Dunk contest to be shown in 3-D

Diane Pucin is a Times staff writer.

The NBA is going to announce today that it will present its All-Star Saturday night program of the slam dunk contest, three-point shooting contest and skill challenge in a three-dimensional format at 80 movie theaters around the country Feb. 14.

"This is about embracing new technology and being innovative," said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting Sales Inc. and Turner Sports. Levy said he is not concerned that the theater showing would negatively affect television ratings on TNT.

"We're aiming at the Saturday night moviegoer," Levy said. "And we'll be able to do things with the 3-D cameras that we wouldn't normally be able to do with a live game."

Last Thursday, the NFL broadcast a San Diego Chargers-Oakland Raiders game in 3-D at three movie theaters in an invitation-only event and Fox Sports announced it would show the BCS championship game in 3-D.

Levy said the number of tickets sold at prices he estimates will be from $18 to $22 won't be how success is gauged.

"It's whether the transmission works, the production works, all these pieces of the puzzle," he said. "This is a test more than anything."

Steve Hellmuth, executive vice president of operations and technology for NBA Entertainment, helped produce the NBA 3-D All-Star telecast two years ago in Las Vegas. He said he expects there will be five 3-D cameras used and predicts the slam dunk contest will be "really spectacular."

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diane.pucin@latimes.com

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