Story: Eddie Sefko | Digital Recap: Jonathan Lim 

GRAND PRAIRIE – We’ve seen wide-eyed wonder when something amazing happens. And there it was on Wednesday night at the Cirque du Soleil amphitheater under the big top.

Jaws dropped. Eyes couldn’t budge off the action and attention spans were suddenly a lot longer.

And those were the adults.

The kids were mesmerized even more as the Mavericks had their annual celebration showing appreciation to season-ticket members, who were treated to a private viewing of the Cirque du Soleil show AmaLuna.

It was a night of fun and mingling and a chance for the Mavericks to say thank you to the folks who pay the freight.

And then there were the aerial stunts, gymnastics feats and high-flying theatrics that thrilled kids of all ages.

Great athletes recognize other great athletes. Takes one to know one, right? Asked what he thought of the performers and if they were pretty good athletes, Devin Harris said:

“Pretty good? They’re better than we are.”

OK, that might have been a bit of a reach. But not by much. When the fans and players and kids saw a woman dangling from a circular steel trapeze some 40 feet above the stage – by her feet – they knew they were amid some next-level talent.

The whole night was geared to give the fans a special night. And in that regard, the Mavericks and the Cirque du Soleil folks delivered.

CEO Cynt Marshall said it’s the kind of night that reminds the Mavericks of how lucky they are. They have a loyal fan base that has been largely responsible for selling out every game since Dec. 15, 2001. The sellout streak is at 707 and counting, 774 if you include playoff games.

“This event is all about our season-ticket members, pure and simple,” Marshall said. “It’s an opportunity to give back to them and show them how much we appreciate them and just show them a little love for being with us for the whole season and cheer this great team on. And being there when we need them. We don’t ever want to underestimate the value of the sixth man. Or sixth woman.”

All of the players were on hand at the big tent constructed in the parking lot of Lone Star Park. It looks smallish from the outside, but is bigger than you think when you get inside.

“It’s a great night of family fun,” Harris said. “We’re trying to show that we really care about them. And this is about them.

“We have one of the best fan bases in the NBA, there’s no secret about that. They support us through great seasons, through bad seasons. They’re always there for us. We do these nights for them.”

Added Dirk Nowitzki, who addressed the crowd and said he’s a “huge” Cirque du Soleil fan: “You guys push us every night. Thanks for supporting us all season and hopefully we’re going to finish the season strong, make a little push. And we’ll see you guys Friday (when Denver visits American Airlines Center).”

To that, several boisterous members of the crowd yelled out: “One more year.”

Earlier in the night, as Nowitzki was mingling with fans, the same three words broke out in a long, loud chant: “One more year … one more year … one more year.”

Nowitzki just sheepishly grinned. He’s been consistent in saying he won’t make any decisions about when his basketball career is over until after he sees how he feels at the end of the season.

But no matter what, he and his teammates returned the adulation to the fans for one grand night under the big top.

Twitter: @ESefko


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