The man in the lobby with the long, tall hat, the pleated beige suit and fistful of tickets drawing so much attention at the Adolphis Hotel would identify himself only as "J.R."
A bit presumptuous, perhaps, but there was no doubt that by nightfall "J.R." would have as much money as the Ewing millionaire whose moniker he borrowed. The scene that stands out here, as the city of Dallas prepares for the NCAA Final Four, is a hotel lobby full of people walking around asking anyone and everyone, "Got any extra tickets?"
Reunion Arena will hold only 16,000 or so Saturday when the national semifinals are played, which is about 8,000 fewer bodies than last year at Rupp Arena and 20,000 fewer than the year before, in Seattle's Kingdome.
And because so few tickets are available, good ol' "J.R.", who is called "a broker" down here, stands to make a Texas-sized profit for scalping tickets for up to $1,000 each.
"Us Texans think big, we eat big, we drink big and we spend big," J.R. said. "By sundown, I'll be able to buy Southfork."
There were several ticket transactions made for $300 and $400 right on the steps of Reunion Arena. Scalping is illegal in Texas, the police say, but selling tickets for face value is fine. Face value of one ticket -- good for all three games -- is $46.
One man, after handing over $1,500 -- he said -- for three tickets, said, "Hell, I got myself a steal. I came down here prepared to go up to $800 apiece. Now, I got some drinking money left."
Tickets, however, are about the only real passion surrounding the Final Four this year. The big money people in Lexington, Ky., always have either basketball or horse racing on their minds. Here, football is king.
Reunion Arena has been elaborately decorated, with a banner around the top that reads, "Destination Dallas." But the lobby of the main hotel, the Hyatt Regency, has been conspicuously empty by 1 a.m. every night, which is about three hours earlier than the good folk of Lexington and Albuquerque (1983) turned in.
With the practice sessions of all four teams open to the public today, for free, Reunion Arena was only half full. Southern Methodist probably will draw a larger crowd next week for its spring football game.
The city has not stopped just because four of the best college basketball teams are in town. One mile away from the arena, downtown on Commerce Street, a group picketed the Earle Cabell Federal Building and carried signs that read, "Stop U.S. Aggression on Libya."
Still, CBS television is aggressively promoting the Final Four.
In all, 120 CBS people, including technicians, management types, production staffers and talent, are on hand. CBS has become a bigger part of the action than the players. On Sunday in Ferris Park, announcers Billy Packer and Brent Musburger will guest conduct the "Col. Bogey March" for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
A CBS official said Packer and Musburger will be getting "tuned up" for Monday night's game.
CBS is outnumbered, however, by one group here: the National Association of Basketball Coaches, which has approximately 3,200 members in town for its annual convention.
The hottest action of the week -- "J.R." and his brokers not included -- may be taking place in the Loew's Anatole Hotel, where the coaches have their headquarters.
The convention serves as an "employment clearing house," as one Division I head coach put it. There are a lot of important looking men wearing coats and ties, or expensive sweat suits; these are the head coaches.
There are also a lot of men wearing jeans, or less-expensive warm-ups; these are the college assistants and high school coaches.
The men in jeans keep "bumping into" the men wearing neckties, hoping to find out about job openings, or actually start the application process.
But the four hotels that serve as headquarters for the teams -- Duke, Kansas, Louisville and Louisiana State -- have been virtually devoid of rowdiness.
It certainly doesn't resemble one night in 1982 in New Orleans when about 2,500 people from Georgetown took over Pat O'Brien's in the French Quarter and turned it into M Street South.
But J.R. has hope.
"It's early," J.R. said. "There's lots of time, and lots of money to go. It's early."