Exit Interviews: Mavs Are Now NBA 'Made Men'
Get the highlights here. But then ...
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Skimming some highlights of the day … to get you ready for our coverage all night (and day ... and week and month and all summer!)
On the subject of this team's legacy:
Coach Rick Carlisle said his Mavs players are now in "the pantheon'' of the great sports stars from Dallas, mentioning names like "Roger Staubach, Troy Aikman, Tony Dorsett, Emmitt Smith, Mike Modano'' … His players, he said, "have now earned life-long bragging rights,'' noting that when you win a title, for the rest of your life in the NBA "you're like a made man."
That's mafia talk, for the uninformed. (Go rent "GoodFellas.'')
Carlisle's evaluation of some key individuals:
The coach made mention of virtually everyone on the roster. He said of Jason Kidd, "I wouldn't bet against greatness. … his DNA is all over this thing.'' He called Shawn Marion "our best athlete.'' He said J.J. Barea "is a fighter … with incredibly big balls.'' He said Tyson Chandler is "an extremely special player.'' But he saved his highest praise for Dirk Nowitzki, wanting to be so certain to properly frame the moment that he pulled from his pocket a list of "the 13 guys in NBA history who've been league MVP, Finals MVP and 10-time All-Star. Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Wilt Chamberlain, Kobe Bryant, Oscar Robertson, Tim Duncan Shaquille O'Neal and Dirk Nowitzki.''
The accomplishments topped by the title, Rick said, "validates (Dirk) as one of the very, very best that's ever played this game." But more, he added, "There's no better person in the history of this game than Dirk."
On owner Mark Cuban's plan to present his team something "to the next level'' rather than traditional rings:
"As a player and a historian of the game, we want the ring,'' Jet said. "You look at the ‘Sports Illustrated' cover of Bill Russell holding those rings, you see Phil Jackson's rings. You want that ring. That means a lot. That's the thing that you can go to your grave with."
"It's got to be rings,'' Carlisle said, laughing."I don't know what he's thinking," Carlisle said, laughing. "You win an NBA championship, you've got to a have a ring. If he wants to give guys something else with a ring, that's great."
As I noted in this space before on this subject, Cuban isn't going to go rogue on the issue without the consultation of those around him. In short, he'll listen to Dirk, who said, "We got to talk to him about that. I don't think the last word has been spoken yet. You know he always wants to do something different, wants to do something bigger, but I mean, the ring is just so classic. I would vote for a ring.''
And so – wanna bet? – a ring, and whatever else, it will be.
On some of the guys' summer plans:
"I'm not going to retire or anything if that's what you think,'' joked Finals MVP Nowitzki, who wants to grab the Larry O'Brien Trophy and give it a tour of Germany – but maybe only after Barea does the same with it in his native Puerto Rico.
Shawn Marion, who spoke all spring about being "hungry,'' said, "I'm full now. Oooh-eee, my stomach is full, but I've got a different appetite now."
‘Trix also told me he's working on that reality TV show idea of his featuring the "ladies in my life,'' featuring his mother. "But she's not the boss, I'm the boss,'' Marion said … before backing down.
"Naw, she's the boss,'' Marion conceded. "But I am in charge of some things. I think I'm doing to (dye) my hair yellow.''
"I got my ticket to the ESPY's,'' said Jet, holding the enveloped invitation to the ESPN Awards ceremony, which he says will include all the Mavs as the team will be up for an "Outstanding Team'' trophy. "I'm going to be all over. I'm going to be everywhere now, baby."
Terry spoke with the media while wearing a boxing-style championship robe – one he says was given to him by Carlisle (to replace the one the coach confiscated when he thought Jet was losing focus), one the Mavs' sixth man and spokesmodel says he'll don again for Thursday's victory parade in downtown Dallas.
"I can only imagine getting on that float and just hoisting up that trophy, cigar in my mouth,''Jet said, "and I'm going to have this same outfit on. So get used to it."
Tyson Chandler – cited by so many Mavs as a centerpiece difference-maker, is a free agent this summer. But at this moment, the Heart-and-Soul guy made it clear where his heart, soul and head are at.
"They believed in me when a lot of people wondered why they traded for me," said Chandler, offering a glimpse into his allegiance before making one other thing abundantly clear.
"I know we can," Chandler said when asked about winning a title again next season. "If we all come back, and we're healthy, and we're all together, the sky is the limit.''