have futures that are equally bright," the First Lady of California said. "As for the red carpet, I've grown up with this, so I'm comfortable on both sides of the rope."

California First Lady Maria Shriver arrives to walk the red carpet with her son.
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Once the VIPs and celebs made it past the arrival line, they still had to find their seats. Of course, courtside seating at NBA All-Star Weekend is quite the premium ticket.

"I tried to scalp my tickets before the game," joked Steve Carrell, star of "The Office." I wanted $35,000. Then I could have rented my own jet. I wouldn't play blackjack with Charles Barkley, though. I'm not a big gambler. I think I've lost about $100 since I've been here. It's not about pride, though, because I don't go anywhere with that."

Bright Lights, Big City, Bigger Stars

No event in Las Vegas would be complete without the legendary Wayne Newton, who got the show started singing "Viva Las Vegas" alongside a team of showgirls as the Eastern Conference All-Stars were introduced.

"Fortunately and unfortunately, I have not seen any NBA players try out a club act while they have been out here," Newton said. "So far, I'm seeing them do what they do best. I will not dribble a basketball and they have promised not to sing."

Newton, who was introduced by legendary Las Vegas performers Siegfriend and Roy, also paid tribute to the late, great James Brown with a rendition of "I Feel Good" before bringing the Western Conference All-Stars out with his classic hit, "Danke Schoen." But the Vegas showtime feel did not stop there. World-class impersonator and Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year Danny Ganz sang the National Anthem. In his own voice, of course. But he showed us some of this best characters when the spotlight was not on him

Comedian Dave Chapelle and Prince took in the action from the front row.
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Hanging Courtside
"I have not had enough time to get my Shaquille O'Neal impression down," Ganz said. "I could do some of the fans, though. I know Jack Nicholson is here and I was just waiting for the moment where he stood up and said 'Come on, Shaquille! Get off your butt and shoot the ball."

Once the game started, the stars found their seats and settled in to watch the All-Star action. Prince was in the crowd looking as cool as ever, as was Dave Chapelle, who was sitting with Chris Tucker. Baseball great Barry Bonds went over to chit -chat with Chapelle during a time out. Adam Sandler sat next to pal Kevin James and were just down the courtside row from "Grey's Anatomy" stars Ellen Pompeo and James Pickens Jr., who was an assistant coach for the East All-Stars in Friday's Celebrity Game. Among other big names on Celebrity Row were Beyonce and Jay Z, Diddy, Ludacris, Rupert Murdoch, Paris Hilton and a long line of trampoline-jumping Elvis impersonators.

"This is all gravy," actor James Denton said. "One of the great parts of being on a show like "Desperate Housewives" is that I often get to meet some of these NBA greats and legends. I have a pretty good spot to see the game, too. Lower level, pretty close to the front."

The newest celebrity couple: "Carrot Juice!"
Matt Wurst/NBAE Images

Everyone here is a fan and they each have their favorite player, of course. Singer Mya is from Washington D.C. and is a big Washington Wizards fans. She was most excited to see Gilbert Arenas, Agent Zero himself, play in the game tonight. For James Denton's co-star, Eva Longoria, the choice is always pretty obvious.

"Tony! Go West!"

For others, the choice for favorite NBA All-Star is just as obvious.

"Yes, Dirk Nowitzki is my favorite player," David Hasselhoff said. "I'm dear friends with Shaq and Dwyane loves 'Knight Rider, but Dirk sang a David Hasselhoff song, and it became phenomenon. It was so endearing, especially to my dad, who called me up to tell me that Dirk Nowitzki was singing my song. He probably saw me when he was 6-2, 11 years old in a little town called Wurzburg in Germany. And all my friends in Germany call me to say 'Dirk, come on! He's the best!' Yes, all of my friends harrass me about Dirk."

Actress Rosie Perez, despite hailing from Brooklyn, was most looking forward to meeting Nuggets guard Allen Iverson.

"I'm a die-hard Knicks fan, but I love him," the White Men Can't Jump star said. "It broke my heart that he left the East and Philadelphia, but I'm happy for him because it was the right for him.

Toni Braxton enjoyed performing for the litany of superstars in the crowd.
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Show Girls

The halftime show featured performances by Grammy Award winners Toni Braxton and Christina Aguilera. But no one moved from their seats during the performances. Braxton is currently performing on a nightly basis at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas and quickly had to get over for tonight's show after halftime was over.

"I wanted to do something special for the players and fans, you know, to pump them up and get the energy going," Braxton said. "It is always great getting to perform in front of the talented entertainers that were watching from their seats. It not only pushes me a little more to be at my best, but it also makes me feel comfortable to know that these are my peers supporting me."

And, of course, there were the parties. It seems like everywhere you go there was a party to be had. Every player had at least three or four parties to attend each night, many of which were co-hosted by entertainers in town for the weekend.

"I've spent a lot of time at Tryst, a club at the Wynn hotel this weekend," actress Gabrielle Union said. "Dwyane Wade and I had a party there last night and it has just been a lot of fun hanging out around town, party-hopping and going out to eat. Everyone is having a party."

Gabrielle Union and Hill Harper have hit the town for big shindigs.
Ethan Miller/NBAE/Getty Images

V.I.P.'s and M.V.P.'s

In the end, though, the brightest stars were those on the court and even the actors, musicians, comedians and other athletes were in awe of the All-Stars and the play of Most Valuable Player Kobe Bryant.

"This game was incredible," Dave Chapelle said. "It's always fun to watch the All-Star Game because we get to see incredible players in the world doing some crazy things and having fun. Kobe is just a phenomenal basketball player."

The other big star of weekend was the city of Las Vegas. She was a tremendous host not only to the NBA and its stars, but to all of the celebrities and fans as well. The big question of the weekend, though, is will the NBA be back here again?

"This has been a phenomenal weekend for Las Vegas," Mayor Oscar Goodman said. "My respect for the NBA has reached levels that I never tought or knew they could go to. NBA Cares has been everywhere in this city this week. Now we are in the hunt to get a franchise here. The good commissioner threw the ball in my court, I've caught it and now I'm going to score a 3-pointer and we'll all be back here many times."