What This 2011 NBA Championship, By The Dallas Mavericks, Means To Me.

I loved (Yes, LOVED) the Dallas Mavericks. Growing up, I watched as year after year we got close but failed to win an NBA Championship. Early on, I was a Derek Harper fan. The guy was awesome. He was a leader. He made 1 huge mistake and dribbled the ball out against the Lakers in the 1984 Western Conference Finals. I’ve had bad days at work but it’s never been televised. Heartbreaking.

The tragedy starts at about 3:50.
The Mavericks would lose again to the Lakers in the 1988 Western Conference Finals. I would skip school with Kyle Hall and try to score tickets. We ended up meeting David Gear and his father who were trying to go to the game as well. We waited all day and nothing. It still sticks with me a one of my all time favorite Maverick memories. The waiting, not the lose.

I love how OJ is cheering the Lakers at the :24 mark.

Then Derek left for the Knicks in 1993. His hopes were dashed by the Houston Rockets. More than the Rockets, I blame John Starks for their loss. He never met a shot he didn’t like.

As far as the Mavericks were concerned, the 1990s were the worst time in the entire franchise. I was in college and met some new Maverick fans. One of them was Eddie Gibbons. We were convinced we could get floor seats for next to nothing. Which is good because next to nothing is what I was making as a college student. We hit up some ticket brokers to find out most didn’t even carry tickets for them. We eventually found one. This was a pre Internet situation so there was a lot of calling from our HOME TELEPHONES!! This is how we got shit done back in the day.

Dallas v Denver 5th row from the floor. Tickets were $50 bucks each. We sat close enough to hear Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf’s Tourette acting up. We were actually sitting so low that Dikembe Mutombo was taller than where we were sitting. The Mavericks won that game. I went to 3 total games that season and they won each one. Why does this matter. They went 11-71 that year. Another great Maverick memory. The games not the year.

In 1992, the Dallas Mavericks took Jim Jackson with the 4th pick in the draft. Dude had skills and combined with the fact this team had no talent, he had major stats. Yes, he held out. I saw an interview where he explained why. I had never seen an athlete explain in such a manner why he felt he was worthy of a large contract. Jim was well spoken. He was a guy I could follow and Jim had crazy insane talent. The Mavs added Jason Kidd and Jamal Mashburn to form the “Three J’s”. This lasted about as long as New Coke. Mashburn has surgery. Kidd and Jackson fought over Toni Braxton. All the J’s ended up traded by the start of the 1997 season.

Part of the Kidd trade was Steve Nash and Michael Finley. Loved to watch Finley play! LOVED! Here enjoy!

Explosive. Could take it inside or shoot outside. I became a fan of Wisconsin because that’s where he played college ball. Dude stepped up when needed and settled back as Dirk came into his own. Then he was waived by Dallas to avoid the luxury tax. This was devastating to me. We got nothing. Finley went to the Spurs and won a championship. Nash was gone the year before. Dirk was left with not much support all because of business decisions. I had named 1 of my dogs Maverick and another Finley. If I love you enough, I will name a dog after you.

I gave up. Dirk was and is a great player but he’s boring to me. He didn’t play a lot of defense. He had no style. He had a fade away jump and that’s about it. I couldn’t get attached to another player that was just going to play until it was time to leave for a contender. I quit watching. I quit investing.

The NBA was still looking for another Jordan and wasn’t impressive at all. I would watch the Spurs occasionally but Dallas wasn’t a team that excited me. The talk was LeBron James was the next Jordan. While I still watched SportsCenter, I had become married with kids and had less time for sports. LeBron was a name I heard because he was going high in the draft. It looked like he’d end up in Cleveland but I didn’t care.

Meanwhile, Dirk was working away in Dallas, I quit naming my dogs after anything associated with the Dallas Mavericks and LeBron was starting his highlight reel.

In 2006, the Dallas Mavericks would make it to the NBA Championship playing against an aging Shaq and the Miami Heat. Shaq was a guy that should have been in Dallas. During the 1990’s when Dallas won at failing, Shaq was in the draft during one of these awful seasons. Luck of the Mavs put them at 4th and Orlando at 1st. While they got Shaq, we got Jim Jackson. I wasn’t bothered by this because Shaq was a whore who left Orlando via free agency for the Lakers. After the Lakers were through with him, he ended up in Miami. Fuck him. Anyhow, I was interested. I didn’t watch any series until this one. Call me a fair weather fan, so be it. They broke my heart again! Up 2 games, they choked hard and lost 4 in a row to the Heat.

201o – Dirk is a free agent. LeBron is a free agent. While the world watched LeBron make a specticle of himself on TV, Dirk signed with Dallas.

Team officials released no terms of the deal. However, sources close to the talks told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that it is a four-year deal worth $80 million, with a no-trade clause.

The nine-time All-Star agreed to the deal July 4 after a bit of a circuitous route delayed negotiations and left Mavs fans anxious as to whether Nowitzki was looking at other options on the free-agent market. Nowitzki, 32, opted out of the final year of his contract that would have paid him $21.5 million next year, but ultimately his loyalty to the only team he’s played for won out.

Nowitzki’s deal will pay him $17.3 million next season with pay increases due in each of the next three seasons, topping out at 22.7 million in 2013-14, sources told Stein. The contract contains a no-trade clause that prevents the Mavs from dealing the 7-foot power forward without his consent. Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant is the only other player in the NBA with a no-trade clause.

The former MVP could have re-signed for as much as $96.2 million, but he gave the Mavs a hometown discount to help ease the luxury-tax burden on owner Mark Cuban and with the hope that it will enable Cuban to continue to make trades and chase high-profile players to improve the team.

via ESPN.com



And this is how Cav fans reacted. Well, the nice clean AP version.

It is disappointing. I quit following a team I had loved because it lost a player. My favorite player. I can’t imagine how these guys dealt. I do know they burned jerseys and got a little rowdy. I hope they recover and I wish Cav fans the best because this was a shitty thing to do.

This year, I get to go to some games and I’ve been looking at the players the Mavericks have been picking up. I’m really digging Tyson Chandler’s strong inside game and he’s fun to watch. Then the Mavs make it to the playoffs and David Hopkins invites me to the first round.  It was pretty damn awesome. He got to see them sweep the Lakers in 4 with his Dad. I got to go again with D-Hop to an OKC Thunder game. The playoff atmosphere is fantastic but I’d been disappointed before so I wasn’t going to get excited.

Then they won the OKC series and we had the rematch with the Miami Heat. Decades of failing had me worried that I was going to get caught up in the hype again. The Mavs were winning but would they choke again? I was staying up later for games and losing sleep. I had been checking scores on my phone while I was at my cousin’s wedding and during the comic book club, I run. I still wasn’t convinced they could make this happen until the clock was at 0:00.

via Yahoo Sport.com

All I can say is “Thanks, Dirk”. Thanks for staying and rebuilding. Thanks for not going to a “contender” or announcing your new team on TV. Thanks for just showing up to work and making concessions so we could have a winner in Dallas again.