It’s been a long, entertaining road since Mark Cuban bought majority stake of the Dallas Mavericks from Ross H. Perot in 2000. Whether he’s been fighting off lawsuits from Perot Jr., annoying David Stern or forcing to the commish to hand over the Larry O’Brien Trophy, the gajillionaire entrepreneur has kept things interesting.
However, now it seems that the window has closed on Dirk Nowitzki and the franchise’s current championship window, as Nowitzki turned 35 in June and the Mavs missed the postseason for the first time in the Cuban era last season.
“Once you’ve won it all and had that feeling,” Nowitzki said as the Mavs sat on the outside looking in at the playoff picture back in February, via ESPN. “You don’t want to play basically for the eighth seed two straight years.”
As the team positions itself for another hopeful championship window, let’s take a look back at the best years of the Cuban era.
It all has to start with the NBA championship over the Miami Heat in 2011, followed by the heartbreaking near-miss in the 2006 finals, obviously. From there you look at the 2001 postseason, as Dallas advanced to the Western Conference semis after having missed the postseason each of the previous 10 years.
Then you have those ill-fated yet impressive runs to the Western Conference finals and semis in the mid-2000s that saw them tango with Tim Duncan‘s San Antonio Spurs and Steve Nash‘s Phoenix Suns. Unfortunately, there were also five first-round exits that include the low point as a No. 1 seed against the Golden State Warriors in 2007.