ARLINGTON — A record-shattering crowd filled Cowboys Stadium for the NBA All-Star game Sunday night, but not all fans were happy about the line to get in.
The announced attendance was 108,713. Never before had so many people witnessed a basketball game, compounding security concerns around the massive dome. Thousands of federal, state and local police forces were deployed for crowd control, with SWAT teams, sharpshooters and bomb-sniffing dogs standing by for any eventuality.
The NBA mandated that each fan be screened through a metal detector, a first for the stadium. That resulted in long lines of up to an hour in temperatures just above freezing with gusty winds blowing.
Some ticket-holders elected not to wait.
"The event staff is doing a horrible job of letting people just cut right through," said one frustrated fan.
At times, the crush of humanity clearly overwhelmed the security forces.
"Right now, I'm the only like soldier in their army to try to keep people be patient," said a stadium staffer trying to maintain order.
Some in the crowd even shouted down one line-jumper, who was eventually shamed into going to the back of the queue.
Officials said they were unaware of any major problems leading up to the game.
Some fans complained they didn't get to see all of the pre-game festivities, although officials insisted that all the major crowds were cleared in time for tip-off.
When it was all said and done, there were very few arrests, and fans were clearly giddy to see NBA luminaries of the past -- like Boston Celtics great Kevin McHale -- and of the present, like the Lakers' Kobe Bryant.
Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones was watching it all with keen interest, because the stadium will be hosting Super Bowl XLV next February.
"That's what we envisioned when we decided to make this a little bit more than just a home for the Cowboys," he said, adding that the organization will focus on resolving any procedural problems in time for the NFL championship game.
"I think one of the things we really want to have come out of these sorts of events is to have Dallas and North Texas be viewed as the premiere place for large sporting events," said Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert. "A lot of planning and a lot of resources contributed to very, very few incidents."
Even the celebrity superstars were impressed. On the red carpet, rapper Jay Z told News 8 he liked Dallas, and even talked to kids at a local Boys and Girls Club about his rags-to-riches story.
"I come from a tough environment," he said. "I'm just thrilled at the fact that me and [Cleveland Cavaliers player] LeBron [James] can be role models."
North Texas officials are hoping the success of the NBA All-Star game proves to the world that this region can do things bigger and better.