Emotions were running high before, during, and after the Dallas Mavericks-Washington Wizards game in D.C. It was a game fans had marked on their calendars ever since the shocking Kristaps Porzingis for Spencer Dinwiddie and Davis Bertans trade went down on February 10.
All three players involved in that trade faced a large amount of scrutiny with their previous squads. Davis Bertans’ shooting fell off a cliff towards the end of his run in Washington. Spencer Dinwiddie was brought in to help make the Wizards a capable playoff team, and... that isn’t what happened. On the Mavs/Porzingis side of things, we don’t need to relitigate all of that. The drama was palpable for years.
In their first game back in D.C., Bertans only played 10 minutes and was 0-for-1 from the field, while Dinwiddie scored eight points in 23 minutes of action — basically a no-show.
I’m not all that interested in what happened on the court, though. I’m more interested in the emotions surrounding a return game. Let’s get into that.
As I walked into Capital One Arena, the question of the night hit me: Will Spencer and Davis get a tribute video?
Tribute videos are handed out liberally now days. It feels like whenever a player shows up at an arena they used to call home — no matter how long their time there or how impactful of a player they were — the home team feels obligated to dish out a tribute video. It’s comical at this point.
We’re not talking LeBron James heading back to Cleveland or Kevin Durant heading back to OKC. We’re talking about Davis Bertans and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie is a great player, but he only played 44 games for the Wiz, and the majority of those games were... pretty meaningless.
Bertans, on the other hand, was in D.C. for a few seasons, totalling 145 games played. He started 11 of those 145 games and averaged just over 11 points in under 25 minutes per game. Deserving of a tribute video? I didn’t think so.
But, during a timeout in the first quarter, the jumbotron started reeling off some Dinwiddie/Bertans highlights from their time in Wizards uniforms. Although, the Wizards didn’t win anything while they were there, and those two weren’t responsible for many great moments. The video was basically each of them hitting a couple shots and then a brief thank-you message for both of them. During the thank-you section, the camera focused on Dinwiddie for a moment to let the fans cheer, and then Bertans for a moment to do the same. Only... the applause was minimal, if even existent. If you were on your phone scrolling through Twitter, you wouldn’t realize you missed anything. It was incredibly uneventful.
After the game, I asked Dinwiddie if he was expecting a tribute video.
“Honestly, because of Davis, yes,” Dinwiddie told me. “Davis spent actual time here. If it wasn’t for Davis, then like, they wouldn’t have. But then it would’ve been in poor taste if they did it for Davis and not me, so you kinda gotta through it in there at that point.”
That’s fascinating insight into the state of NBA tribute videos. Dinwiddie makes a ton of sense here. Of course the Wizards wouldn’t just do a tribute video for Bertans when Dinwiddie was also part of the same trade. To Spencer’s point, that would’ve been poor taste. But did Davis really need a tribute video?
I’m all for thanking players for working hard and being a part of the team, but maybe a nice little graphic on the scoreboard would’ve sufficed. I didn’t need the Dinwiddie/Bertans highlight reel, and judging by the reaction in the arena, I’m guessing Wizards fans didn’t need it either.
We need to bring some discression back to tribute videos. When a major player returns for the first time, a video is likely warranted. When it’s a bench guy, or someone who barely had a cup of coffee with the team, maybe we just say a quick thanks and move on.