We caught up with the NBA LIVE 07 Video Game Tournament winner Iacopo Dini (17) from Rome, to get his impressions of rubbing shoulders with the world’s best basket ball players at the NBA All Stars Weekend in Las Vegas. Fresh off the plane from his first ever trip to the US, Iacopo was still glowing with the memories of this once in a lifetime experience for a true basketball fan – in real and virtual life. Last October, Iacopo won the NBA LIVE 07 video game tournament which was conducted as part of NBA Europe Live presented by EA SPORTS™. He emerged victoriously from the semi final in Rome, and dribbled himself to victory in an intense final played between the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets finishing off his rival 41:38. His prize: an all expenses paid trip to the NBA All Star weekend.

How did you win this trip to the NBA All Stars weekend?
At the beginning, I won the NBA LIVE 07 tournament organized during the NBA basket Jam at the Terme of Caracalla in Rome. After that, I qualified for the Italian final match played during the pre-game of the NBA Europe Live tour between Phoenix Suns and Lottomatica Roma. I beat the winner of the tournament organized in Milan and I became the Italian Winner of NBA LIVE 07. The victory allowed me to fly to Cologne to challenge all the other European Winners of NBA LIVE tournaments. After a very emotional game against the French finalist, who I only beat in the last second, I won the overall tournament and the trip to Las Vegas to the NBA All Star weekend!

Do you play basketball in real life?
Yes, I play basketball in a Team in Rome, I play Guard.

How did you train for the NBA Europe Live tournament?
I’ve been playing EA SPORTS’ NBA LIVE for a long time, so I knew the game really well. But I’ve been able to train during the qualifying round at the Italian tournament at the Terme of Caracalla.

You have just returned from the NBA All Star weekend in Las Vegas - what was the highlight of the trip?
The trip to Las Vegas was fantastic. The highlights were the three nights at the Thomas and Mack Center where I attended the "Rookie Challenge", "All-Star week-end" and the "All-Star game".

Have you been to the US before?
No, never.

Who did you go to Las Vegas with?
I went to Las Vegas with my parents and with a friend.

Who is your favourite NBA player - at the moment and of all time?
At the moment, my favourite player is Kevin Garnett from the Minnesota Timberwolves. And my favourite ever is, like for most of basket ball fans, the one and only Michael Jordan.

What’s your favourite basketball moment?
Going to an All Star Game has always been a dream for me, and now that it has come true, this is absolutely my best basket ball moment ever.

What do you enjoy about playing NBA LIVE on the Xbox 360?
I really like the realistic moves, the exceptional graphics and the gameplay, which make you feel like you’re really there among those champions fighting for the very last score point...well, almost [smiles]!!!

Will you enter this year’s NBA LIVE 07 Video Game Tournament again?
Of course! I will defend the title this year.