Julius Erving had a sudden flashback as he strolled past a practice court set up in the Louisiana Superdome for Sunday's NBA All-Star Game.
Dr. J, who including his years as a player has been to 37 straight All-Star weekends, played before what was then a single-game record 35,077 in a game against the New Orleans Jazz in 1977.
"It made me think about not only that game, but the next day, Pete Maravich, Dick Cavett and I were the only ones in the building during the Dick Cavett show," Erving said. "Those two days are etched in my mind, very special days, and it all came back to me."
The Jazz played in New Orleans for five seasons from 1974 to 1979 before moving to Utah, playing its final four seasons in the Superdome. The Jazz never made the playoffs. But with Maravich, a former LSU star, making circus shots and passes, attendance in the dome met or exceeded league averages in three seasons.
SPECIAL STARS: Carlton Lockett had a surprise for Dwight Howard.
When the Magic center, who won Saturday's slam dunk contest after donning a Superman outfit complete with a red cape, met Lockett, the youngster from Cleveland busted into his own Superman move made famous by Soulja Boy's popular Crank Dat song.
"I showed him how to do it," said the 15-year-old Lockett, a liver transplant patient who was a guest of the NBA and the Make-A-Wish Foundation at the weekend's All-Star events.
Lockett and three other sick youngsters visited with all the players. The biggest thrill for Lockett was meeting Allen Iverson, his all-time favorite.
"He almost fainted when A.I. came around the corner," said his mother, Chabli. "He's been an A.I. fan since he was 4 or 5 years old."
"I told him I was his biggest fan," Carlton said. "People back home give me a hard time about it."
No doubt. A kid from Cleveland whose favorite player isn't LeBron James?
"He came along too late," Carlton said. "LeBron's cool though. I saw him in the hotel lobby every day."
The NBA and Make-A-Wish have teamed for the past 12 years.
STAR-STUDDED: As usual, the All-Star Game was a star-studded affair not only on the court but in the stands.
Those making VIP entrances on a red carpet included actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Alyssa Milano, Gabrielle Union, Olivia Wilde, Chris Rock, Terry Crews and Corbin Blue. Musical artist Ludacris and music producer Jimmy "Jam" Harris also were on hand.
The game being in New Orleans, however, former Saints quarterback Archie Manning, father of Peyton and Eli, was treated like the biggest star if them all. The crowd erupted when his face appeared on the scoreboard video screen.
Who heard boos? Dallas Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens.
LEBRON WANTS HELP: The Cavs' LeBron James is unhappy about not getting help.
Saturday's Mike Bibby trade, in which Sacramento sent him to Atlanta for four players, coupled with New Jersey still trying to move Jason Kidd to Dallas reportedly has James fuming.
ESPN.com reported that the Nets and Mavericks are closing in on a deal that would send Kidd back to his original team.
"San Antonio is the Western champion. We are the Eastern champion. Everyone talks about everyone else," James said in a sarcastic rant.
"We're not that good. That's what everyone talks about. We beat Detroit. We didn't beat Detroit; Detroit beat themselves. Washington was missing key guys, and New Jersey didn't play up to their capabilities. Enough of the Cavs now.
"You all got me a little upset."
Asked if his team needs to make a deal, James tried to be delicate: "If we can get better, you want to be in that position. This is nothing to do with any of my teammates I have in my locker room. They know I'd never disrespect their games. But as a competitor, if we can get better before (the trade deadline) Thursday, hopefully we can.
"I'm not the only guy who wants to get better. I'm the only one who gets interviewed."
The Chicago Tribune reported that James' associates are making it clear that improving the team quickly remains a litmus test on whether he'll look favorably on re-signing in Cleveland.
Anderson Varejao and Drew Gooden are the names that come up most often, though the Cavs would most like to deal Larry Hughes. Acquiring Ron Artest from the Kings remains possible if the Cavs would take some Sacramento's bad contracts. The question is how much they have to do to satisfy James.