The Dallas Mavericks are in a weird spot. On one hand, things are looking bleak. Dallas has been coasting through a large portion of the regular season, consistently losing to teams they should be blowing out, and Kristaps Porzingis can’t stay on the court. But on the other hand, they’re currently a top-5 team in the Western Conference (the more difficult of the two conferences), and their best player is only 22 years old.
Maybe it’s time to inject some crazy levels of optimism into this season, and there’s only one source of unparalleled optimism: Ted Lasso.
That’s right, the fictional character from one of the best shows of the last half-decade. The Mavericks (and all Mavericks fans, for that matter) need to watch Ted Lasso ASAP. At the bare minimum, it needs to be done before the playoffs start.
(WE’RE NOT KIDDING. SPOILERS AHEAD. THIS SHOW IS GREAT AND MATTERS.)
(FINE YOU’VE BEEN WARNED)
Ted Lasso is a brilliant show about an American football coach who led the Wichita State Shockers to a Division II title who gets a job as the head coach of a Premier League soccer club, despite not knowing anything about traditional, European football. His name, of course, is Theodore “Ted” Lasso.
The only reason Lasso gets the job is because the owner is attempting to spite her ex-husband who loves the club more than anything. She’s basically trying to sandbag the club as the ultimate revenge to her grimy ex-husband.
The thing about Lasso, though? He enjoys the journey, not the destination. He’s not in a rush to succeed, he’s looking to build success from the ground up. His biggest adjustment when he first gets the job? Not changing the starting lineup, not implementing a new offense — he hangs a poster that says “Believe” in the locker room.
Now, I’m not saying Rick Carlisle could hang a “Believe” poster in the locker room and all of the Dallas problems would disappear, but maybe Carlisle can learn a thing or two from Lasso. The players and the fans (myself included) definitely can.
“Hey, taking on a challenge is a lot like riding a horse, isn’t it? If you’re comfortable while you’re doing it, you’re probably doing it wrong.” - Ted Lasso
Lasso never fails to connect with someone. He had zero respect when he entered the locker room, and by the time the season ended, he had everyone’s respect. Jamie Tartt, the young star on the team with attitude problems, despises Ted at the beginning of the show, but Ted never gives up on him (despite having every reason to). Tartt is a self-absorbed jerk with all the talent in the world, but Ted sees the good in him. I could definitely learn a thing or two from Ted Lasso when it comes to my feelings about Kristaps Porzingis. Maybe I shouldn’t be so quick to give up on him. Ted sure wouldn’t.
“He’s a tough cookie, but that’s okay. You know what you do with tough cookies, don’t you? Dip ‘em in milk.” - Ted Lasso
An important thing to note at this point in my Ted Lasso-Dallas Mavericks deep dive: It’s not like Ted’s life is perfect. You would think it is solely based on how he acts day in and day out. But Ted is going through serious marital issues that are threatening to tear his family apart. And despite all of that, he still finds the bright side in every situation. He still stays positive and thinks of the big picture. He still instills confidence in everyone else around him. I’m not even sure how this relates to the Mavericks, it was just a good opportunity to rave about Ted Lasso’s character.
The craziest part about Ted Lasso is that he doesn’t even end up getting the result you would want if you’re a fan. In the final episode, his team gets relegated. It’s not like this was some weird success story where his unorthodox coaching style results in a championship. No — his team doesn’t even get to play in the Premier League next season — that’s how bad they were.
Yet, at the end of the show, you feel like Ted was a true winner. He gained the trust of those around him, he got the most out of his players and staff, and he gave the fans reason to believe. Season 2 debuts this summer, and I can only imagine there are more wins to come for his football club.
The main lesson from the show is to always find the good in both things and people. As Ted says in his final postgame speech: “I want you to be grateful that you’re going through this sad moment with all these other folks, because I promise you, there is something worse out there than being sad, and that is being alone and being sad. Ain’t nobody in this room alone.”
I mean if that doesn’t tug on your heart strings, what will? If that isn’t a lesson in hope and positivity, what is?
So remember Mavericks players, coaches, and fans: Even if this season ends in heartbreak, there is something worse than being sad, and that is being alone and sad. And ain’t no Mavs player, coach or fan who is alone. We’re all in this together.
I think I’ve lost track of my goal here. The moral of this piece is that everyone should watch Ted Lasso — especially those involved with Dallas Mavericks basketball. We all need a lesson in positivity.
When asked if he believes in ghosts, Ted responds, “I do. But more importantly, I think they need to believe in themselves.”
I feel that quote with everything in my heart when it comes to this Mavericks team. I believe in them, but most importantly, I think they need to believe in themselves.