The Mavericks organization and a couple hundred big MFFLs came together on the AAC floor Monday afternoon for the annual Mavs Tipoff Luncheon, which this year benefited the Mavs Foundation.
This is the calm before the storm, so to speak, as the Mavs take off for Indiana today and tip off the 2016-17 season tomorrow night. The event was similar to those in years past, with TV and radio play-by-play voices Mark Followill and Chuck Cooperstein holding down emcee duties, interviewing the players one-by-one on the stage, as well as proprietor Mark Cuban, GM Donnie Nelson, and head coach Rick Carlisle. There was also a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the foundation.
Any time you get the entire team together, there are sure to be some serious laughs. From Canadian Dwight Powell’s pronunciation of “PROH-cess” (and his later adjustment to “PRAH-cess”) to Salah Mejri discussing his infamous blocked shot list to Seth Curry reflecting on what it was like to play HORSE against his dad and brother growing up, everyone on the team had the chance to entertain the crowd, and no one wasted their chance.
Here are some of the highlights:
– Wesley Matthews is serious about showing the city of Dallas who he is this season, now more than one year removed from an Achilles injury which prematurely ended his 2014-15 season and slowed him down a bit in his first year in Dallas. But now, he said, he’s back to who he is. And just how adamant is he about becoming a Dallas mainstay? “I’ve changed my license over,” he said. “I’m completely, 100 percent Texan.” That line received the loudest round of applause of the day.
– Spanish radio play-by-play voice Victor Villalba interviewed rookie Nico Brussino in Spanish and then translated it for the crowd. At one point, Villalba asked Brussino about the differences between basketball in Argentina versus the NBA. The 23-year-old mentioned there is more passing in the international game, to which Carlisle joked: “Are you saying we need to pass more?” Brussino’s immediate (and wise) response: “No, no, esta bien!”
– When it came time for Andrew Bogut to speak, there appeared to be an issue with the microphone. Dirk Nowitzki, seated to the Aussie’s left, quickly took the mic and checked to see if it was on. It wasn’t. Problem solved. “That’s why they pay you the big bucks,” Bogut said. The first-year Mav said he enjoys the ribbing that goes on in the locker room, saying he and Mejri have had some nice verbal battles. “We just had a little argument about 30 minutes ago that I keep using the same jokes on him,” Bogut said, “so I gotta get some new ones, I guess.”
– Quincy Acy, a Mesquite native and Baylor alum, is happy to home and playing for the team he grew up supporting. He lives the life of a true Texan, having an especially strong penchant for fishing. He relayed one story from this summer, when he took his young son to the dock for an afternoon on the water. His son, with a small Spiderman rod, didn’t quite have the attention span to hold out for a big catch, but Acy was doing his best to reel something in for the both of them. At one point, however, his son’s rod shook. “All of a sudden his fishing pole just dives in the water, and it’s literally the biggest fish that I’ve seen,” Acy remembered, heartbroken. “I couldn’t get it. I thought about jumping in, but I let it go.” Good choice.
– Deron Williams is also a native Texan, growing up in The Colony before moving to Illinois for college and ultimately launching an NBA career which saw stops in Utah and Brooklyn. But the point guard said his first season back home was a huge positive for his entire family. “Just having a chance for my family — my mom, mainly — to be at every game, and for my kids to be around their grandparents, was definitely great,” he said. “The basketball experience was just the best it’s been in a long time for me. This organization, and the way it’s run, the coaching staff, how prepared they are and how well they prepare us, just made things really easy and really comfortable. It’s almost like I never left.”
– Dirk Nowitzki took questions from the VIP tables. At this point, he’s answered just about every question imaginable when it comes to his NBA career. However, one clever guest decided to ask what he would have done with his life had basketball not worked out. This is a first. Nowitzki’s response: “My parents had a painting company at home growing up. We painted houses outside, inside. So I’d be the world’s tallest painter.” He’d be a one-man wrecking crew with a paint brush at 7-feet tall. “Either that, or I would’ve studied something in Germany. I would’ve figured it out.”