We’re used to seeing Dirk Nowitzki break records, but Sunday night after Fan Jam the Mavs placed another notch in the belt, this time having nothing to do with the Big German.
More than 700 fans turned out — 701, to be exact, because that matters here — in an attempt to break the Guinness Book of World Records’ mark for largest game of basketball knockout. The title previously belonged to the Brooklyn Nets and their fans, but Dallas eclipsed the mark by 72 players.
“It’s nice to see that the record stays in the NBA,” said Guinness representative Alex Angert, “and we look forward to seeing whether or not the Mavs can top their own record, or if another team comes in and tries to make this some sort of competition among basketball teams.”
It took 27 rounds and longer than three hours just to get to the final 10 participants, but from there the speed of the game picked up and, with that, so did the action. Anyone familiar with knockout knows how frenzied things become as the line gets shorter.
Folks of all ages turned out to the AT&T Plaza outside of the American Airlines Center, many of them coming directly following Fan Jam. There were participants who looked as young as three or four, and many entire families turned out to compete. Entry was free but there was a lot on the line: Among several prizes for the top 100, 50, and 25 contestants, the winner would score a pair of 2015-16 season tickets.
Claiming the prize was 22-year-old John Diggs of Garland, a lifelong Mavericks fan who entered the competition on a whim after his manager at RaceTrac suggested he give it a shot. Shoot it he did, and he won the tickets he otherwise would not have been able to land.
“I feel good,” he said after knocking down his final shot. “I can’t really afford it, so it’s a good way to get it.”
Diggs said he played basketball in high school. While that alone might not give someone an advantage over 700 other players, his gameplan — to keep things easy — might have given him the edge he needed.
“Just hit the shot,” he said. “If you miss, hurry up and get it. Go back. You gotta hustle.”
The game kicked off when Champ, the Mavs mascot, took the first shot. Mark Cuban surveyed the scene before the games began, and play-by-play man Mark Followill acted as emcee before the event. Among the first to be eliminated were the Mavs ManiAACs, but they didn’t seem to mind — they hit up the plaza, raiding food trucks in ways only they can. FanDuel, who presented the event, also had a Fan Zone, where participants could play cornhole and other games, take pictures in a photo booth, and get drinks.
All in all, things went about as smoothly as a 701-person game of knockout could. And while every record is made to be broken, it might be a while before another team or organization can beat the Mavs’ mark.