Since January 4, 2000, we’ve all assumed that Mark Cuban is the majority proprietor of the Dallas Mavericks. That may not be the case, at least according to the latest origin story to come out of the organization.
For a few weeks now, the Mavericks teased the reveal of something new on the horizon. There was an image of a spork and a foam finger. Then there was a video of a hand getting run over at the former site of Reunion Arena. Now, we know what all the fuss is about: Mavrello Ballovic.
Ballovic, so the story goes, is one of the original owners of the Mavericks, dating back to their founding in 1980. No word on whether Ballovic was at the table with Don Carter as he scribbled the final details of ownership group on a napkin at booth at CoCo’s at LBJ and Midway.
His “off-the-wall” ideas for the team didn’t sit well with the other owners and he found himself and outcast. In 1988, Ballovic accidentally locked himself in a bunker only to emerge now, digging his way out with a spork. (There’s the tie-in.)
If this all sounds unbelievable, that’s because it is. Mavrello Ballovic is the latest creation by the Mavericks to further the organization’s desire to be the most entertaining franchise—both on and off the court.
“With Mavrello, the aim is to reimagine the possibilities and push past traditional boundaries when it comes to creating a brand for a sports team that’s fit for this new era of entertainment – one driven by fandom, the blurring of lines between different entertainment categories and the continuous fight for viewers’ attention,” Cuban said in a statement.
Ballovic, a digital character, was developed by MCX (Mark Cuban Experiments). He is a basketball in need of a shave with a blue foam hand, a blue hat with ear flaps, basketball shorts, high tops, white hair, and a gold tooth. Ballovic also sports a heavy Eastern European accent, so he’ll fit right in with the team.
The Mavericks say that his “adventures” will continue for the rest of the season and into the summer as they further develop the character. This will take place through animated episodes, Google Slides, and Spotify playlists (these are sure to be something).
“We know fans, especially Gen Z, have more choices than ever in terms of how they spend their time and what constitutes entertainment for them – from gaming and social platforms, to movies, streaming and more,” Cuban said. “We must reinvent ourselves to appeal to them in new ways that lean into this context.”
“We must expand our focus to engage people of all ages and attract new eyeballs to the game,” he added. “We want to create new IP and original content that’s tied to the team. In doing so, this allows the Mavs to spin out new avenues that start to take us in a lot of new directions.”
Mavrello Ballovic is apparently one of those directions.