Bob Ortegel called his last game on January 27th, 2011 in a win over the Rockets
Having been a fan ever since Dirk joined the team in 1998, I started to follow the Mavs really closely back in the 06/07 season. Since there has been no coverage of nba games here in germany and (free) streams used to suck badly back in the day the best way to do so was listening to Chuck Cooperstein on audio league pass. As some of you may remember this was the season when Bob Ortegel was doing the Mavs radio coverage alongside Chuck.
When you listen to the games of your favorite team on the radio a lot, those voices at some point start to represent the team you are rooting for. And Bob basically was the Mavs for me! And what an emotional season that would be.. 67 wins, Dirk MVP, first round exit! The one postive for me was the amount I learned about the game by listening to Chuck and Bob. (german basketball coverage really provides no insight at all. It´s not soccer, i guess...)
After the terrible 07 playoffs I discovered international league pass and decided to invest a couple of dollars to give myself some quality live pictures and more reason to stay up late. And surprise -
Bob was there again! This time he was working alongside Marc Followill after having switched (back, as I soon found out) from radio to tv. That immediately made me feel home and finally put a picture to the man whose voice had been the team for me. He remained a constant in the following (disappointing) years. He was old school for sure and didn´t come up with too many funny, catchy lines (what I have come to find refreshing after listening to Marc Jackson for 11 straight!) but he reminded us every once in a while where this team had been for so long during the 90s and how great it was to have a winning team. I´m sure he was the biggest fan and wanted to see the Mavs win it all as much as the rest of us, but he really loved and appreciated the team as it was, with all its flaws and failures. He was my socialization into Mavs universe!
Now you can imagine my surprise when i tuned in to a mavs game in early february and saw Derek Harper working with Followill. They didn´t even give an explanation that day! It turned out that he wasn´t going to return. He was gone. Just like that! After 23 years!
Honestly I could understand the move to some degree, but never the timing. Why not let him complete the season?
And now that the Mavs have won the Championship he had always hoped for, riding attributes like persistence and perseverance, the one guy that sticked to the team through the good and the really, really bad had not lasted long enough to share his feelings one last time in his beloved Mavericks´ greatest hour. What an exit it could have been...
But yesterday after reading somewhere that the Mavs had won game 6 to the tune of 27 points of 17 Heat turnovers, I caught myself thinking:
"The steal is the toughest play to defend in basketball!"
At least he´ll be remembered....