I really like this team

I have always considered myself a Mavs fan. Most of my allegiances in the sports world are based on geography. Cowboys, Stars, Mavs, Rangers, etc. But with the Mavs it was more so the only reasons I liked them were because of Mark Cuban and because their first name was Dallas. At least that’s how it was, until this season.

I don’t have many favorite teams that aren’t any Dallas but my second favorite NFL and NBA teams are the Baltimore Ravens and the Detroit Pistons. I love teams like that because of their attitude and style of play with an extreme focus on defense. The attitude part is huge though. A tough-nosed, chip-on-your-shoulder, workman-like, prima-donna-free, gritty attitude. The Dallas Stars during the Ken Hitchcock days were a perfect fit for me as a fan because they both embraced this attitude more than any team in the NHL and they were from Dallas.

When Don Nelson was here coaching the Mavs it was tough for me to like them because they were the antithesis of that attitude. His plan surrounded trying to win through gimmicks and changing the game rather than through an attitude. He created this freak show circus team with people from 6 continents that tried to change the game by outscoring people in the hundreds using their one trick pony in the form of a seven foot German whose specialty was the fade away jumper. How’s that for a run-on sentence?

Some people think scoring alone is exciting. Don’t count me among those people. See teams that rely on scoring and strategy don’t when championships because it takes attitude and heart to win a championship. You see this all across the sports world. The Indianapolis Colts and Texas Tech set a ton of records and win a bunch of games but they aren’t championship teams. They are gimmick teams. One thing about gimmick teams is that they lack the toughness to win championship type games. Look at the Colts games the past few years in the playoffs against the Steelers and the Patriots, two teams that had that attitude. Look at Texas Tech’s games last year against Texas and Alabama, two teams that had that attitude.

Then Avery Johnson came around and now I love this team. Its not even because they’re winning its because I can feel good about cheering for them. Avery came in and said forget trying to have the first Mexican (Eduardo Najera) and Chinese(Wang Zhizhi) born players. Forget scoring 100 points and all the free Chalupas. Forget offenses based on 7 footers taking fall away jumpers. We’re going to be a tough team. We’re going to be a team with a focus on defense. We’re going to be a team that slashes and gets guys to the free throw line. We’re going to be a team of good ol’ American-born black guys. The result? A 60 win season and the first trip to the finals.

Now it didn’t work out this year as far as a championship and there is a laundry list of reasons why. Dwayne Wade blew up, Dirk got shut down, free throws down the stretch, the temptations of South Beach, suspensions, and the fact that the NBA officials are determined to prove that they are the worst officials of any sport during any era. The NBA definitely did their share suspending 3 Mavs players for 8 games and handing out half a million dollars in fines. Since when has the NBA suspended players in the playoffs for anything short of murder? All these DWade-MJ comparisons make me laugh. You can’t compare the two. Jordan got a ton of calls but he never got the calls that Wade gets. Wade is a super star and I really like him but he's got to put in mor than three years before the refs start rolling out the red carpet for him like they have previous stars.

I couldn’t be more satisfied with the makeup of this team. What scares me is the potential disaster that lies ahead. Mark Cuban is not going to max out Jason Terry and he will opt out in free agency to another team that will. He had a hell of a run this playoffs and probably increased the value of that deal by $40 million. I’m not saying increased the value of the deal TO $40 million but BY $40 million. He is definitely going to get paid. I guess some of that will depend on what teams have salary cap room and all that but it’ll work itself out for him.

The second thing I fear is that Cuban is going to bolt. It is hard to deny that he is incredibly frustrated with this league and it seems that the league is absolutely determined to deny him a championship. The past couple of months talks of Cuban buying the Cubs, Penguins, and Pirates have started blowing up. He has talked about how he is both interested in owning those teams but not interested in owning multiple teams. The one good thing is that as much corruption as there is in the NBA front office, baseball and hockey aren’t exactly in the middle of blooming times right now either.

But hey it was a helluva run and a good time. If nothing else it gave me an excuse to get out of the house and frequent the bar at Hooters where I sampled nasty Canadian beers.

 -hj

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