Mavericks fans have seen Dirk Nowitzki play on and on and on.

They watch Luka Dončić on the court game after game, looking just a little more svelte as the time has passed.

What fans don’t see is Jeremy Holsopple, one of the major reasons that the Mavericks have one of the most respected athletic training staffs in the NBA.

Holsopple, now working on eight seasons as athletic performance director with the Mavericks, on Monday was presented with the NBA’s 14th annual Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year Award at halftime of the game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Holsopple works closely with director of player health and performance Casey Smith and head athletic trainer Dionne Calhoun to sculpt individualized workouts for each player and concentrate on how to keep players as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

“The NBSCA congratulates coach Jeremy Holsopple of the Dallas Mavericks for winning the 14th annual NBA Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Year award, presented by Hammer Strength. Coach Holsopple is being recognized for his outstanding services to his team and peers,” president of the NBSCA Daniel Shapiro said in a statement. Shapiro is head strength and conditioning coach for the Clippers.

Keeping the Mavericks healthy is no small assignment. It got even tougher during the stoppage for the coronavirus last year. Holsopple had to come up with personalized workouts for each player and make sure that those workouts were compatible with whatever equipment each player had available.

Some have fully stocked gyms where they live, but some don’t. Designing plans for strong conditioning drills have to be made accordingly.

“Jeremy is amazing,” owner Mark Cuban said. “He takes on the intellectual, physical and social challenge that comes with his job every day.

“This isn’t the old-school strength and conditioning job of years ago. There are continuous changes to the science, technology and medical elements of his job. Just keeping up is a 24-hour-a-day job.

“Then, convincing players to adjust their routines and explaining the benefits is a key part of the job that Jeremy has mastered. Jeremy is a keeper. I hope he is with the Mavs his entire career.”

Holsopple, a graduate of the University of Kentucky, constantly is working with players before games to loosen up muscles and address any problem areas players might have physically.

But a lot of his work is done behind the scenes, as it was with Nowitzki for years toward the end of the legend’s career. Holsopple once said part of his job was to find “novel ways to get him to work without so much pounding” on his knees and ankles.

Now, he’s got a relatively young team with different needs when it comes to getting in – and staying in – top physical condition.

Just about every player has a story about Holsopple.

“He does a great job,” said Dorian Finney-Smith. “When I got here, just seeing Dirk playing and all the stuff he did to keep him on the court. That was fantastic.

“And I came in with a lot of knee problems. And my knees feel like I never had any knee problems. Obviously, Jeremy knows what he’s talking about. If you listen to him, he can put you in positions to have a long, healthy career. I saw what they did with Dirk. Shoot, the man played forever.

“If I could just get half of that, I’d be happy.

Before coming to the Mavericks, Holsopple worked as a performance-enhancing coach in Major League Soccer, the NFL, Arena Football League and at the college level.

Since arriving, he’s become an essential part of the machine that keeps the Mavericks moving – literally and figuratively.

Twitter: @ESefko


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