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Every Maverick as beloved holiday characters

'Let's just say that on this day, a million years ago, a dude was born who most of us think was magic. But others don't, and that's cool. But we're probably right. Amen.' - Homer Simpson, on Dirk.

Jason Gallagher

The holidays are a time of reflection for many. A sense of nostalgia that dominates the season. The family gathering, a feeling of joy, gift giving and receiving, lights and decorations are mainstays unlike the unseasonably warm weather (#thanksObama). But nowhere does that nostalgia play out more than in all the Christmas movies and specials on TV. You know the ones. You've been watching them since you were a kid and you can sing along to every song and quote every "yippie ki-yay." With these in mind, we bring you this list of the Dallas Mavericks as some of the most beloved holiday characters.

Mark Cuban is Ralphie Parker

"I want an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!"

For a billionaire, life isn't always easy for Mark Cuban. Sure, he has a lovely family, plenty of property, and owns a professional basketball team. But he wants more. Ever since buying the Mavericks, he's been on a quest to win championships and surround his franchise player with the best possible free agents. He's won a ring and wants more. But there are plenty of obstacles in his way. He just wants some good proven players. This has led him on an Ahabian quest to sign big name free agents. They're his dream. He must have them no matter the consequences. If he ever lands one, though, he might just shoot his eye out.

Rick Carlisle is Frank Cross

"You've got a promo featuring America's favorite old fart reading a book in front of a fireplace! Now I have to kill all of you!"

Carlisle can be grouchy at times. Sit in one of his post game pressers after a bad loss and you'll know what I'm talking about. He recently had one where he threatened that his players would be off the team if they didn't play better. What a Scrooge. He expects the best out of his people. He won't accept mediocre. Mediocrity gets the ax. That's not to say that he doesn't have a softer side. Carlisle is quick to heap praise on those who he feels deserve it no matter their situation. And really, under the tough coaching facade, he's a good guy.

Holger Geschwindner is Rufus from Love Actually

**Raises eyebrows towards Liam Neeson as if to say I GOT U.** - Rufus, Love Actually

Rufus is a Christmas angel, at least according to earlier drafts of the Love Actually script. He may have lost the technical title, but the angelic presence remains strong in the film. When things appear to be over for Sam at the airport, the short European man appears out of nowhere to distract security guards, allowing our young lover to win the day (most likely resulting in prison for 20-25 for bypassing airport security, refusing to comply with police, and shutting down Heathrow on Christmas eve, thus pissing off a mass amount of global travelers just waiting to spend one last Christmas with nanna before her time comes. WORTH IT.)

Nevertheless, I don't need the term "Christmas angel" to appear on Holger Geschwindner's birth certificate to know that this man is a supernatural being looking out for the city of Dallas in our darkest hour. When Dirk's shot looks hopeless beyond repair, in comes Holger to make things right again.

Justin Anderson is The Elf on the Shelf

"Our Elf Supports Our Family Values" - Kerry, on Amazon

Justin Anderson lives in two worlds. On the Mavs, he's a deep bench guy learning what it means to be an NBA player. That's life one. We'll call that the "WHAT YOU SEE" life. And then there's his second, much more interesting second life.

The Elf on the Shelf also has two lives. The first is what you see when you're awake. He's typically sitting on a shelf or hanging from a lamp or in whatever goofy position your parent spent way too much time on. Nothing harmless, just good ol' Christmas fun. But when the sun goes down and the stars come out to play, that's when the Elf's second life kicks in. As soon as you're asleep, he heads straight for the North Pole where he reports to back to Santa, informing him of all your sinful deeds. By the time you wake up, the Elf on a Shelf has already taken a red-eye back to our house, where he sets himself up in a brand new position to watch... YOU.

So back to Justin Anderson's second life.

The dude is a STUD in the D-League. But by the time we turn on the next Mavs game, he'll be back on the bench -- exactly how we last saw him.

J.J. Barea is Hermey the Elf

"Well, sir, someday, I'd like to be a... a dentist."

I don't know if Barea ever had any dreams of becoming a dentist -- but he sure was ambitious when he decided to make a living as a professional basketball player. He's not someone you look at and say, "Yup, he's an NBA player." Barea is listed as 6'0 but that's a generous mark. Frankly, dentist seems like a more likely profession for him than NBA player. But here we are. And you know what? No one's life is predetermined. You can be whatever you want. Just don't be surprised if you see a D.D.S. after his name once he retires.

Jeremy Evans is Santa's Little Helper from the Simpsons

"This is our pet. We can question his integrity and disposition but we can't question his heart. Are you trying to teach us that the way to solve a problem with something you love, is to throw it away?" - Lisa Simpson

"Oh, Lisa. If they're ever going to pull the plug on me, I want you in my corner, honey" - Homer Simpson

This analogy has more to do with what I hope he'll become rather than what he is. Their paths already align, each with unappreciative former owners. The Simpsons embraced Santa's Little Helper and made him a part of their family for good. They even put him in obedience school to make him more disciplined while Evans travels down to the D-League to learn how to play on the perimeter. But before we get there, I just pray the Mavs take in Evans as a member of their regular rotation family because dude can FLY.

Raymond Felton is Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree

"I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love."

When the Mavericks acquired Felton in the trade that brought Tyson Chandler back to Dallas, everyone kind of moaned in unison. Felton wasn't viewed as anything more than a salary dump by the Knicks. Further, his reputation with fans hasn't been exceptional for a number of years. In fact, he's regularly booed in arenas where he used to play. No one thought that he would be a contributor for the Mavs. Last year he barely sniffed playing time.This season, however, Felton has found himself inserted in the starting lineup and is playing major minutes. All he needed was a chance.

Devin Harris is Steve Harvey from the Miss Universe Pageant

"Uh (long pause)... There's (longer pause)... I have to apologize."

I look forward to the day where my grandchildren grab some hot cocoa and gather ‘round the tree as I tell them the touching holiday tale of Steve Harvey and his royal f--kup at the Miss Universe Pageant. My heart will be so warm.

Devin Harris is a beloved Dallas Maverick. He has given the team a lot of good years and unbelievable moments. He will always be welcomed in the Gallagher household and the same can be said for Mr. Harvey for similar reasons. But I'm real. Neither of these dudes are perfect, especially in 2015. The reality for both is that occasionally these wonderfully flawed gem-speckled individuals will make mistakes ... big ones. Devin may wind up airballing a 2-for-1 at the end of a quarter and Steve might possibly piss off an entire nation on live television -- following it all up with an apology that features a misspelling of the country's name you just insulted.


John Jenkins is Amy Grant's Grown-Up Christmas List

"I'm not a child but my heart still can dream."

Amy Grant has a grown-up Christmas list. It goes like this:

  1. No more lives torn apart.
  2. Wars would never start
  3. Time would heal all heart.
  4. Everyone would have a friend.
  5. Right would always win.
  6. Love would never end.

I also have a grown-up Christmas list. Mine goes like this:

  1. John Jenkins gets a lot more playing time.
  2. That's all.

Wesley Matthews is Tiny Tim

"And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God Wes Us, Every One!"

They're both physically damaged and undeniably lovable. In another life, they would've been left for dead, but that's not the world we live in -- thank God. If your heart doesn't burst into flames after Wes pulls his 3-bow back, then you aren't human. The craziest similarity between the two is that Tiny Tim actually went on to become a 38 percent 3 point sharp-shooter in the NBA. Crazy!


JaVale McGee is King Moonracer

"When someday, you return to Christmas Town, would you tell Santa about our homeless toys? I'm sure he will find little boys and girls who will be happy with them. A toy is never truly happy until it is loved by a child."

McGee's reputation as one of the most athletic centers in the league is almost a distant memory at this point. Rather, his image has been shaped by injuries and other outside forces. Countless appearances on "Shaqtin' A Fool" have earned McGee the title as the NBA's perennial misfit. He may be misunderstood but he genuinely appears to be having a good time. Take a look at his Twitter and Vine accounts if you don't believe me. And why shouldn't he be? Shaq, the NBA's biggest child, loves him because he keeps the Big Aristotle relevant. He's found a home at last.

Salah Meiri is Santa Claus

"Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies!" - Francis Pharcellus Church

When I first saw Salah's name on the roster, I didn't believe he was real. Honestly, I'm still not sure what to make of him with his field percentage at zero but I can tell you this: he's big, happy and confuses my inner-child in a way that I can't explain.

Helpful Tip: Try leaving some milk and cookies out tonight before you go to bed and you juuuuust might get a visit from your favorite Maverick who makes you go ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ named Salah.

Dirk Nowitzki is Spirit of Christmas Past

"I told you these were shadows of the things that have been."

Nowitzki will always live in a kind of limbo in the perceptions of fans. While he continues to climb the all time scoring list this season (6th, baby!), it is clear that his days in the league are drawing closer to an end. And no matter how close we get to the end of his career, he will always be remembered for his performance in the 2011 NBA Finals. Occasionally, he shows flashes of his greatest performance but now they are fewer and farther between. He exists in both past and present simultaneously, his shoulders burdened by memories.

Zaza Pachulia is John McClane

"Yeah. I got invited to the Christmas party by mistake. Who knew."

Forget the fact that Zaza is the Maverick most likely to walk on broken glass for a loose ball.

According to Wikipedia:

Fox was desperate for a star for Die Hard, intended to be its big summer action blockbuster, and they had already been turned down by several actors including Richard Gere, Clint Eastwood,and Burt Reynolds. At the time, Willis was largely known for his comedic role as detective David Addison...the studio did not believe in his action star appeal. The marketing campaign's initial billboards and posters reflected this, and Willis' face was not a focal point.

So McClane is the Superstar role and Zaza is our Bruce Willis. Both dudes were "last resorts" - brought on after other options became unavailable. But surprise surprise, motherf--kers, these dudes are blowing up expectations like an elevator shaft with Zaza doing movie star things like 15 double doubles in 27 games. Zaza will never be the face of our franchise ...

Zaza Sunglasses

... but he might be the most important player on the team right now. Who saw that coming?

Chandler Parsons is the Leg Lamp

"It's indescribably beautiful. It reminds me of the 4th of July."

Chandler Parsons is often referred to as #handsome because, well, he is and because duh, everything needs a hashtag. Is he indescribably beautiful? Just ask this young lady. Yes, we are all attracted to the warm glow of sex. But also, just like the leg lamp, the Mavericks essentially won Parsons in a contest. The stakes were just higher because they went down in a totally non bro-ed out Orlando club. And while he may not be from Italy, it's clear that Parsons is more than a bit fragile this season.

Dwight Powell is Hanukkah Harry

"Gee, Hanukkah Harry. Thanks and everything but normally Santa gives us toys and fun things."

Did you know that Hanukkah Harry filled in for Santa once? It's true. Santa was so sick that Hanukkah Harry left his workshop on Mount Sinai, hopped on a cart pulled by three donkeys named Moische, Herschel and Schlomo and delivered presents to children all over the world. To be honest, the kids weren't thrilled with the gifts they got from Hanukkah Harry, which mostly consisted of slacks and socks. But after learning about the true meaning of the holidays, the kids got the gifts they truly wanted and everyone lived happily ever after.

Remember when we weren't happy with the gifts we got in last year's trade? Rondo turned out to have a heart made entirely of hot garbage and Dallas lost Brandan Wright in the process. Not great. In fact, there was a time where I would've preferred slacks and socks over what the Mavs raked in.

Those days are over though. Lest we forget the gifts given to us by our unlikely hero named Dwight Powell, or as he's known in advanced countries, "The Better Dwight." Powell is a young player with tremendous upside that Rick Carlisle trusts. That might seem boring, but it's a special kind of anomaly. Averaging eight points and five boards in his second year, Powell has reminded me of the true meaning of "young assets."

the bumble

Charlie Villanueva is The Bumble (post-teeth removal)

"Don't let this big blowhard scare you anymore; just walk right past him."

The Bumble, or Abominable Snowman if you want to be formal, is known for his fearsome teeth ... and his natural ability to bounce. Both are sort of like Charlie V's outside shooting. His ability to stretch the floor can strike fear in others. Unfortunately for Charlie, his shot is bouncing all over the place. He's is only shooting 28 percent from downtown this season. It sure seems like he lost his teeth. At least he is really tall and can put the star on the top of the Christmas tree.

Deron Williams is Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

"What I'm trying to say is, Rudolph, with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"

The NBA hasn't been exceptionally forgiving to Williams. The former All Star was blamed for Jerry Sloan leaving coaching, accused of abandoning the Jazz to force a trade to the Nets, and reviled in New York after injuries took their toll on his game. It's fair to say that he was an outcast and there were plenty of people that didn't want him play in any reindeer basketball games. In Dallas, though, he's found purpose again, gaining the trust of his teammates and coach, and has established himself as an important contributor while guiding Carlisle's sleigh.