3-D All-Star in an Italian movie theater

TrueHoop reader Andrea e-mails about going to see the All-Star game in 3-D at a movie theater in Italy. I'm amazed, and David Stern must be delighted, to hear that a tape-delayed exhibition game is a big draw in Italy, even late on a school night. Andrea writes:

I'm from Italy and this year the NBA showed the all-star weekend in cinemas all over the world in 3-D, here in Italy included. I live in Padova (a 30-minute drive or so from Venice) and as soon as I found out about it I immediately decided to attend the event.

I couldn't make it to the All-Star Saturday night but I went to the A.S.G. one last night (which was a rebroadcast as the game started at 3 a.m. local time).

Well, let me tell you: It was great. As soon as I joined the cinema I knew right away it wasn't your regular night-out at the cinema and, needless to say, I felt right at home. NBA LA 11 logos were in place at all the entrances and I saw many people, especially young, wearing NBA gear (t-shirts, jerseys etc.) and it was obvious that people who came to watch the game outnumbered those ones who were there to watch movies. It wasn't even close. TV displays showed that there were plenty of seats available for other shows, but the room showing the game was quickly becoming filled to capacity (around 400 seats).

Eventually it really sold out, which kinda surprised me since most people attending were school-aged people or young adults in their 20s. Considering there was school on the next day and the event was scheduled to end around midnight I thought attendance was going to suffer. So glad to be wrong. The place was filled and it was fun to watch the game with them, even though 99 percent of the people there already watched the game on Italian TV and/or knew the final score. It was fun seeing people reacting to plays and screaming players' names. It was a bit weird considering most of the times you can't talk while watching something in a cinema.

It was also surprising nobody left till the end (like I said, it ended around midnight) and people around me (by the way, amazing how many of them showed to know a lot about the NBA ... goes to show that this global thing is not just a myth) were already coming up with excuses to skip school today.

The 3-D thing was awesome. I admit, it was my first time ever watching something in 3-D and, oh boy, did it look like I was courtside at the Staples Center. Even the background sounds. Just like I was there. It was great but you would think attendance at sporting events is going to suffer in the next years since watching a game in 3-D feels like being there ... and you don't have to spend anything to watch it.

My only complaint is they could've cut the timeout breaks rather than showing them in their entirety so that the whole thing could've ended sooner. But other than that it was a great night-out with other NBA fans.

I hope they'll do something similar for the NBA Finals in June. I'd definitely go.