DALLAS – As he had so patiently done a few times in the past, Jason Orozco lined up his kids and brought them to a quaint table at Gilley’s Dallas where Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews was eagerly waiting to sign autographs.
Festival de los Mavs: Mar. 22, 2018
“This is my fourth year coming to this event,” Orozco told Mavs.com. “I have eight kids here with me – seven of them are mine and one is my nephew – and they’re ages three to 15. I wanted the kids to meet the players that are here, get autographs and just have fun out here.”
Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki and guards Wesley Matthews and J.J. Barea were on hand for the festivities, and each player signed autographs for the legion of fans for over an hour. Saying that he always thoroughly enjoyed fans seeing him in a different light instead of just on the basketball court “trying to win a basketball game,” Matthews felt honored to share some of his free time with the fans.
“They’re passionate fans,” Matthews said. “We’re all the same. Take basketball out, take being a fan out, and we’re just enjoying a good Sunday.”
On the day before the festival, Mavs CEO Cynthia “Cynt” Marshall was in Fresno, CA, on a personal matter. But she took a 6 a.m. flight back to Dallas on the morning of the event so she could attend the festival, which was presented by Coors Light with support from 5miles, Wrangler, Sprite, Univision, the US Army and the North Texas Ford Dealers.
“What I love about this event is just to watch all the fans line up to get Dirk’s autograph,” Marshall said. “I mean, I already knew he was a rock star, but to see the fans in all of their Mavs gear and to see them just handing him different things to sign is amazing.”
“And then to see all the kids, it made me really think about that’s where it starts. When we talk about Mavs Fans For Life, truly that’s where it starts where you see these little honeys lined up and excited.”
Each fan blessed to receive an autograph from Nowitzki also was given a free water bottle by Mavs employees. Marshall shared a light-hearted moment involving that exchange.
Marshall said: “I saw one little guy, he chased his mom and said, ‘Mom, you forgot your water bottle. We get a water bottle, too.’ This was after Dirk gave the autograph.”
Humbling scenes like that never get old or tiresome for Stan “Woodsy” Woods. The 61-year old knew he had to be at Gilley’s Dallas, if for no other reason than to pay tribute to Nowitzki.
“He’s the (future) Hall of Fame player, the sixth all-time leading scorer in the history of the NBA,” Woods said. “I’m so grateful, honored, and privileged, whoa, super excited, bro. That’s Dirk, the man.”
Woods was one of the Mavs’ original ManiAACs, performing his dance routines for Mavs fans from 2002-’10. As he recalled his days as a member of the ManiAACs, Woods was delighted to see the players step out and bond with the fans at Gilley’s Dallas.
“That was super exciting to be able to come to a game and see 20,000 screaming fans,” Woods said. “I’m just awestruck. I still come out to the games and support my team. I was blessed to be able to see Dirk play in person for eight seasons.”
Woods even discussed how super fortunate he and Mavs fans are to have Nowitzki returning next season for his unprecedented 21st year in the NBA.
“I salute him and my hat is off to him,” Woods said. “He’s a champion, he’s a warrior, he’s a soldier.”
“He took pay cuts when no other superstars would. He will always be the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) of the Mavericks.”
The ManiAACs, Mavs Dancers, Champ and Mavs Man made appearances at the festival. Meanwhile recording artist Luis Coronel performed for the crowd.
“I had my (11-month old) daughter out here and she enjoyed it and it was a good time,” Matthews said. “It’s a cool event and it’s a cool little atmosphere, too.”
“Just to see the community support, and then of course, obviously to have the players here and to have all the Mavs employees here, it’s a family day and I love that,” Marshall said.
“It’s the Mavs family.”