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Let’s face it, 55ers.* Times of late have not been easy for diehard Pacers fans.
After that galling loss to San Antonio that we all witnessed on Friday, our boys have taken to the road.* As of this writing, we got pummeled in Atlanta and we’re off to funky Philly, where our last road show was a firm pasting. Right now we’re 14-20 and we’ve lost 6 out of our last 7 games.* And with the Colts now having been eliminated from the playoffs, it seems like melancholia is squatting over Indy fans like a stray dog taking prolonged dump.
But pull your head out of that oven and turn off the gas!* The Dallas Mavericks are coming to town. There is a possibility for a win.
See, the Mavs are in kind of a tailspin of their own. Two of their better players, Dirk Nowitzki and Caron Butler are limping around on bad knees.* Butler is probably out for the season. Nowitzki, their floor leader and go-to guy, has missed the Mavs’ last 7 games and is supposedly highly doubtful for Wednesday. Even if he does play, his bum knee is still likely to be less than 100%; he won’t be in game shape; and he’s apt to be extremely rusty.* While Nowitzki’s been away, the Mavs have been 2-5.* More recently, they’ve dropped 2 home games in a row – losing a close one to Oklahoma City, and then getting thrashed by Orlando.* They now face the Pacers at Conseco Wednesday in the first game of a 4-game road swing of their own.* We’ll be new one another.* It’s our first encounter with Dallas this season.
Even without Nowitzki and Butler, the Mavericks aren’t exactly pushovers. Their roster sports a lot of seasoned vets — Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Shawn Marion, and Jason Terry, just to name a few.* The Mavs youth corps — Brian Cardinal and DeShawn Stevenson – isn’t exactly inexperienced either.* Collectively, they’ll present our guys with all kinds of matchup issues – right at a time when Roy is reportedly seeing a sports psychiatrist; Danny can’t throw the ball in the ocean; Obie’s been talking about playing “small ball”; and roster newbies like Tyler Hansborough, Paul George, and A. J. Price are finally seeing a bit of playing time.
Given all this, the Dallas game ought to make for a real interesting contest.* One thing’s certain.* Our guys are in dire need of a win.* So Area 55 really needs to bring it on Wednesday to give our embattled team some much-needed support.* As Slick Leonard once said in a similar context about another Pacer team, “Baby, we’re due!”
FUN FACTS ABOUT DALLAS!
What the Hell’s a Maverick? Well, first some mood music:
In the mid-1800s, a gentleman by the name of Samuel Augustus Maverick*settled in Texas with the goal of becoming a cattle rancher. By tradition, ranchers at that time branded their cattle with various markings to make them easy to identify. Sam Maverick*refused to do so. Some people have suggested that he was simply lazy, but the real explanation was probably commercial in nature.*Maverick*knew that, by convention, unbranded cattle belonged to whoever managed to claim them first. Using his political clout, Maverick made sure that any unbranded cattle were regarded as his, since he was the only rancher around not to use brands.* As a result, around 1867, ranchers started calling unbranded Texas cattle “mavericks.”
As the*slang term “maverick” spread across the West, people started using it in reference to freethinking individuals, meaning that such people were not “branded” with some kind of orthodoxy. The first written record of the use of the word “maverick” in this sense appeared in a San Francisco newspaper in 1886.
So in pop culture, the maverick has come to mean a “contrarian” or a “gambler.” *The word even has a special meaning in the game of poker – when you have a queen and jack in the pocket, you have a “maverick.”
So are the Dallas Mavericks named after canny Sam Maverick?* Or are they named after a bunch of unclaimed, unbranded cattle?* Nope.* Nay to both.* The Dallas Mavericks got their name from a TV Western.
In 1979, Dallas businessmen*Don Carter and Norm Sonju requested the right to bring an NBA franchise to Dallas,*Texas. The last professional basketball team in Dallas had been the*Dallas Chaparrals of the*ABA (which, if you remember from our last Newsletter, moved to*San Antonio in 1973 to become first the San Antonio Gunslingers and then the*San Antonio Spurs). Anyway, at the*1980 NBA All-Star Game, league owners voted to admit the new team.* The team’s name came from the 1957-1962 TV western Maverick. The “Mavericks” name was supposedly chosen by the local fans. From 4600 postcards received, the name “Maverick” beat out “Wranglers”*and*“Express.”*Actor James Garner, who played the namesake character in the TV western, happened to be a member of the ownership group.
Be glad James Arness wasn’t in the Dallas ownership group.* Otherwise, today’s Mavericks might well have been named the “Dallas Gunsmoke.”
Meet Champ the Horse and Mavs Man! Hey, like Washington Wizards, the Mavs actually have two official (2) mascots.* One is “Champ the Horse.”* Champ is a cutesy blue mockup of a familiar hooved mammalian quadruped.* Why he’s a horse and not an unbranded steer is anybody’s guess.* I suppose the Dallas owners didn’t want a mascot that looked too bovine.
The other mascot is “Mavs Man,” a sort of part-basketball, part human, muscled-up super hero that the Mavericks management uses for the all the trampoline dunking and tee-shirt throwing that now constitutes mandatory fun at every NBA b-ball game played in this country.
Not sure, but I think some of the Mavs Men may also work the Dallas bachelorette scene as Chippendales.* Personally, I’m always suspicious of men that shave their chests.
Say Hello to Mark Cuban – Most Fined Owner in the NBA! Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, is sort of like his team’s namesake, a “maverick”.* Strangely, unlike most NBA owners, Cuban seems to actually like most of his players – maybe too much.* Curiously, he hasn’t demanded that Dallas buy him a new arena yet and hasn’t tried even once to move his team to Podunkville just because he can.* Historically, most NBA team owners play passive public roles and watch their teams’ progress from secluded offices and catered skyboxes. Cuban is different.* He typically sits alongside fans, usually wearing a Dallas jersey. When not wheeling and dealing, he regularly gets on his private Gulfstream V and flies off to attend Mavs road games.
Although originally hailing from Pittsburg, Cuban’s an IU grad.* We might just see him at Conseco on Wednesday night. If he’s there, let’s give him a big Area 55 welcome!
Cuban also has the distinction of being the most-fined owner in professional basketball. Since buying a majority interest in the Mavs from H. Ross Perot, Jr. in 2000 he’s been crazy and continuing burr under David Stern’s NBA saddle.
How much has Mark Cuban been fined?* Well, it’s really kind of hard to say exactly.* When you add up the fines that the NBA has made public, by my reckoning it totals to at least $1,715,000 for around 13 separate incidents.* It may be more because the NBA sometimes fines people and keeps mum about it.
Cuban has also been “suspended” for 3 games. *I’m not sure exactly what an owner’s “suspension” means.* Maybe it means is that you can’t go to your own team’s games.* Big deal.
Here’s a short Mark Cuban rap sheet that I compiled from my Internet roamings:
On January 4, 2000, Mark Cuban acquired his majority interest in the Mavs.* He immediately sprang into action!
·******* On November 14, 2000, Cuban was fined $5,000 for comments made about the inferior quality of the refereeing after a Sacramento-Dallas game.·******* On November 20, 2000, he was fined $15,000 for confronting and verbally abusing the refs both during and after a Dallas-Phoenix game.·******* On November 22, 2000, he was fined $25,000 for verbally abusing and publicly criticizing the referees after a Dallas-Seattle game.·******* On January 4, 2001, the League fined Cuban $250,000 for outbursts and actions concerning refereeing after a Detroit-Dallas game.* Among his offenses, Cuban had a still shot of a blown call plastered on the Jumbotron after the game. He also reportedly screamed and yelled at the refs during the entire game.·******* On January 11, 2001, he was fined $100,000 for "conduct unbecoming of an NBA owner." Cuban’s offense was here was minor.* He was charged with sitting on the floor along the baseline next to the Mavericks’ bench during a Dallas-Minnesota game.* From this vantage point, he did nothing other than watch the game. (******(Editorial Comment: Stalking time-out dancers, moving your team to anothertown, and even getting drunk and setting your chest hair on fire – all sometime activities of the current crew of NBA owners – is non-finable to the NBA’s view of things. Sitting with your team courtside, however, can cost you $100,000).·******* On February 16, 2001 the NBA fined Cuban $10,000 for going on the court during the Dallas-Clevand game when Gary Trent and Wesley Person got in a scuffle. A minor quibble here. Cuban did not actually go on the court.* He went halfway up the sideline along the scorer's table before returning to his seat and actually got nowhere close the scuffle (which was at the free throw line at the opposite basket). Cuban was also suspended for 2 games for this incident. The fine and suspension were supposedly automatic “for a team official entering the court during a game.”·******* On March 13, 2001, Cuban was fined $100,000 for making a derogatory gesture at the refs during the Phoenix-Dallas game and for remarks regarding the ***********officiating after the game.* He was also suspended again for 1 game.
On January 8, 2002, Cuban was fined $500,000 when, in a nationally publicized incident, he criticized the refereeing in a Dallas-San Antonio game.* He also specifically criticized the league’s manager of officials,*Ed T. Rush, saying that Rush*”wouldn’t be able to manage a*Dairy Queen“.
(Editorial Comment: When Dairy Queen’s management took offense, Cuban later ******** worked for a day at a Dairy Queen in*Coppell, Texas. Fans reportedly lined up in ********* the street in order to get a Blizzard from the owner of the Mavericks).
·******* On March 16, 2004, the NBA fined Cuban $10,000 for "inappropriate public comments". Cuban told a reporter that he had told Josh Howard during the************a March 5th game at San Antonio, that he [Cuban] would pay any fine the League************would assess if Howard got a technical for smacking the basketball out of San***********Antonio player, Bruce Bowen’s hands and causing it to hit Bowen in the face.
·******* On October 9, 2004, Cuban was fined $100,000 for criticizing the rules limiting NBA training camp practices to just 1 scrimmage per day with a maximum of 3 hours per day, and 2-a-day practices to just 5 days.·******* In November, 2004 Cuban was fined an unknown amount by the NBA for comments on his blog criticizing the league for starting the season on Election Day.
unable to resign Finley after Finley had become a free agent.
In a playoff series between the Mavericks and Spurs, Cuban cursed Spurs forward*Bruce Bowen and was fined $200,000 by the NBA for rushing onto the court and criticizing officiating.
·******* On May 10, 2006 Cuban was fined $100,000 for going out on the court during a May 7, 2006 playoff game at San Antonio (Game 1) to complain about a non-call.·******* On June 20, 2006, after the*2006 NBA Finals, Cuban was fined $250,000 by the NBA for repeated misconduct following the Mavericks' loss to the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the*2006 NBA Finals. The “misconduct” included yelling at a ref, staring down David Stern (who was at the game), and cursing to the media about the officiating.
On January 16, 2009, after a review, the league fined Cuban $25,000 for yelling at*Denver Nuggets player*J. R. Smith at the end of the first half on a Mavericks-at-Nuggets game played on January 13th.*Cuban was apparently incensed that Smith had thrown an elbow that barely missed Mavericks forward*Antoine Wright.
On March 29, 2009, Cuban was fined another $25,000 for publicly criticizing the refs (via Twitter) following a Denver – Dallas game.* Cuban’s angry tweet complained about J.R. Smith of Denver not being called for a technical foul for “taunting” and noted that the non-call came from the same refereeing crew that had worked the earlier January 16, 2009 game at which Cuban had been previously fined.
On May 22, 2010 Cuban was fined $100,000 for comments he made during a television interview about his willingness to sign*LeBron James if James left
Mark Cuban Talks Trash to Kenyon Martin’s Mom! In May 2009, Cuban went under NBA scrutiny again, this time for directing disparaging words to Kenyon Martin’s mother about her son.* I haven’t been able to learn if he was fined for this incident. If he was, the NBA doesn’t seem to have said anything about it.
Cuban’s comments came in the chaotic aftermath of a game ironically played on the eve of Mother’s Day.
Just before he made them, Denver’s Carmelo Anthony hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 1 second left to play in Game 3 of the second round of the playoffs between the Mavs and the Nuggets. Carmelo’s shot, in turn, came immediately after*the Mavs’ Antoine Wright appeared to have obviously fouled Carmelo. To the Mavs’ later dismay, no foul was called. Instead, Carmelo’s ensuing 3-pointer took the Nuggets from 2 points down to 1 point ahead in a pivotal playoff game.
Cuban came onto the floor near the front of the Mavericks’ bench after Carmelo hit the shot, just before Mavericks forward,*Dirk Nowitzki,*took an inbounds pass and missed a long, desperation heave at the buzzer.* Owing to Carmelo’s heroics, Denver got a 106-105 victory and took a commanding 3-0 lead in the second-round playoff series.* Denver eventually won the series.
After the game, Cuban and other Mavs players were livid that the foul was ignored by the referees. As he left the court after the game, an angry Cuban shoved away a TV cameraman, pushing his forearm out to move him aside as he walked by.* Meanwhile Denver player, Kenyon Martin remained on the court more than a minute after the game and could be seen making comments to Mavs players after most of his teammates had left and made their way to the locker room.
Cuban told reporters afterwards that as he was walking off the court he saw Kenyon Martin’s mother, Lydia Moore, celebrating in the stands while a Dallas fan was loudly yelling that the Nuggets were “thugs.”
“That includes your son,” Cuban supposedly said to Mrs.Moore, according to his e-mail to The Denver Post.
Cuban said he was acquainted with Martin’s mother because, after a previous game that Denver won, she had approached him and supposedly made trash-talk-type comments.
Kenyon Martin’s “agent,” Brian Dyke, had a different take on the incident. According to Dyke, an unprovoked Cuban simply told Mrs. Moore, “Your son is a punk.” Either way, NBA spokesman Tim Frank told The Denver Post that the “situation on the floor postgame is being reviewed.”
Kenyon Martin, a Dallas native but Nugget player, known for his physical play, had been previously fined $25,000 by the NBA in Game 1, after knocking Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki to the court in Denver’s series-opening win. After that game, Nowitzki downplayed the contact as “just a hard playoff foul.” On the play in question, Nowitzki was off-balance when Martin put a shoulder to him, causing him to stumble and then slide across the lane. Nowitzki, known for flopping theatrics, disputed that he made the foul look worse that it was.
On Monday, Martin told reporters “he was going to take care of Cuban personally” for getting into the disagreement with his mother. Martin’s coach George Karl said he hoped the two would “settle the issue after the season.” But clearly it was not over.
After the Mavericks’ 119-117 victory in Game 4 (which made the series 3-1 with the Nuggets still very much in control), Martin walked off the court and yelled expletives at Cuban.
Wanna see Kenyon’s comments?
When approached by reporters after the game, Martin said, “All you (expletives) trying to do is keep trouble up. Keep away from me.”
After Game 4, Cuban apologized to Martin on his blog for exchanging words with his mother: “So at this point I would like to apologize to you and your mom KMart for my comment,” Cuban said in a post time-stamped 1:34 AM Central Time. “I should have not said anything and I was wrong. Hopefully you will accept the apology and we can move on. When the series comes back to Dallas, your family, and the family of other Nuggets players are welcome to stay in my suite, with my family. Its amazing how tempers mellow when real people talk to each other and realize that its still just a game.If that isn’t acceptable, I’m happy to provide a suite, free of charge to them as well and place whatever security is needed to make them feel comfortable.”
Well, that’s enough basketball drama for one night, 55ers.* Let’s see if we can bring some of our own to Conseco on Wednesday.* Be nasty, loud, and vocal.* Our Pacers need a really big shot in the arm!Joe Murphy (IndyHoya)