Even though things are looking up for the Dallas Mavericks in the coming years, the fact remains that this team hasn’t been able to win many games this season. Despite not being very good right now, a lot of us here at MMB are still tuning in to watch the Mavs on a nightly basis, and not just because we have to some nights for game coverage. That signals passion. With that in mind, we asked our staff this simple question:
What are you passionate about when it comes to the Mavs?
Kirk (@KirkSeriousFace): At this point in the season it’s hard to be excited about anything with the team itself. They just weren’t very good, and it’s so easy to think about the draft and beyond.
However, I still tune in every night I can to watch Dennis. Watching his growth on a week to week basis has been revelatory. He’s a rookie point guard so mistakes are common obviously, but the moments of realization are happening more, too. He’s figured out that he’s a better athlete, and he’s learning how and when to use that athleticism. The finer points of the game are coming to him, and it’s just a lot of fun to watch.
Not to sound too ridiculous, but it’s not that unlike being a parent. There are these leaps in development and awareness that are very similar, and it’s so exciting.
Josh (@Boweman55): If we’re talking in general, for me it’s obvious: I grew up in Dallas, I watched Dirk Nowitzki terrorize the league one fallaway jumper at a time and I love basketball.
For this season though, it’s definitely been tough. Dirk is still here, of course, but watching a team rebuild with only one first-round draft pick on the roster can be an exercise in futility sometimes. Not that the Mavericks weren’t doing good things, but the patience part has been difficult.
So I’d say it’s just that the franchise is figuring this thing out, slowly but surely. Mark Cuban has literally never been in control of a basketball team that has had to rebuild. Neither has Rick Carlisle. So as much as some stuff drives us crazy, we’re all learning this on the fly. That’s part of the fun, I suppose. There’s a great unknown about these Mavericks that has never been there during the steady Dirk era. It’ll be a fun ride, wherever and whenever it ends.
Dalton (@dalton_trigg): As cliché as it may sound, just being a MFFL is what I’m most passionate about. I’m always wearing some type of Mavs shirt or hoodie. Unless something weird comes up, I watch every game, even in a season where the Mavs are destined to be in the lottery again. It’s just a way of life for me, and I wouldn’t change a thing. There’s just something about this franchise that has always had a family-like atmosphere to it, and I’m happy to be a part of the Mavs’ fam.
There’s always going to be a reason to watch the Mavs as long as Dirk is still playing. We don’t have many games left to do that, so we have to cherish what little time we do have remaining. I used to wonder if my passion for the Mavs would die down a little bit as Dirk inches closer to retirement, but to the contrary, I’m actually more fired up about the team now than I’ve ever been, even in the midst of a couple of really bad seasons — okay, maybe other than 2011. It’s hard to beat that kind of euphoria. But even during that championship season, I wasn’t nearly as engaged in the team’s every move as I am now.
A lot of that passion now has to do with new beginnings. As much as I love Dirk, I’ll never be able to say I watched him from the day he was drafted. I didn’t really get hooked on the Mavs until the 2002-2003 season, and even then, I was lucky to catch them playing on national tv. As sad as it is that Dirk will be leaving us soon, there’s a certain level of excitement for the future that follows that because of Dennis Smith Jr., and I’m sure whoever the Mavs draft this summer will only add to that excitement. Even with the Mavs sitting near the bottom of the standings this year, the play of Smith Jr. is what has kept me (and I’m sure others, too) going strong as ever, and I’m excited to see where he can take this franchise.