The inspiration for the beginning of the title of the post began nearly two months ago, on April 23. After the Dallas Mavericks blew a 23-point lead against the Portland Trailblazers, I officially lost it. Facebook was the place to vent frustration over the fact that, once again, the Mavs’, for whatever reason, refused to get out of their own way.
That’s been the story for the Mavericks, and it truly takes being down here, down in Dallas, to fully understand the mindset of people who are invested in this basketball team. Some people overanalyze things, and this was a time when I wasn’t in the mood for overanalyzing…
…so the “No Comment” stance began.
There was to be no more looking ahead; no more “if they do this, then that will happen.” No, it simply became…one game at a time.
The Mavs eventually closed out the Blazers, and then swept the Lakers. Even after that occurred, there still wasn’t much to say. To be invested in the hopes of the Mavs is to eventually learn the art of taking things one game at a time. When one is too high, as was the case when this article was written, it’s dangerous. When one is too low, then you run the risk of being completely pessimistic and even unreasonable.
Once Dallas dispatched of OKC, the Finals opponent was Miami, and it couldn’t be more fitting. For a team that had to face their failures, they had to come back to the scene where the strongest stench of failure began. Sure, the personnel of Miami weren’t the same this time around, but the team and the name was, and for the Mavs, they just had to find a way to get it done.
So for two weeks, this Mavs fan went to the extreme. I crawled into a hole and vowed not to emerge until the series was over, win or lose. In a sense, it was The Mark Cuban Approach: the owner who’s known for talking wild and crazy kept silent for the majority of the postseason, and it felt right to do the same for The Finals.
Game One was a disaster, Game Two was better, Game Three sucked, and the Mavs got together in Game Four to tie things up. Even after it was tied up at two, it was hard to relax. It was hard to get too high, but just as much to get too low.
It was almost as if there was a sense that something was bound to go wrong, that this ride was sure to have a tire blow out, run out of gas, or have the engine stall out. Dirk got the flu, Haywood got hurt, and more foolishness took place, and even after all that, the Mavs still won Game Five and then finished the job last night.
To fully understand how this feels, you had to go to games in Reunion Arena; had to take that exit off 35 and Reunion Boulevard and be in the old arena to watch the years of The Three Js, or the trio with a young Dirk, Steve Nash, and Michael Finley. You had to be there to see Samaki *bleeping* Walker, Leon Smith, Tony Dumas, and all those other cats who get lost in the shuffle.
To fully grasp this feeling, imagine being in American Airlines Center in previous seasons and wondering why the place could be packed to capacity, yet sound so damn quiet.
To totally allow the feel to be in your skin, you had to be there to see Mark Cuban do his best to make Mavericks games as enjoyable, crunk, and live as possible.
It’s part of the reason why, regardless of his antics and wildness, he’s revered down here. Sure, the man is the owner and a billionaire, but at heart, he’s a fan who just wants to see his team perform as well as possible and does everything he can to make it enjoyable for all.
After all these years, all the bad times, all the unsure ones, being the butt of jokes from NBA fans all over, it feels good to be a sports fan in the city of Dallas. It’s understandable why people didn’t want to give the Mavs a shot. The Mavs have done enough over the years to justify it. However, when it’s all said and done, and one looks at the NBA this season and asks who was the last team standing, they’ll have to say it’s none other than the team from D-town.
For Brandon Jones, Garrett Rufus, Brittany Giles, Shauni Smith, Jeremy Biggers, Brandon Biggers, Dawana Marsh, Matt Lloyd, Tavares Johnson, Ricky Manning, Tolu, Fiorella, and other long-time Mavs fans, this feeling is indescribable.
Seeing vets like Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Shawn Marion, Caron Butler, and others win a ring is just unreal. It's dope seeing Juan Barea go from unknown, to hoopin' at the Rucker over the summer, to contributing to an NBA champ. Hell, it was great to see DeShawn Stevenson play some ball in The Finals. The man moved from the starting lineup to the bench, and played fantastic.
To see Dirk Nowitzki get it done on the biggest stage, making plenty of people eat crow, is even better. The man has been the most underappreciated superstar in basketball for years, and to see him hailed, and rightfully so, is something that I’m glad I am able to see.
For others who have been on this ride for the longest, it feels good to finally exhale. It feels good to celebrate. It feels great to comment. Most of all, it feels great to know the team finally got the job done.
P.S. As a reminder, checkout the livest sports talk show around, "The Unsportsmanlike Conduct Show" as we are live Wednesday's at 9pm Eastern at http://www.blogtalkradio.com/edthesportsfan! Download our podcasts if you missed the live show as well!