Postcards from All-Star
by Mike Trudell
Lakers Reporter | February 17th, 2010

1 What better way to start our trip than to take an unsolicited photo of our boss, GM Mitch Kupchak, while he read the paper in the airport? Kupchak (and Shannon Brown) happened to be on our flight to Dallas, and Kupchak revealed that he never missed a team flight in his playing days.

2 Beneath the Nike hood, behind the phone, it was everybody's pick for Slam Dunk Champ, Shannon Brown. Trying to keep a low profile, Brown made sure not to showcase his 44.5-inch vertical in the terminal, so as not to alert Air Traffic Control.

3 At dinner on Thursday night,'s Ty Nowell and I were pleased to see that a Dallas restaurant would boast "Kobe Bryant Half Court Sliders." But I'll be honest ... we both ordered a buffalo chicken sandwich. Sorry.

4 Oh by the way, did we mention that it snowed for the first two days? I may has well have gone back home to Minneapolis.

5 At Friday's media session, an absurd amount of reporters shoved around the world's most famous player, Kobe Bryant, to inquire about his ankle in five different languages. A word of advice if you find yourself in such a scrum: avoid the flailing elbows of French cameramen.

6 On Friday night, we went to see the (Laker-less) Rookie-Sophomore game, and had fun betting on how many times Russell Westbrook would dribble up the floor and shoot without passing (roughly 15). Pau Gasol, flanked by a lady friend and Shannon Brown, was there to support brother Marc.

7 In case you forgot, Pau Gasol represented Team LA along with Brent Barry (as a Clipper) and Marie Ferdinand-Harris of the Sparks in the Shooting Stars competition. Pau accounted well for himself in getting team LA to the finals, though they lost to Dirk's Team Texas. Shame.

8 All-Star Saturday night wasn't the best evening for those of us that constantly promoted, but it was fun to see Kobe and his wife sitting next to Kevin Garnett, with Shaq two seats over. Bryant promptly changed into his Lakers warm ups to assist Brown on his second dunk.

9 Our first look at monstrous Cowboys Stadium, the largest domed stadium in the world, featuring the world's biggest HD video screen that hangs between opposite 20 yard lines (see below). The stadium cost roughly $1.3 billion to build, and may as well have been called the "Death Star." Sweet.

10 Upon entering the stadium, the first thing that stands out is the beautiful, ornate concession stands. Just kidding. Obviously the video board is completely absurd. Unfortunately, I forgot to bring the correct cable hookups for my XBOX 360, so I couldn't challenge Carmelo to a game of NBA 2K10.

11 That's me, opting for the casual one-hand-in-pocket, ok-fine-take-the-picture look. Behind are rows upon rows of soon-to-be-filled seats. After that pic, I turned and hammered home an alley-oop from Steve Nash, but no video of the dunk exists. Do you believe that? Stinks.

12 Dwight Howard never misses the opportunity to flex his admittedly Pop-Eye-like muscles, and has a variety of skin tight muscle shirts to aide that cause. Shown here warming up, Howard then gave his shirt to Usher.

13 See! Look at Usher's outfit! Even if you're not buying that Howard gave him the shirt, does he not look ready for battle? At least on top, with the armored shirt. Yet on the bottom, he's rocking leather capri pants with big boots. As Lamar Odom once said, "100 percent not carpris!"

14 Seriously, how big is the video board? Has Alicia Keys ever seen her face take up the size of a hot air balloon? Ty and I were sitting in that spot on the 200 level, a bit far away from the court, but the video board made that inconsequential.

15 Here's one take on what Kobe was thinking just then: "This sucks. I hate, hate, hate having to wear this sweater instead of my All-Star jersey. And you put Chris Kaman on my left, after he said Pau Gasol doesn't deserve to be an All-Star? Really! OK forget it, can someone take me to the locker room?"

16 "Another video board shot, Mike?" you ask? Yes. It was awesome, OK? This shot signified the introduction of Team USA, with each American receiving individual recognition. Kobe got the loudest cheer from the assembled 108,713 people (that attendance number was legit, by the way).

17 That'd be my laptop, suffering from my constant key strokes on the pictured "2010 All-Star Running Diary" and my @LakersReporter Twitter account. In the background, David Lee is sort of creeping on me from the video board.

18 Gasol accounted for himself quite well in the game, posting 13 points and grabbing six rebounds in 20 minutes. His only regret in the game was not winning, as two Chris Bosh free throws and a missed buzzer-beating Carmelo Anthony three-point attempt gave the East a 141-139 point win.

19 Ty wondered how much this ball, in the hotel mini-store, was worth now? (Note From Ty: I offered them $2 for it, but they weren't taking less than retail, even though they knew that Josh Howard had been traded)

20 Get some! Loved this kid, and this shot. Arriving curbside at the DFW airport, Ty and I saw this kid rocking the Kobe jersey and asked him if he wanted to represent on He immediately got all fierce with the wide-armed pose. Straight cash.