Schayes, a Hall of Famer who found out only a few months ago that in 1951 he scored the first basket in NBA All-Star Game history, looked on in bewilderment Sunday night when a basketball-record crowd of 108,713 packed Cowboys Stadium for the latest NBA All-Star Game.
"I have mixed emotions,'' said Schayes, 81. "Basketball is secondary really. It's just a crowd, and entertainment takes precedence over basketball.''
They did manage to squeeze in a basketball game around the other events, with a final box score showing the East beat the West, 141-139. At least there were no box scores distributed on the other events, which included performances by musical stars Usher, Shakira and Alicia Keys and plenty of introductions.
Nobody introduced Schayes for having scored the first basket in All-Star history, but he wonders who even knows that. Schayes said he wasn't aware of it until his son, Danny, a former longtime NBA center, paid close attention to a film clip last October.
The clip was among several shown during a dinner Danny planned to attend until one of his kids took ill. Having missed it, Danny later watched the clip himself.
"It was an old Converse reel,'' Danny said. "The announcer said, 'It's the opening tip of the first All-Star Game [at Boston Garden]. The tip comes down and they swing it over to Dolph Schayes, and he hits a runner on the left side.'
"Nobody knows this. I was watching it and, 'Oh, my God. He has the first basket in All-Star history.' I mentioned it to him and he wouldn't believe it for the longest time. I said, 'It's on the film.'''
Until he watched the film, Schayes said he didn't know he scored the first bucket. He only knows now what he's viewed.
"[Boston's] Bob Cousy hits me in the corner, and I hit a shot,'' Schayes said. "I was just watching [the film the first time] for entertainment. Then when we dissected it, we said, 'That's the first basket.'''
So should the NBA recognize Schayes at some point for the first All-Star basket?
"They can't recognize everything,'' said the modest Schayes.
For the record, Schayes scored 15 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the first All-Star Game. He went on to play in 11 more All-Star Games.
Let's just say the affair was a bit different in 1951 than in 2010.
"They almost didn't have it [in 1951] because no owner wanted to take it on,'' Schayes said. "They were worried about losing money. ... We got a $25 savings bond for playing. The NBA spent $18.75 for it, and when it matured it was for $25 in about five to 10 years. ... We were all excited because we wanted to show the [up-tempo] Eastern style of basketball was superior to the [halfcourt oriented] Western style.''
The East proved it with a 111-94 win over the West before a crowd of 10,094. Times that crowd by more than 10, and that's how many were on hand Sunday.
"It's 180 degrees,'' Schayes said of the difference between the first All-Star Game and the latest. "It's like another planet.''
Not that Schayes thinks everything is better about this new world.
"The great players should really pass the ball more than three or four times,'' said Schayes, saying All-Star Games were much more team-oriented in his day. "The original owners would be turning in their graves. ... Basketball was it, and not just a bunch of entertainment. But from bottom dollar point of view, the entertainment brings in the peripheral fan. ... From the purist point of view, it's crap.''
Schayes, who was with his son and Danny's wife, Wendy, said his tickets, which were on the field but several rows back and in the corner, cost $500 apiece. He said it never was the intent of original owners to charge prices that only wealthy people can afford.
"I think the founders of the NBA, the old owners, would be a bit annoyed,'' Schayes said. "Because they wanted the little guy to get a chance to see the game. Look at the NBA ticket prices [now] for regular-season games. For a kid to get a chance to see a game, they might only be able to sit up in a balcony on a deal for 15 bucks.''
Despite all his gripes, Schayes was glad he showed up.
"Yes, this is an event, and history is being made,'' he said. "Next year, they're in [the] Staples [Center]. What are they going to do next year to top this? They'll have to get the director and producer of Avatar (James Cameron) to put on a show.''
Maybe then the NBA could recognize Schayes for scoring the first All-Star basket. He joked, if that ever happened, it would lead to the "resurgence of the two-handed set shot.''
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson