All three of them are in the 30-something club: guard-forward Carter, a.k.a. “Vinsanity,” at age 36 and 35-year-old small forward Marion, a.k.a. “The Matrix,” and power forward Nowitzki.
All three of them played alongside Los Angeles Lakers point guard Steve Nash, the current oldest NBA player (if only my desire for the Mavs to get Terrell Owens came through, then T.O. would own that spot). The former Mav took Nowitzki under his wing. From Dallas, Nash ended up playing for the Phoenix Suns with Marion followed by Carter.
[Sideline note: Both Nash and Nowitzki have two NBA MVP titles. Nash was named regular season MVP in 2004-05 and 2005-06, during his first two post-Mavericks seasons. Then Nowitzki became MVP for the 2006-07 regular season – the season following their first Finals appearance and their winningest regular season – and for the 2011 NBA Finals series.]
Two out of three of them led the Mavs to World Championship status. Now Carter has the mindset of playing in the championship.
This season, the Mavs must hustle and do work on the court to make that dream a reality. If this goal to go all the way is seriously important, then taking all the necessary steps toward reaching it is imperative.
Actually, these three players’ careers depend on it because the other common ground that they share is that all of them have one more year left on their contracts. More than ever, their time has come to show the league what we MFFLs (Mavs Fans for Life) already believe: they can be champions again.
Fortunately for this Tipoff Trio, they have a band of other teammates who can contribute to their championship pursuit. On Media Day, Marion was optimistic about the team having “more veteran leadership.” One of the veteran leaders he refers to may be former Detroit Pistons point guard José Calderón.
More veterans on their court can “make it happen,” as the most recent NBA Finals slogan goes. Since some players started practicing together before Training Camp, that initiative may be on their side.
Plus, if the Mavs advance to the championship once again, these three have a chance to extend their contract.
[One more sideline note: My previous Mav “Tipoff Trios” appear on the wallpaper of one of my old cell phones and one of my 2011 NBA Finals Championship T-shirts. The former is from 2004-05: Nowitzki, then-shooting guard Michael Finley – whose following team, the San Antonio Spurs, lost to the Mavs in the 2006 Western Conference Semifinals, then won the 2007 NBA Finals – and forward Jerry Stackhouse. The latter includes Nowitzki and guards Jason Terry and Jason Kidd. Now those last three named: Stackhouse, Terry, a.k.a. “JET,” and Kidd are part of the same franchise. The freshly retired player “JKidd” is now head coach of the Brooklyn Nets, with JET and Stackhouse on his team roster.]