Monday, June 13, 2011

Dallas Is Title Town Again

The NBA season is over — and, for a football fan like me, that is good news. It means we are that much closer to autumn.

I don't know if the NFL will resolve its issues and proceed as planned with the 2011 season. I am primarily a college football fan, anyway, so I know that my Saturdays, at least, will be unaffected.

As long as I can remember, football has been king in Texas. I didn't grow up here, but my parents did, and my father has always been a football fan. As nearly as I can tell, football hasn't been replaced at the top of the list of the public's affections — but you could probably get some arguments on that around here today.

Last night, the Dallas Mavericks won their first–ever NBA title.

There are all sorts of ironies in that, I guess.

When I was growing up, there was only one professional sports team in Dallas — the Dallas Cowboys. And they were known, for many years, for not being able to "win the big one." They finally did win it all, of course, but not until after other teams arrived and began carving out their niches in the local sports market.

The Mavericks came into existence in 1980. Of the major sports franchises in the Dallas–Fort Worth Metroplex, its tenure here has been the shortest — except for the Dallas Stars, a hockey team that moved here from Minnesota.

And yet, until last night, that hockey team had brought the only championship to Dallas in the last 15 years.

The Cowboys have enjoyed a lot of success when they have played in Super Bowls — but they haven't played in one since 1996.

It has been pretty dry around here ever since — except for the Stars' Stanley Cup a dozen years ago.

There were a couple of false alarms. The Mavericks lost the NBA title to Miami five years ago, and last fall the Texas Rangers went to their first–ever World Series — but lost to San Francisco.

But Dallas sports fans have been patient — even when the Super Bowl came to town and the Cowboys didn't come close to playing in it — and their patience has been rewarded with an NBA title.

Now, to a football fan, that's almost like a consolation prize — but there are many basketball fans in this area and they gathered all over the city — but especially, I suppose, the American Airline Center, where the Mavericks play their home games — to watch the game and then celebrate the outcome.

Team owner Mark Cuban says he will pay for the traditional championship celebration parade. The details for that haven't been announced yet, but I imagine I will watch the parade from the same spot I watched the NBA Finals.

And count the days that are left until football season.

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