Editor’s note: In a call back to days gone by, we’re occasionally going to revisit a series we did years ago, when the Mavericks were bad and Andrew Tobolowsky had words to type. We’re still a ways out from games that matter, so here’s something fun.
I take the tramway to downtown Dallas because the parking outside Arcifrecturtronics Arena is horrendous. It’s easy, the tramway has a platform a few hundred feet from the arena and you can just walk right up. I go see the Dallas Mavericks play about once a week, so convenience is a big deal to me.
I wait in line to get in the arena, browsing Twitter. All the other social media companies failed, but somehow, Twitter remains. It’s like a cockroach that won’t die. When I reach the gate, my ticket is automatically read on my NetLu phone. I pass through a metal detector, then a banned plastics detector, and finally a large German Shepherd sniffs me warily.
Inside the doors, I’m handed a bobble head of Champ and 17 NFTs are downloaded onto my ticket account. I did not ask for them and don’t know how to delete them or the 57 others in my account. My entire collection is worth seven dollars and change.
I splurge for the cheese covered meat cubes. A lot of people are put off by the fact that the meat is grown in the lab and is of dubious origins, but I don’t mind. It tastes fine. I settle into my seat and watch the players warm up. The team isn’t good, hasn’t been good since Luka left for the Miami Heat. But they’re a spirited bunch and I like to watch basketball.
The new edition of the Seattle Supersonics jump out to a 20-7 lead. The crowd is dead, but the Mavs dancers are going through their routine and Champ is trying to rouse people into making some noise. Mavs Man used to be better at this, but he was banned years ago due to inciting terror among children. It’s the last good thing the government has done.
By the middle of the second quarter, the Mavericks are down 48-24 and even I’m a little bored. There’s a rookie who’s promising, Chandler Jones, but he’s still learning the ropes of being in the NBA. He’s getting bullied around the court, and the guy next to me observes that Jones needs to put on some weight. I joke that he should eat the meat cubes.
At halftime a gang of Real Hoopers storm the floor. They wear chains bearing the icons of the saints they praise—Lou Williams, Trae Young, and Jamal Crawford. They get off dozens of shots and beat their chest before the Mavs Maniacs toss them out of the arena. I used to wish the Maniacs would return to the affable and slightly overweight goofs that entertained us during breaks, but today I was grateful that they’re now actual maniacs fueled by steroids and Red Bull.
The rest of the game goes by pretty quickly. It turns into a layup line for the SuperSonics, and I get to see some pretty cool dunks, which is always fun. The four years where Commissioner Mark Tatum outlawed them were pretty bland. When the game ends, another NFT of the score is downloaded onto my account, as if I want to remember this. I ask the teenager next to me if he wants me to transfer it to him, no cost, and he just shrugs. “I’m just here to make some videos for my page,” he says. “On Tiktok?” I ask. “Haha, no, not Tiktok gramps,” he replies. I pour what’s left of my craft hazy sour IPA in his lap and head for the exit.
As I’m leaving, I glance up at the rafters and think I see Mavs Man lurking. I feel bad for him, but it’s better this way. I buy some meat cubes for the road, but skip the cheese. I’m trying to be more healthy. On the tramway home, I find that little punk’s page and report it for terrorism, hateful speech, the works. Then I skim a mock draft for next summer.