High up in the rafters of the American Airlines Center hang banners touting the accolades of the Dallas Mavericks. Among these are their various division titles, two Western Conference championships, and, of course, their 2011 NBA Championship banner. Two other banners hang alongside these, bearing the numbers 15 and 22. They belong to Brad Davis and Rolando Blackman, respectively, and are the only numbers the team has retired. So, what other numbers deserve to be retired?
The Mavericks aren’t going to be the Celtics any time soon, who have retired 21 numbers. But only having two numbers retired is a disservice to the number of great players that have donned a Mavs jersey in the team’s 37-year history. With that, here’s who should be joining Davis and Blackman in the rafters:
Derek Harper, 12
Dallas drafted Harper in 1983 with the 11th overall pick. In the following years, he became key member of the team as the Mavericks made playoff runs to close the decade. He played a total of 11 and a half seasons with the Mavs from 1983 to 1993 and then again in the 1996-97 season. For his career he has averages of 13.3 points and 5.5 assists.
There have been rumors over the past few years that Harper, who works as the color commentator during Mavericks game broadcasts, would have his number retired soon. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s long past due for Harper’s No. 12 to join his teammates atop the AAC.
Jason Kidd, 2
If it weren’t for his second stint with the team and the championship run, Kidd probably doesn’t make this list. Yes, he was co-Rookie of the Year his first season with the Mavs, but his time in Dallas was short lived and dramatic. He was out the door 22 games into his third season with the team.
When he made his return, via trade, in 2008, Kidd was a seasoned veteran with two Finals appearances under his belt. It’s no question that he was one of the primary reasons the Mavs knocked off the Heat for the only championship in franchise history.
Michael Finley, 4
This one is pretty much a given at this point. When the Mavs drafted Dennis Smith Jr. this summer, he opted to wear No. 1 instead of No. 4, his number from college. Why? It seems Finley’s former number is now off limits.
That’s not surprising, though. Finley played for the Mavs from 1996 to 2005 and was the heart and soul of the organization before Dirk Nowitzki came along. During that time, he averaged 19.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists. Finley is now Assistant Vice President of the Mavericks.
Jason Terry, 31
Terry played his most memorable basketball with Dallas, helping the team to two Finals appearances and a championship. That’s not to say he was always loved by the fans. His propensity to jack up shots drew ire at times, but when you look at his numbers, you really can’t complain that much.
In eight seasons with the Mavs, Terry averaged 16.1 points and 4.2 assists and was named Sixth Man of the Year for the 2007-2008 season. He also worked the two-man game beautifully with Nowitzki. But, if for no other reason, Terry should have his number retired because of this shot over LeBron James in the Finals:
Dirk Nowitzki, 41
Finally, it’s a matter of when, not if, the number 41 will be raised to the rafters. Dirk has unquestionably had the biggest impact on the franchise of any player. He’ll have his number retired at probably the same moment he calls it quits. But he’s still playing so this will have to wait.
Roy Tarpley, 42
Tarpley’s time with the Mavericks can best be described as tumultuous. Off the court, he was plagued with drug and alcohol issues that got him suspended multiple times. On the court, however, he was brilliant, helping to redefine the power forward position. May he rest in peace.
Shawn Marion, 0
Marion only played in Dallas for five seasons but was an integral part of the championship run. What didn’t he do for the Mavs?