ALL BALL NERVE CENTER –Have you ever looked a team’s uniform and thought, “I could come up with something better than that?” Well, has Mark Cuban got a proposition for you: You can design new uniforms for the Dallas Mavericks.
In the wide universe of sports uniforms, everything old is new again. Or at least it seems that way, as franchises introducing new uniforms increasingly look to throwback logos and color schemes, trading on nostalgia to find looks that simultaneously feel new and familiar. The Mavs have had the same basic look since 2001, with a few notable exceptions: Who could forget the drab gray alternates in 2003-04…
…or the P-Diddy-designed green alternates?
Now it’s time for something new (well, for the 2015-16 season). Mavs owner Mark Cuban is crowd-sourcing this project on his blog, asking fans who have an idea or a plan to offer up their designs in his comments section. If you win, you could see the Dallas Mavericks rocking your uniform on the court. Pretty simple.
If there’s a catch here, it’s that Cuban says you will not be paid for your work — he suggests maybe some free tickets could be in the offing — but he’s up-front about the deal and suggests that if this offends you, don’t get involved. (I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t some elaborate Willy Wonka-type situation where Cuban is just looking for someone who is willing to do the work for free, and then he will reward you by giving you the Texas Legends D-League team or something like that. With Jerry Jones as Slugworth? OK, sure, probably not.)
Anyway, do you think can do better that what you’ve seen here? Swing by Cuban’s blog and show the world.
ALL BALL NERVE CENTER – We can understand when a player, fresh off a loss, feels the need to somehow react. After all, you play to win the game, and when you catch an L, it’s never a good feeling — and it’s even worse when the sentiment is rubbed in by 20,000 rabid fans, as often happens to Golden State opponents in Oracle Arena in Oakland.
So we get why Denver F Kenneth Faried was apparently pretty upset after losing at Golden State last night. So upset, in fact, that Faried put his foot through a locker room wall, as documented here by USA Today‘s always excellent Sam Amick:
Asked if he kicked it with his ailing left foot (ankle injury), a frustrated Faried said, "I don't know. I just kicked it."— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) April 29, 2013
And as we noted earlier, the isn’t the first time an opponent in Golden State has been driven to violence: After losing at Oracle in the 2007 Playoffs, Dallas F Dirk Nowitzkitossed a trash can through a wall 12 feet in the air. Five years later, as Amick showed last night, the wound is still there, now commemorated with a t-shirt…
If the Warriors are going to keep knocking off higher-seeded teams in the Playoffs, maybe they should invest in a punching bag for the visitor’s locker room? Could probably save themselves a good bit in drywall costs.
If it seems like the Horry Scale has weighed the Blazers more than few times since we started this venture back in 2010, it’s not that far off. By our count, Portland has been on the Horry Scale — either as the Horry-er (aka the shot-maker) or as the Horry-ee (aka the victim) — three times, including once this season, entering Tuesday’s action. The Blazers’ mark in those Horry situations? They’re 2-1 … but let’s make that 3-1 after LaMarcus Aldridge went to a reliable Horry shot to sink his hometown Mavs.
If Aldridge’s game-winner last night that you see above looks an awful lot like another recent Horry shot from him, you’ve got a sharp memory. Just a little more than a year ago, Aldridge victimized the Mavs in Dallas with a fadeaway jumper at the horn over Brendan Haywood. Haywood has since moved on to Charlotte, but that didn’t stop Aldridge from victimizing another Mav (with a similar-sounding first name), Brandan Wright, with a nearly identical shot.
Of course, it takes a team effort to set the stage for a shot like Aldridge’s and the Blazers needed everyone’s effort on Tuesday to get into a spot where they could win this game. The Mavs essentially had the Blazers finished after building a 69-48 lead off O.J. Mayo‘s stepback 3-pointer with 8 minutes, 37 seconds left. By late in the fourth quarter rolled, though, we had a lead-changing frenzy.
For those that are new around these parts, the Horry scale examines a game-winning buzzer-beater (GWBB) in the categories of difficulty, game situation (was the team tied or behind at the time?), importance (playoff game or garden-variety Kings-Pistons game?) and celebration (is it over the top or too chill? Just the right panache or needs more sauce?). Then we give it an overall grade on a scale of 1-5 Robert Horrys, the patron saint of last-second daggers.
How does Aldridge’s shot Tuesday night stack up? Let’s dive in …
At times to the chagrin of Blazer fans, Aldridge has made his All-Star bones as a perimeter shooter, so it’s fitting he’d favor that shot to clinch a victory. Shot selection is key when there’s 1.5 seconds to go, so kudos to coach Terry Stotts for putting Aldridge in position to succeed. Much like his shot against the Mavs in 2012, Aldridge sets up on the low post. Unlike against Dallas, though, Aldridge knows he doesn’t have time to move out to the perimeter, catch the ball and take two dribbles to set up his shot. So he gets position on Wright, receives the ball from inbounder Wesley Matthews, turns … fades … and that’s the ballgame.
For Dallas, Mayo provides token pressure on the inbounds, Vince Carter stays at home with Nicolas Batum on the left baseline, making this a one-on-one situation for Aldridge. Darren Collison appears to try and help Wright from underneath, but he can’t get there in time.
Overall, this is an All-Star-vs.-rotation-player situation, and not surprisingly, the All-Star gets what he wants. Wright defends it pretty well, but Aldridge knows what he’s doing here.
Tie ballgame between two low-to-mid-level West teams … not a shocker, right? Wrong. As we mentioned, the Blazers were down 21 in the third and looked cooked. Portland’s bench won’t win any productivity awards this season, but without those reserves, the Blazers wouldn’t have won. Big contributions from Sasha Pavlovic and Ronnie Price in the fourth quarter kept the Blazers ahead or tied with the Mavs down the stretch. No play was perhaps bigger for that crew than Price drawing a charge on Mayo with 1.5 seconds left.
The Mavs weren’t without their own displays of clutch-itude, what with Collison banking in a wacky 3-pointer with 3:01 left and Dirk Nowitzki draining what at the time seemed to be a back-breaking 3-pointer with 11.9 seconds left to give Dallas a 104-101 lead.
Teammates Nicolas Batum (a Horry Scale inductee himself in 2011) said Aldridge was “smiling like a rookie” after hitting his shot. Aldridge, who starred at the University of Texas and Dallas-area high school Seagoville, simply turns and looks at the Mavs’ bench a little before laughing, smiling and walking up court. Matthews chest bumps him first before everyone short of ex-Blazer James “Hollywood” Robinson comes running toward him from the Blazers’ bench to celebrate.
There’s one last huddle up and then the Blazers head out to the locker room.
4 Horrys. Tough shot for most players, but pretty routine for Aldridge. This one kind of ranks up there in importance with the J.R. Smith shot against the Bobcats earlier this season in that the defense gave a standout player just the kind of shot he wanted. Overall, it should be three stars. But I give it that extra star bump for the clutch-iness of Aldridge in not just nailing the game-winner, but also the game-tying shot, too. If that’s not the sort of thing Horry used to do, I don’t know what is.
I have had a lot of excitement starting back on Draft night in June. Right away, the Mavericks organization and the fans gave me a very warm welcome. I had a chance to meet some of my teammates early on and get a feel for the city, which has very nice weather.
I found a place next to the arena, so I don’t have to do much commuting. I moved my sister Jade out to Dallas with me for a couple months to help me get settled. We had to do a lot of shopping — buying furniture, cooking utensils, glasses, those kinds of things. I’m a styrofoam plate and cup kind of guy, but I guess it was time to buy glass.
I’ve been learning my way around the Dallas area, and sometimes when people recognize me, they tell me how excited they are to see our team play. It’s important to me to have that community bond, so I look forward to interacting with the fans more.
Rookie Transition Program With The Assist
There are a lot of new things to learn and prepare for as an NBA rookie. I am glad we had the Rookie Transition Program this past summer, which helped the rookies a lot. I learned a lot during those few days, and took a lot of information away with me. We had a lot of great speakers, and one thing they talked about was remembering that we represent our team; it’s not college or high school anymore. It’s a business and your livelihood, so you have to take it seriously.
They also talked about being smart with our money. Once you start getting paychecks, they encourage us to save. When you make it to the NBA, it’s easy to want to buy all kinds of stuff. But, in the end it’s about saving and learning how to say no.
We just got back last week from our NBA Europe Live Tour. The entire experience was awesome! I got to see another side of the world! It was my first time flying on the team plane and making the trip with my teammates. Unfortunately, we went 1-1 overseas, but I think we all worked hard.
First, we went to Germany. Right when we got to the airport, people recognized us as the Mavericks. When we got to the hotel, everybody was waiting outside to see Dirk Nowitzki. For a rookie, it was nice to see all the love that NBA players get when they go to their hometown like I saw with Dirk in Germany. I remember what it was like being a fan and wanting to take a picture with a player, so it was it was pleasant to see how he reacted to the fans – so humble and willing to sign autographs and take pictures. A couple fans wanted to take a picture of me, which made me feel good. And after going overseas, I have a lot more followers on Twitter now!
In Barcelona, we went to a Real Madrid vs. Barcelona soccer game. It was one of the best events I’ve ever been to — about 100,000 fans and it was crazy…a real, live, good game.
I scored seven points in our second game, but unfortunately we lost that one. Darren Collison had said to me, ‘Be ready when you hear your name called.’ I took that advice. Once I got on the floor, all the nerves went away. I just hooped and played like I know how to do.
Back On U.S. Soil
After playing in Europe, we learned that we have a lot to work on as a team. I feel that everybody put out a great effort, and it showed on the game tape. We got back to Dallas on Wednesday, and have had a few hard and competitive practices since then.
As a team, we are going to be one of the best defensive teams in the league if we execute and communicate. And that will translate on offense. It’s been great joining with the other rookies and being around the vets. Once we get more and more comfortable with each other, I feel like we could do anything out there on the court.
Individually, I am working on gaining the trust of my teammates. As a rookie, I have to prove myself. I am learning from the coaches and veteran players everyday, and am ready to do whatever it takes to help our team win.
We have preseason home games tonight and Wednesday. My body feels good, and my head is ready for the game. Just to get on the floor in front of the home crowd…that’s exciting.
Cast Your Vote!
I’m paying a lot of attention to the upcoming election. I take a special interest in it because I played Oregon State basketball for Coach Robinson, who is Michelle Obama’s brother. I went to the White House with our team three times while I was in college, and had the chance to hang out with the First Lady and the President in his office and out at some of our community events. They also came to watch our games when we played in the Washington, DC area. I will be voting!
Apparently Chuck, along with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, was in Germany back in the late 90′s, and wound up playing against a teenage Dirk in a game where Nowitzki showed his future promise by dropped (according to Barkley) 50 points or so on Pippen. That was all Barkley needed to know, and he set about trying to “entice” Nowitzki to come play college ball at Auburn. Defenders of the purity of college athletics might want to bury their heads in the sand on this one:
My favorite quote: “That dude is seven feet tall, he’s not going in the damn army, what’s he going to hide behind in the field?”
I tell you what – Chuck may have been right about hanging some banners had Dirk gone to play at Auburn. Nowitzki would have been a freshman on the 1998-99 Tigers squad, a team that featured SEC Player of the Year and All-American Chris Porter (a future Warriors draft pick). Auburn was a #1 seed in the South region of the 1999 NCAA Tournament, but was upset in the Sweet 16 by Ohio State. With a sweet-shooting Nowitzki firing away from the outside to complement Porter’s inside game? Who knows what might have happened.
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Last time this year, Dirk Nowitzki was joining the ranks of basketball immortals. Things didn’t turn out quite as well for him this season, but at least he’s using his new-found free time wisely.
Saturday night Swish41 made a surprise appearance during the Avett Brothers concert in Grand Prairie, TX, joining the band on stage during the song “I Killed Sally’s Lover” and rocking out on the tambourine. Nowitzki comes in around the 2:00 mark:
If Dirk’s disappointed he’s not still in the mix for the title, he ain’t showing it.
Jeremy Lin‘s performance so far has been nearly unprecedented, as has been the hype surrounding him. So perhaps it’s not a huge leap to see him on the cover of Sports Illustrated two straight weeks:
Given the attention he’s received, it’s really not all that surprising to me. SI is covering the news of the day, and frankly, his story has dominated pretty much continuously for two solid weeks.
There is historical precedence for Lin — as Mike Hayes pointed out at Buzzfeed, Michael Jordan was on the cover three straight weeks in 1991 and 1998, while just last year Dirk Nowitzki was featured consecutively during the NBA Finals.
The interesting thing to note is that both MJ and Dirk had their runs during the playoffs, while Lin has gotten two straight during the middle of a season (take that, Tebow!). Impressive stuff, and again I’ll say I don’t know how much longer it will last, but I don’t much care, either. Just enjoying the ride.
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It was a special night in Dallas. And while Dirk Nowitzki was honored before the game, he had to sit on the sidelines during the actual action because of a sore knee. Since he had a little time to kill, he joined the Mavs’ broadcast booth to say hello, and, well, this happened:
I am beginning to think that when Dirk was growing up in Germany, he spent all of his time outside of basketball coming up with what his catchphrases would be if he grew up to become a broadcaster.
It’s too late to cash in on “Take Dat Wit You“. But I fully expect there to be “Shut it down! Let’s go home!” t-shirts tomorrow in Dallas, and I want royalties people. I got mouths to feed.
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