When the Dallas Mavericks open the 2014-15 season this fall they’ll be celebrating not just an invigorating rebirth and renewal thanks to an awesome off-season, they’ll be celebrating 35 years in the NBA.
And that got me to thinking; what is the greatest moment in the Mavericks 35-year-history? What single event made them who they are today? Or is it more than just one? Was it the 2011 NBA championship? move to American Airlines? Was it the arrival of Dirk or Jason Kidd? Was it the emergence during the early 2000’s of the “original” Big 3 – Nash, Nowitzki and Finley? Was it the still-head-scratching Finals loss to the Heat after going up 2-0?
The Mavs began playing in the League in the 1980-81 season, finishing with a dismal 15–67 record. Dallas became home to an NBA team in the first place thanks to the perseverance of business partners Don Carter and Norm Sonju. At the 1980 All-Star Game league owners voted to admit the new team.
According to team history, their name came from the popular TV western Maverick, whose star James Garner recently died. The name was chosen by fans with more than 4,000 postcards received beating names like Wranglers and Express. The Dallas Wranglers? Uh, no. Dick Motta, whose Washington Bullets won the NBA Championship in 1978, was hired as the team’s first head coach
Since those humble beginnings some 3 and 1/2 decades ago, there have been a whirlwind of changes, comings and goings, team logos, uniforms, colors, players, coaches, strategies and philosophies, owners and one actual building change.
Through it all the Mavs have persevered and are now on the cusp of what might be their greatest season since 2010-11 – and we all know how that one ended.
As I think back on the Mavs 35-year-history, I realize I can’t narrow down their greatest moment to just one. There were many, many key moves made. Old school MFFL that I am, I have several; in no particular order they are the refusal of our very first pick in the 1980 NBA Draft Kiki Vandeweghe of UCLA to play for us. (That refusal led to his trading and the eventual acquisition of Rolando Blackman and Sam Perkins.) Also key moments for me are the arrival of Dirk, the purchase of the Mavs by Owner Mark, the RETURN of Jason Kidd, the hiring of Coach Rick Carlisle, the drafting of Derek Harper and the 2011 Championship.
Ok MFFL’s, your turn: What is YOUR biggest moment (s) in Mavs history?