Since they were purchased by Mark Cuban back in 2000, for a vast majority of the past decade and a half, the Dallas Mavericks have been a relevant, playoff-bound NBA franchise. They broke through in 2006 with an NBA Finals appearance, and broke through all the way in 2011 with an NBA championship. They've been, by and large, a model NBA franchise.
So with Cuban always being a bit of a sideshow, a rich courtside clown in a painted-on T-shirt, the lingering question has always been "When the winning is no longer there, what will the Cuban circus look like?" On Tuesday night, we got a little taste of what Cuban's Mavericks will do to stay in the spotlight as they concocted an attention grab that was half-baked in the act of honoring retiring Dallas Cowboy quarterback (and soon to be lead NFL color analyst on CBS) Tony Romo.
In the box score, it was merely another Mavericks loss, 109-91 to the Denver Nuggets. However, in American Airlines Center, it was a celebration of Romo and all of the hardware — wait, never mind — that he won for the city of Dallas. And we are not just talking about a tip of the cap at halftime with a brief highlight video. No, no, no...Romo became a full-on "Maverick for a Day," complete with warmup suit, custom jersey and participation in shootaround, pregame warmups, introductions and a seat on the bench.
I'm not sure for whom the whole thing was more embarrassing, the Mavericks or Romo, but no one inside the building seemed to care. They cheered long and loud for Romo, even calling out for him to enter the game during the waning moments, forgetting that a player needs to actually be, y'know, UNDER CONTRACT in order to participate in a game. Bless your hearts, Dallas.
So let's relive, via Twitter, how the whole Romo day went down....
That's right — Fan Appreciation Night, where you get to watch Tony Romo and the Mavs take on the Nuggets! My favorite part of that tweet is there is no mention of Romo's name in the actual tweet, which makes it look even more like he is an actual member of the team.
Baggy shorts and tank top — if you're trying to accentuate the most fatherly parts of a dad bod, this is the attire of choice!
Before the game, Romo addressed the Dallas crowd, and to his credit admitted that he was "a little embarrassed" by all the fuss, making him easily the most self-aware person in the arena last night...
Then, the Mavericks became the first NBA team this season to introduce SIX starters...
Alas, after all the hullabaloo, it was still the same old Mavericks, losing to the Nuggets in convincing fashion...
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So Romo's Mavericks career ended the same way as his Cowboys career, with him on the bench watching his team lose. I have checked, and there is no truth to the rumor that the Mavericks took Romo to McDonald's after the game for a Happy Meal, or that they officially waived Romo and gave Dak Prescott a four-year contract.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.