Shane Larkin was less than a year old when his father, Hall of Fame baseball player Barry Larkin, had to deal with an owner who made racial comments.
Major League Baseball fined Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott $250,000 and suspended her from baseball for one year in 1993 after she made racial slurs against African-Americans, Asians and Jews. At the time, Barry Larkin was a star shortstop for the Reds, and Schott’s comments caused a national stir.
“I was young and I didn’t really know about what was going on,” Larkin, the Mavericks’ rookie point guard said. “But my dad was a professional, he handled himself in a professional way.
“He was the captain of the team. So I’m sure he just tried to keep his team focused on what the main goal was — to win the World Series — and they just went out there and played hard for their families.”
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Schott was banned from MLB from 1996-98 after she said of Adolf Hitler that “everybody knows he was good at the beginning, but he just went too far.” In 1999, Schott sold her ownership stake in the Reds.
TMZ late last week released a taped conversation of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling purportedly making racist comments about African-Americans to his mistress. Mavs star forward Dirk Nowitzki said Sunday that he is disappointed in Sterling’s comments.
“I’m not sure if a guy like that is allowed to own a team in 2014,” Nowitzki said. “But there’s a lot of research, obviously the league’s got to do, [to see] if the tape’s real and all the stuff.
“So there’s not really much more I can say about that. But that’s disappointing hearing that stuff.”
It’s a story familiar to Shane Larkin.
“It’s just a really tough situation knowing that you’re out there playing for [Sterling’s] team, basically, and he feels that type of way about a lot of the people who are just like you,” Shane Larkin said.
“You can’t really think that you’re playing for that person because even though that person is the owner of the team you’re playing for your family, to feed your family, clothe your family, take care of your family for now and down the road.”
Just because they have a 2-1 lead over the San Antonio Spurs in this best-of-seven opening playoff series, the Mavs are not doing any extra celebratory dances.
They know without Vince Carter’s dramatic 3-pointer at the buzzer in Game 3 on Saturday — which gave Dallas a 109-108 victory — they would be the ones in a 1-2 hole instead of the Spurs.
“We definitely don’t want to get comfortable now,” Nowitzki said. “Yeah, it was a big win, but if we lose [Monday], then we’re tied going to their place with two home games for them.
“So we want to keep the same mentality we had the whole time and play hard.”
That’s the message coach Rick Carlisle shared with his team during Sunday’s practice.
“More than anything we’ve got to make sure that we stay the course in terms of our attitude and disposition,” Carlisle said. “And we can’t have any kind of letdown or hangover because we hit a big shot and got a big win.”
Pop: Get nasty
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was displeased with his team’s defense in Saturday’s game, and wants them to display some “more nastiness” the remainder of this series.
“They’re playing like it’s really important to them,” Popovich said of the Mavs. “I think we need a few more people doing that.
“I don’t think the guys are disrespecting Dallas because we beat them in the season four times. They know it’s the playoffs, but at the same time I’d like to see a little bit more nastiness, a little bit more physicality, a little bit more fire from people.”