Tear Down the Franchise.
I hate it. I do. I hate it.
I hated it well before my hometown Mavs won the championship last year. I’ve hated it as long as I can remember.
It happens in every sport with every team in every year. It happens in both college and pro. Heck, it might even happen in high school, for all I know. The confetti is still falling, the fans are still cheering, the players haven’t even left the court. Press row is putting the final touches on their articles and it happens. Every. Single. Time.
It must be excruciating for TV broadcasters and basketball pundits to wait for the final seconds of the final game to tick away so that they can get started. It must pain them to no end. But as soon as that buzzer sounds and as soon as the new champions are being crowned, these broadcasters and pundits start salivating profusely. And once the camera swings in their direction, they attack with relish, as if they are paid to keep us looking forward (present moment be damned!), and they do this, on cue, with one simple post-game query –
Can [most recent champion, still cutting down the nets and guzzling champagne] repeat?
Never fails. Every. Single. Time.
Can the Mavs/Giants/Cardinals/Bruins repeat?
I couldn’t care less.
As a Mavs fan, I don’t walk around with the weight of a Yankees fan or a Lakers fan or a Cowboys fan. I don’t see a singular championship as just another piece of hardware for the mantel. Words like “repeat” and “dynasty” have never been in my vocabulary. We have always been more identified with words like “choke” and “soft.”
So I don’t have to wait with bated breath to hear what Chuck, Kenny and Wilbon think about my team’s chances next year. I don’t have to waste a second on the thought that we just happened to “strike at the perfect time.” I don’t need to consider the fact that “the chemistry we had” would be hard to duplicate. I don’t give a damn if we’re considered “too old.”
I got my title. I’ve been to the mountaintop. Now, you have my permission, tear down the franchise.
Start with the arena, bulldoze it. Let Mark buy some other team. Let Donnie GM it. Let Rick coach it.
The players? Tell Dirk to go back to Germany, play out the rest of his years in his homeland. Kidd? Sign one-year deals until the age of 50, moving around the league and mentoring young point guards. Terry? Keep coaching your daughter’s rec league team and invest in jet airplanes.
I could give a fig. We won the title. Let Oklahoma City and Los Angeles and Miami worry about 2012 and beyond. After all, don’t the Heat need to start winning now to accumulate the 27 titles that Lebron promised? Go for it, ‘Bron! If you continue to defer at crunch time and pass the ball to Mike Miller with the game on the line, you’re sure to find your way!
Me? I’m taking my ball and going home. I’m not worried about any next year. I was happy with the one I got. I was happy to see the Mavs prove me wrong after watching Brandon Roy’s explosion in the fourth quarter of Game Four in Portland. Before the buzzer sounded, I walked out of my apartment in Brooklyn in disgust, muttering to myself, “I’m not watching my team go through this sh*t again.”
I loved seeing us make the Lakers so, so, so very angry that they took to cheap shots in Game Four of our sweep. I loved seeing us put the young guns of OKC in their place. I loved taking down the three amigos in their hometown of South Beach.
I loved it.
I loved that surreal moment when I finally knew. There must have been three minutes or so left in Game Six in the championship and I, up to that point, had not let myself consider the possibility that we might end up as champs. I watched as Dirk shook off Chris Bosh and hit a baseline shot in his face. I finally knew. I sat down. I couldn’t get a breath. I looked for a paper bag. I couldn’t believe it.
And then the buzzer sounded. There you have it. 2011 NBA Champs.
That’s all I needed. Now, get on with it—tear down the franchise, already.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these dozen stories. I've certainly enjoyed sharing them. Forgive the shameless plug, but if you liked what you read, I hope you follow the progress of my one man show The Play About The Coach. The Play About The Coach tells the story of college basketball coach in the final three minutes of a March Madness college basketball game. The entire play takes place court side and has been designed with the basketball fan in mind. This show has toured the country, played to great reviews, won awards and brought a whole new set of audience members into the theater. We will be making our New York premiere in early 2013.
For any info regarding the show, you can email me through my website PadenFallis.com. Thanks for your time!
Get a repeat!