DALLAS -- With his chest painted blue and carrying a sign that read "It was Worth The Wait" on one side while the other side read "LeBron -- you're sick. Take some Dirk," Sam Gurksnis is not old enough to remember a time when the Dallas Mavericks were one of the worst teams in the NBA, and nearly irrelevant in their hometown.
As far as he's concerned, the Mavs have always been a good NBA team. They just had never won a title.
And as far as he's concerned, Gurksnis has never known a time when the Cowboys were very good.
At 16, he's part of an expanding generation of North Texans that has fallen in love with a winner while waiting for the Cowboys to deliver.
"This generation is a Mavs generation," said Trevor LeSueur of Prosper, who along with Gurksnis was among a few thousand people at Love Field on Monday afternoon just for a glimpse of the new NBA champions.
"I will always love the Cowboys, but this is the first title in this town since [the Dallas Stars] in 1999. It's great."
Starved for a chance to celebrate a title, the masses dressed in blue T-shirts tried to do everything possible to see the Mavs players as they deplaned from their chartered flight from Miami. It was a way to be a part of a party that began Sunday night in Miami, and will likely continue through the championship parade on Thursday.
Team spokeswoman Sarah Melton confirmed the date Monday, but said the precise route and other details would be announced Tuesday. Mavs owner Mark Cuban has said that he will pick up the tab for the city's parade costs.
People packed two- and three-deep at the chain-link fence outside the tarmac to scream, yell, celebrate, photograph and film the players.
Players such as Dirk Nowitzki walked along the fence, his Finals MVP trophy on his right shoulder and his injured left finger still wrapped. Perhaps the area's most reluctant superstar flashed a wide smile to the fans and held his right index finger up, the universal "No. 1" sign.
Guard DeShawn Stevenson walked to the fence carrying the Larry O'Brien Trophy as fans chanted, "Thank you, Mavs! Thank you, Mavs!"
Stevenson eventually handed the trophy to Shawn Marion, who took his turn to hold it high while other fans chanted, "Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!"
Backup center Ian Mahinmi used his personal camera to film the crowd as it photographed and filmed him.
Players eventually got into their cars to drive away but had to slowly move through the gantlet of fans adorning both sides of the exit. They were hoping to get a glimpse of, or a high-five with, the new NBA champions.
All of those people, young and old alike, are now part of the Mavs generation that now includes an NBA title.