We’ve all heard about 30 for 30, the well-done series on ESPN that dives deep into so many riveting topics.

Here, we offer you 40 for 40, Mavericks’ style.

On May 1, we’re celebrating the 40th birthday of the franchise we all know and love and to do so, we’ve dug up 40 of the most memorable quotations about various people, moments, successes and failures in the organization’s history.

We certainly had to weed out a few deserving quips and off-hand comments. This is a family-friendly organization. And we may have missed a few of your favorites. After all, 40 years is a lot of ground to cover.

But we’ve assembled a lot of great words that help define the franchise.

Some didn’t make the cut, such as: The opera ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings.

This quote was first attributed to an esteemed San Antonio sportswriter, Dan Cook, who may or may not have stolen it from Ralph Carpenter, who at the time was sports information director at Texas Tech in the ‘70s. Cook used it in print and on television as he doubled as a sports anchor.

At that time, the Spurs were battling Washington in a playoff series and Cook used the saying in his coverage.

Apparently, Dick Motta, coach of Washington at the time, heard the usage and began repeating the phrase anytime fans or his team would get overconfident. Motta of course became the Mavericks’ first coach in 1980.

He was a quote machine and is represented below.

So here’s our list in no particular order of some of the great quotes that have been connected to the Mavericks in the past 40 years.

“Absolutely one of the highlights of my career. For a journeyman like myself, that’s like the hall of fame, to be forever linked to a franchise in such a manner.”

ABDUL JEELANI, on making the first basket in Mavericks’ history on Oct. 11, 1980.

“Amnesty THAT.”

Kobe Bryant, in a Tweet, after Mark Cuban had suggested that the Los Angeles Lakers use the amnesty clause to save millions on their payroll. Bryant poured in 38 points in a Lakers’ win over the Mavericks in 2013 just before rolling out his Tweet.

“I don’t care what anyone says. Being rich is a good thing.”

Mark Cuban.

“I think I can shoot threes when I’m 60.”

Dirk Nowitzki, who almost did during his looooooong NBA career.

“Mark (Aguirre) is a monster down there. If you’re on D, which one do you want? Me or Mark? I don’t think you want either.”

Rolando Blackman during the 1980s glory days.

“It’s like dying and going to heaven.”

James Donaldson on getting traded by the then-lowly Los Angeles Clippers to the Mavericks for Kurt Nimphius.

“They can’t blame this one on me.”

Jason Kidd after Avery Johnson was fired three months after Kidd arrived in a trade in 2008.

“It was probably the right thing to do at the time. If it happened (later in his career), I’d probably play. He was just trying to protect me.”

Dirk Nowitzki on Don Nelson sitting him for the final three games of the 2003 Western Conference finals against San Antonio.

“Devin Harris is the epitome of a loyal soldier to a franchise. That he navigated his way back to the franchise three times is really amazing. He sacrificed, certainly, some amount of money over a period of years to do it.”

Rick Carlisle.

“The Mavericks have scaled the NBA playoff mountain and have planted their flag.”

Chuck Cooperstein, radio play-by-play voice of the Mavericks, at the buzzer of Game 6 of the 2011 NBA finals.

“When you have bad teams, you have to be creative to win games you’re not supposed to win.”
Don Nelson.

“It’s always good to go against your friends, especially when you come out victorious.”
Michael Finley.

“I’d say he’s a nine. I’d say 10, but then my dog would get jealous.”

Luka Doncic when a reporter asked him on a scale of 1 to 10 what he thought of the writer’s dog.

“A lot of late nights in the gym, a lot of early mornings – especially when your friends are going out, you’re going to the gym. Those are the sacrifices that you have to make if you want to be an NBA player.”
Jason Kidd, 2011.

“Winning is a great deodorant.”
Jason Kidd on multiple occasions. OK, so he stole this one, believed to be originated by John Madden. Kidd used it whenever he felt the Mavericks weren’t playing like they should, but still found a way to win.

“They say Elvis is dead. No, he’s not dead. He just changed colors.”
Dennis Rodman.

“Growing up my idols were Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper. And Scottie Pippen.”
Dirk Nowitzki on two comic-book heroes in Germany and one NBA legend.

“I may not be the most physically tough player. But I think mentally, I’m right up there.”

Dirk Nowitzki.

“The things that Dirk has done for this league and for the Dallas Mavericks, it’s unbelievable. And coach Kidd was a teammate of Dirk, so for Jason Kidd to compare me with Dirk Nowitzki, it feels nice. It’s a nice compliment.”

Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Wherever the Mavericks are today, we owe it to Michael Finley. He was the one guy who stayed when we were a terrible team. He stayed and fought the fight.”
Don Nelson.

“I’m numb. I’m in a state of shock. I’ve gone through some growing pains today . . . Maybe he felt it was time.”
Original Mavericks’ owner Donald Carter in 1987 when coach Dick Motta resigned.

“Best seatmate ever.”
Mark Cuban on the plane ride home from Miami after winning the 2011 title and he had the Larry O’Brien trophy in the seat next to him.

“I’m a lot of things, but none of them are great.”
Don Nelson.

“We choked, just flat-out choked.”
Nick Van Exel on Dec. 7, 2002, when the Mavericks lost a 27-point lead in the fourth quarter, getting outscored 44-15 in the final 12 minutes to lose 105-103 to the Los Angeles Lakers.

“War is the only game in which it doesn’t pay to have the home-court advantage.”

Original Maverick coach Dick Motta.


“Whether or not that was the correct call, it was the right call because it spared everybody five more minutes of basketball agony.”
Rick Carlisle on a foul (the 81st of the game) whistled with 0.2 seconds left on Jae Crowder, which allowed Houston to shoot free throws and avoid overtime in a meaningless preseason game.

“When you’re older and get more experience, the game slows down for you. I know exactly what spot to get to where I can always get my shot off no matter who’s guarding me.”
Dirk Nowitzki.

“I love Maui.”
Don Nelson.

“I spent 50 years in the NBA. Can you imagine doing something you love the most and doing it for your entire life and besides that, getting a pile of money for it? It’s unbelievable. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. And I know it.”
Don Nelson.

“He threw a chair. I witnessed it. We were all disappointed, obviously. Having the season we had, Dirk having the season he had, losing to a team that we obviously felt we were better than. It just showed how disappointed he was, we all were.”
Devin Harris on Dirk Nowitzki throwing a chair into the wall at Golden State’s Oracle after the Mavericks lost the first-round series to the Warriors after winning 67 games in the regular season. The hole in the wall was turned into sort of a shrine, with Nowitzki’s signature, years later.

“When you’ve got 10,000 people trying to do the same thing, why would you want to be No. 10,001?”
Mark Cuban.

“Dirkster, I think we got your attention.”
Don Nelson to Dirk Nowitzki as he exited American Airlines Center in 2007 after winning Game 1 of the first round series as Golden State’s coach.

“I wouldn’t trade him for anybody.”
Rick Carlisle on Luka Doncic during his rookie season.

“I know the strengths and weaknesses of my teammates. I make my passing decisions accordingly.”
Steve Nash.

“My mission is to kill. Whether it’s the Heat, whether it’s the Lakers. Hopefully both. That’s my mission and that’s what I’m here to do.”
Jason Terry. Yes, Terry had already signed with Boston as a free agent in 2012, when he said this, but it was a clear nod to his assassin’s mentality that helped the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA title.

“He plays with a savviness that I never had – I might still not have it. His court vision is something I haven’t seen in a young player in probably forever.”
Dirk Nowitzki on Luka Doncic in Doncic’s rookie season and Dirk’s last.

“Everybody knows what LeBron means to me.”
Luka Doncic.

“I broke down after the first quarter. That’s when it really hit me. It was really hard to play tonight. You got to appreciate every day being on the planet. No words. We’re going to miss him and Gigi. Talking to him after that game a month ago, it was really special.”
Luka Doncic on playing the night Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash.

“If you’re really good, the transition is easy. He’s really good.”

Houston coach Mike D’Antoni on Luka Doncic coming from the European League to the NBA.

“He broke our hearts so many times, but, yeah, I’d play with him again.”
Derek Harper on Roy Tarpley.

Twitter: @ESefko

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