Before the Dallas Mavericks won it all in 2011, a lot of unfair labels were attached to the franchise. Before the Mavericks acquired Tyson Chandler that season, the team had a reputation for being ‘soft’. Face-of-the-franchise Dirk Nowitzki, in particular, had had to deal with the inappropriate label of coming up small in big games.
Crushing LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals that year not only removed those labels from the Mavericks, but also seemed to make the Mavericks the team in Texas. It seemed like the San Antonio Spurs, after getting knocked out in the first round of the playoffs in 2011 by the No. 8 seed Memphis Grizzlies, were fading.
But as we take a long, hard look at the three seasons since then, the two franchises have gone in opposite directions. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker came back with a vengeance, withstanding the test of time and maintaining an elite status. The Mavericks, though? To sum things up quickly, ‘the Curse of Tyson Chandler’ left the Mavericks a defenseless team that has to scratch and claw just to get in the playoffs.
The one thing the Mavericks could hang their heads on in their rivalry with the Spurs is that they had recently won a title, while the Spurs hadn’t won one in a while. Well, the Spurs happened to win their fifth Larry O’Brien Trophy last night. Five NBA titles compared to one? What argument does Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have for the Mavericks owning Texas? Is he going to brag about how his Mavericks ‘almost’ beat the Spurs in the first round?
“That would be silly” is probably the curt response Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich would give to that question. Aside from a couple of upsets in the playoffs, the fact is that the Spurs not only own Texas, but they also own the Mavericks. The Mavericks have a long way to go to catch up to San Antonio, and it’s time for Cuban to just call the Spurs, ‘Big Brother’.