Most people that know me, know that I’m a huge NBA fan.
My favorite team is the Dallas Mavericks. I fell in love with them in the early 90’s – back when they played at Reunion.
Ross Perot’s son owned the team. It was easy to get great seats. Go to the arena, raise your hand and a man would magically appear with lower level tickets for $25. Cheap!
It wasn’t long after I started watching the team that they came up with the Big 3: Jason Kidd, Jamal Mashburn and Jimmy Jackson. Some suggested it be renamed the Big 4 (they wanted to throw Popeye Jones in the mix). Those were the good ‘ole days.
For all the excitement the team generated, it was hard to love a loser.
They did better, but eventually the team was dismantled giving way to the Michael Finley era. That’s where this whole thing started. Finley was the heart and soul of the team and he was willing to stick in there even when things were tough… and they were tough.
It wasn’t long until Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki were introduced at that now infamous press conference with Big Nellie smiling like a proud papa. I was excited because I’d read about Steve Nash in Sports Illustrated.
For all the hype, my wife and I remember many nights when Steve was booooooed big time. People said he was out of control. I didn’t care. It was exciting and Finley finally had some guys to play with. Nellie was making progress.
My wife wanted to do something special for my 30th birthday.
She took me to Houston to watch the MAVS vs. ROCKETS. What a cool game. Dirk had a ton of points. It was like his coming out party proving that Big Nellie was a genius.
Pippen, Barkley and The Dream were there that night too. I also remember Barkley trying a behind the back pass that went wildly out of bounds. Those guys were just picking up their twilight checks… mailing it in.
Those were the Dallas Mavericks I loved. I miss Big Nellie. I was happy to see Michael Finley get his ring. My heart hurts for Nash every time the Suns get booted from the playoffs.
I wish Coach Avery Johnson and his family the very best.
Thank you for giving your all to my favorite team. You’ve handled yourself with class and style. You’ll land on your feet… just like all the other guys, I’ll be rooting for you too.