This year, I had the privilege of covering Mavs Media for your favorite Dallas Mavericks site, Mavs Moneyball. Like most Media Days, this one was filled with a lot of interesting quotes, some funny blurbs, and a lot of safe talk. Unlike most years in recent memory, this one had a unique and constant theme: COVID-19 vaccination status.
We knew this would be a focal point ahead of time, because, well, it matters! We’re still in the middle of a pandemic, and just because we’re out of the Orlando Bubble, doesn’t mean COVID won’t play a role in the upcoming NBA season.
Thankfully, the Mavericks didn’t have any vaccine comments on the nuclear level that Bradley Beal decided he was ready for (watch some of his thoughts here). With that being said, let’s get into our first, of many highlights from Mavs Media Day.
Jason Kidd talks about team vaccination status
When asked the most popular question of the day (about the team’s vaccination status), he responded simply: “It’s very high.” He went on to estimate that somewhere around 90 percent of the team is fully vaccinated, but their goal is to get that to 100 percent.
Honestly, that’s pretty good news! It would be nice if the Mavs were fortunate enough to be one of the teams that has 100 percent of it’s players fully vaccinated, but the fact that they’re close (and working toward getting there) is something to be cautiously happy about.
It’s not the best news in the world, but it’s a lot better than hearing some of the alternatives.
Luka Doncic is apparently “a young Picasso”
One of the quotes that took off on social media immediately was when new head coach Jason Kidd said, “ I look at Luka as a young Picasso, someone who is very talented, loves to win, and understands how to play the game at a very high level.” He went on to say, “I don’t know if anybody told Picasso that he had to use all the paints, but I just want to remind Luka that he can rely on his teammates.”
Let’s run through that really quickly and do a little fact-checking.
Was Picasso very talented? Yes. Did he love to win? Honestly, I’m not sure. Did he know how to play the game at a very high level? Again, I’m not sure, but it seems like some of Kidd’s analogies are off. As a whole, the Picasso comparison is a fun one, though.
Jalen Brunson speaks on vibes
Getting the chance to ask Jalen Brunson a question meant I had one job to do: Get a report on the vibes.
When I asked Jalen if we could get a read on the vibes heading into this season, he told me, with a smile, “The vibes are still there. The vibes are still immaculate — very much so immaculate.”
As someone who likes to read into vibes, this was great for me to hear. Can you imagine how much angst Mavs fans would feel if Jalen said the vibes were simply fine?
Luka reacting to the “young Picasso” comment
What’s a great quote from the head coach if it doesn’t result in a funny moment with the superstar? When it was Luka Doncic’s turn for questions, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon wanted to get Luka’s thoughts on what Kidd said, but first MacMahon had to confirm Luka knew who Picasso was. When MacMahon double-checked with Luka that he knew who Picasso was, Luka responded with a laugh and a playful “Yeah, of course!”
It was a cute moment from the NBA’s cutest superstar.
Tim Hardaway Jr. praising Kristaps Porzingis
Kristaps Porzingis is coming off a rough season. He looked horrible on defense and inconsistent on offense (though as we’ve noted he actually had a very efficient season statistically). That led to him being in a number of trade rumors over the off-season and put him on the receiving end of a lot of hate from Mavericks fans.
Thankfully, Kristaps seems to be handling everything well. He was jovial and positive during his portion of Media Day, but the best KP moment came from his teammate, Tim Hardaway Jr. when he said, “That guy is ready to go. I have not seen a more focused KP in my whole time here.”
I’ll still need to see it to believe it, but I’m happy Tim is confident in his guy. He finished off his thoughts on Porzingis by saying, “All I can say is people, be ready.”
Boban Marjanovic talking about potentially acting with Luka
You guys know I had to ask this, right? I wasn’t not going to ask Boban about his cameo in “John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum.” That would’ve been journalism malpractice.
My question for Boban was simple: Now that he and Luka are such good friends, has he tried to convince Luka to get into the acting world at all, and can we expect a Boban-Luka film in the future?
Boban responded, “You know what, this would be really good if this really happened!” He went on to say, “He’s not interested too much in the acting stuff, but you never know, maybe he’ll change his mind.”
He didn’t slam the door on a potential Boban-Luka movie, so I’m calling this a temporary win.
Dorian Finney-Smith weighing in on the “Donda” vs. “Certified Lover Boy” debate
I was honored to have the opportunity to ask the last question of Mavs Media Day, so I continued my trend of asking hard-hitting basketball questions to the world’s most talented players. My question for Dorian Finney-Smith: Are you Team “Donda” or Team “Certified Lover Boy?”
Lots of people will tell you the COVID-19 vaccine is the most divisive topic in America right now, but “Donda” vs. “Certified Lover Boy” is giving it a run for its money.
“You can’t really compare them,” DoDo told me. “It’s kind of like two different vibes. But, since everything is a competition, I’m going to go with ‘Certified Lover Boy.’”
I disagree. I think they are comparable and I tend to lean more toward “Donda” as my favorite, but I respect DoDo’s take on the matter.