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A picture perfect message as the Mavericks torch passes from Dirk to Luka

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How a picture spoke more than a thousand words

A picture moved me.

I was watching a football game, sipping on some Gatorade (a stomach bug the week before Thanksgiving is not ideal), and scanning my Twitter timeline — a typical evening for me, minus the Gatorade.

And then I saw it. A vision of perfect composition and framing by Dallas, TX based photographer Jerome P. Miron.

In a testament to the times we live in, my first thought was that this had to be a photoshop job, or one of those Deep Fake videos (even thought this is a still photo). I stared at this picture for an abnormal amount of time. The football game melted away. My Gatorade soon turned from Icy Frost to a tepid electrolyte concoction. Time stood still, but also flew by.

This picture — this beautifully framed visual representing the Dallas Mavericks’ future in the foreground juxtaposed with the Mavericks’ past in the background — had me enthralled.

Luka Doncic possessing the ball while the newly installed Dirk Nowitzki on-court shadow pantomiming his signature shot is almost like the galaxy telling Mavs fans that everything will be all right. That this direction is where this team is supposed to be headed in right now, in this timeline. That Dirk is essentially one-legged shooting his approval of Luka as The Future in Dallas.

The fact that this picture was captured this week, a week where Luka has had back-to-back triple-doubles (becoming the youngest player to score 35+ points in back-to-back triple-doubles), and has been thrust into the national conversation in a more profound way, this isn’t coincidence.

Dirk Nowitzki retired last season, of course, but fans aren’t quite ready to let him go as the leader of this team, even though he’ll ostensibly never suit up again for the Mavericks. And it’s understandable, I suppose. He’s Dirk Nowitzki and the City of Dallas named a street after him.

The Mavericks drafted Luka and invested heavily on Kristaps Porzingis, but still, fans haven’t quite declared the franchise to be Luka’s yet. Maybe it’s because Luka is still sipping on sodas when he goes out with teammates (he’s still 20!). Or, maybe it’s because Dirk’s inimitable presence still lingers around Dallas like a foggy morning in London. It’s probably a bit of both, really.

So, maybe the fact that this picture was captured this week should give fans the okay to let go of Dirk. It doesn’t make one less than a fan to carefully store the past, and accept the glorious present and future.

That’s what this picture captured. The passing of the torch for the Mavericks, officially.

This picture should be framed somewhere. Something tells me Dallas could stand to be moved by it.