The recent NBA championship coming home to Dallas, TX stirred up a lot of feelings and emotions for a city desperately seeking a team to call champion for the first time in 12 years. This particular victory is that much sweeter because it is our basketball team’s inaugural title. We as fans have spent the last decade defending our team, sulking at our failures, and always re-energizing for the upcoming season. I gathered my fellow Dallas threaders (realist23, facecurtinista, chadstanton, and slimshady817) to share their thoughts with the world on their relationship with our beloved Mavericks over the last 2 decades.
Question 1: How long have you been a Mavericks fan?
ChadStanton: I became a Mavericks fan in ’93 when my Grandmother took me to a regular season game.
Realist23: I grew up a huge Jordan fan ever since I can remember so I was a Bulls fan, but I always cheered for my home team even though they were terrible. Let me make it. The 90’s were a horrible time in Mavs’ history. I remember those 11 and 13 win seasons. Going to Reunion Arena for a Mavs’ game was like going to watch an execution. That was my home team, though. As bad as they were, they were still mine.
Facecurtinista: Since 2008 after I moved to the east coast. Didn’t really rock with any NBA team before that, just individual players. I started rooting for the Mavs because I felt a stronger connection to all things Dallas due to homesickness.
SlimShady817: I emerged with a sports consciousness when I was about 7 or 8 and since then, I have always strictly adhered to the principal of fan geography – namely, that I am required by Sports Law to cheer only for those teams closest in proximity. So it was always the Mavs. Though I can’t remember the exact season, it was definitely as far back as the Derek Harper days.
Fnasty: I became a Mavericks fan after Hakeem Olajuwon left the Houston Rockets to play in Toronto. We cheered for him as a family, and Hakeem and I had too many similarities for me not to appreciate his game and leadership,
Question 2: What were your initial thoughts when we acquired Dirk Nowitzki in 1998?
ChadStanton: I didn’t think much of it, we had acquired good players before, word to the Three J’s but I was convinced the franchise would never be good. I also remember being upset that we didn’t keep The Tractor Traylor during that season so I guess I wasn’t really high on Dirk’s potential at the outset.
Realist23: I wondered why the hell we would trade Tractor Traylor (who was legit in college) for this European guy I had never heard of. I guess Don Nelson knew what he was doing.
Facecurtinista: “Oh look, the Mavs drafted another tall white guy…”
SlimShady817: I remember thinking that the hit rate on skinny, white, 7-foot foreigners wasn’t great, but I was on board in his rookie season when I actually got to watch him play. At least I wasn’t pining after Tractor Traylor…
Fnasty: WTF! At that time, we had zero inside presence and I remembered Tractor Taylor dunking on the entire Big10 conference for breakfast. Then I thought, hope he is better than Toni Kukoc. That’s why Don Nelson gets paid the big bucks I guess. #RIP Robert “Tractor” Taylor.
Question 3: What was your worst moment being a Mavericks fan?
ChadStanton: It’s a tie between the 2006 NBA Finals and the first round of 2007. In ’06 I literally stood about a foot from the tv and yelled at the top of my lungs during every loss. I wanted to punch Dwyane Wade in the throat. In 2007 watching the Mavericks get pushed around by the Warriors was just spirit breaking. It was then that I had resigned myself to Dirk going down as the best player in franchise history but still not being good enough to win a title.
Realist23: 2006. That year will forever be synonymous with the lowest of lows for me as a fan of any of my teams. I was in Austin at the time, so I was surrounded by Rockets and Spurs fans still salty and hating the fact that we were about to join the ranks of Texas Champions. Then…it happened. Total and utter collapse. Exposure. Free throws. Dwyane Wade (why is his name spelled like that?). Terrible officiating. Tim Donahue. Four straight losses. That collapse will go down as one of the worst sports memories in my 25 years of existence. I was truly devastated.
Facecurtainista: Losing to Golden State in the playoffs after having the best regular season record. And to Don Nelson at that!
SlimShady817: It’s easy to say the summer of 2006, and that was devastating, but I’m going to go with the next postseason, when we lost to the #8 seed Golden State Warriors. I had convinced myself that the Finals loss was an aberration and the Mavs would surely romp to a title or two with a chip on their shoulder. To lose in the first f**king round… to Don f**king Nelson… and for it to be two springs in a row… f**k me.
Fnasty: 2006 Finals to the Heat. Still. Not. Over. It. Thanks a lot Donahue.
Question 4: Rapid Fire Favorites.
- Mavs coach? tie between Rick Carlisle & Avery Johnson.
- Mavs player in the 1990s? Popeye Jones, he was as ugly as Sam Cassell but between him and Sam Perkins he was pretty much all we had.
- Mavs player in the 2000s (other than Dirk)? Nick Van Exel, he played with a chip on his shoulder and never shrank during crunch time he was our proto-Jet
- Playoff memory before the 2011 Finals? Dirk dominating Kevin Garnett in their head to head series, Garnett was a favorite of mine so to see Dirk dominate him and win a series over him showed me Dirk’s potential
- Mavericks jersey of all time? Mavericks Mark Aguirre, dude had a cool ass last name and the original logo is way better than the new one.
- Mavs coach? Avery Johnson
- Mavs player in the 1990s? Jim Jackson
- Mavs player in the 2000s (other than Dirk)? Jason Terry
- Playoff memory before the 2011 Finals? Failure. Pick a year.
- Mavericks jersey of all time? The old school Rolando Blackman jersey
- Mavs coach? Avery Johnson
- Mavs player in the 1990s? Jamal Mashburn
- Mavs player in the 2000s (other than Dirk)? Devin Harris
- Playoff memory before the 2011 Finals? Game 3 of the 2006 Finals 😦
- Mavericks jersey of all time? Gotta go Steve Nash because I actually had that jersey..
- Mavs coach? Though I would hate him with the passion of a fire suns just a few years later, I loved everything about the Don Nelson era at the time..
- Mavs player in the 1990s? Jamal Mashburn
- Mavs player in the 2000s (other than Dirk)? If not Dirk, how can it be anyone other than Nash?!
- Playoff memory before the 2011 Finals? May 4, 2001, Calvin Booth takes a feed from Michael Finley and drops in a layup at the buzzer to give the Mavericks a 84-83 win and a 3-2 series lead over the Stockton-Malone Jazz. Dirk/Nash/Finley’s first playoff series. We had arrived.
- Mavericks jersey of all time? .http://www.amazon.com/Nowitzki-Reebok-Throwback-Swingman-Mavericks/dp/B0007QC48S
- Mavs coach? Mark Cuban. For keeping Dirk happy and making all the right moves. Sans signing Antoine Walker.(And yes, I’m aware he’s the owner)
- Mavs player in the 1990s? Jason Kidd! Never thought a Mavs player would go to the All-star game until Jason Kidd led the league in assists. I remember buying the McD’s cup commemorating his All-Star selection. #Awesome
- Mavs player in the 2000s (other than Dirk)? Michael Finley
- Playoff memory before the 2011 Finals? The epic playoff matches between the Mavs and the Sacramento Kings. Mike Bibby could never seem to miss an open jumper back then.
- Mavericks jersey of all time? Original #5 Jason Kidd jersey in green
Question 5: What were your immediate thoughts after the Mavs won the title?
ChadStanton: Dirk Nowitzki is the best player in basketball right now and no one can disparage his legacy now.
Realist23: Redemption. I am still in awe of how much heart this team displayed and how many obstacles they cleared to be able to hoist that trophy to the sky. That victory was more than avenging the 2006 Finals loss. It was for Dirk Nowitzki finally shedding that “soft” label and working his ass off. It was for Jason Kidd finally getting a ring after three attempts. It was for Mark Cuban who was crazy at times, but did whatever it took to make sure his team was in the best position to win. It was for the fans that stuck with this team. It was for the fans that have lived through the embarrassment. It was for the fans that remember how far this franchise has come. It was for the fans that remained loyal and came back every year after early departures and disappointment. It was for the city of Dallas that has watched so many of its teams fail to live up to their potential. It was for pride. It was for us.
FaceCurtainista: This is the best thing since Texas beat USC!
SlimShady817: RELIEF. REDEMPTION. SALVATION. And I haven’t stopped smiling.
Fnasty: The unforseen has happened and Dirk now has every right to…
Bonus Question: Who was more frustrating to watch, Shawn Bradley or Eric Dampier?
ChadStanton: Dampier. Bradley was an oddity and probably too tall to play Basketball but Dampier was just sorry, he looked perpetually out of shape, unfocused, and he couldn’t catch the damn ball. Terrible.
Realist23: Eric Dampier. A guy that big has no excuse to be that bad. (Pause)
Facecurtainista: I don’t really get frustrated by a lack of athleticism by white basketball players. Am I wrong for that? Gotta go with Dampier…But, by trading him, we ended up getting Chandler…so all’s well that ends well with Damp trying to party with the Champs. Lol.
SlimShady817: Dampier was definitely much more frustrating to watch because he had all the physical tools. He was 7’1, reasonably athletic, strong as an ox, and shoulders as wide as Dwight Howard’s. He should have averaged an easy double-double. Blanko Bradley couldn’t even score in Space Jam and no one was even surprised.
Fnasty: Eric(a) Dampier. He actually got to play, he just proved to be ineffective when it mattered the most.
Below is a clip from the celebration parade that put Dallas one World Series away from being a true title town city like New York, Chicago, and Boston.