Monday, April 26, 2010

Thank You, Mavericks Fans.

I had almost forgotten why I hated you in the first place.


I've always been a Spurs fan. That's just the way things went. I didn't really hate the Mavs, they were just kind of this team to the north that sort of competed with the Spurs in the years that the Rockets were worse than the Comets. The Mavericks rise to prominence coincided with my leaving for college, which meant meeting many more Mavs fans than ever before. This was a revelation to me, that people gave a fuck about this team.

Then the rivalry started to heat up. After the Spurs won their third Championship in 2005, the Mavericks and Spurs squared off in the 2006 playoffs for what could be considered one of the greatest playoff series ever. The Mavericks ended up winning. All I could really say was, "good game." The Spurs played their best, but the Mavericks played better. That's all there was to it. Nothing more to say.

Then the Mavericks lost to the Heat in the Finals. And boy, did the tears flow. Tears about how the refs screwed them out of a championship. This had actually been a constant theme of Maverick fandom in previous years, but I never paid it much mind. You see, for me, fans who complain about the officiating of a game or series tells me that either a) they lack a basic understanding of the sport, or b) that they know in their hearts that their team wasn't good enough to win on their own. I categorized Mavericks fans into one of the two. Even though they had a pretty good argument about how refs treated them against the Heat, the fact remained that referees don't make the ball go in the hole, and referees for damn sure don't lose four straight games to you. Essentially, I never hated the team, but their insufferable fan base forced me to root against them.

Fast forward a couple of years. Now I live in Dallas. I love living in a town with an NBA team. I enjoy going to games, being able to watch it on TV eighty-two times a year, and talking about basketball with fellow fans. After the first year, I have to admit, the Mavs made me not despise them. This year, with the help of some shrewd off-season and in-season moves to bring a host of players I like to the team, I could even be counted among their fan base. I penned a "you don't totally suck" concession in these pages a few months back, and even bought a Roddy Buckets shirt.
Looking good there, big cat.

But in the past week, I remember why you're all a bunch of insufferable pricks. I've watched the past couple of games with Mavericks fans. With the exception of one or two knowledgeable and entertaining folks, they've been pretty awful. I can handle homers. I can handle assholes. I can handle idiots. All three qualities in several different people just put me over the top. Maybe I'm in a defensive mindset now that I'm in enemy territory. But then again....

Yeah. Fuck these pieces of shit. Fuck every last one of them.

After careful contemplation, I've decided that this is the Mark Cuban effect. As much of a shitbag as he can be, I respected that he would speak his mind, stand up for his players and support his team above all else. Unfortunately, it's grown into a vicious cycle. If he bashes the refs, fans take his word as gospel like he has some sort of insider information. He doesn't. He's gone to great lengths to seem like an average fan, and at the end of the day, that's all he really is. Just an asshole with better seats.

It's a brilliant marketing ploy, if you think about it. He bashes the refs, so the fans do too. They assume that their team is the best, and just get screwed out of the playoffs every year. It has nothing to do with the fact that their Aryan superstar, for all of his regular season merits, is a glass-jawed pussy that disappears in the playoffs. When fans miss the forest for the trees like that, there could never be any backlash against the front office that kept Dirk in lieu of the perennially likable Steve Nash.

The real tragedy for Mavericks fans is that they will never expand outside of this realm of ignorance. Short of Mark Cuban standing up and saying "this team beat us fair and square," there will never be any sort of rational thought. That's fine, as rational thought and sports fandom hardly ever go hand-in-hand. It would also be uncharacteristic of the sort of megalomaniac that prints up shirts with his face on them, as if he were one of the players. But to keep up the farce, Cuban must continue to berate the league and the officiating. This will never make the calls go in favor of the Mavericks. Put it this way: say you constantly berate the waitstaff of restaurants on their poor service. Do you have reason to be that shocked when somebody spits in your food? No you don't. Thems the breaks.

So now the series stands at 3-1 Spurs over Mavericks. I sure hope the juggernaut pulls this one off. But even if some cataclysm happens, and the Spurs lose three in a row, I won't blame the refs.

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