ORLANDO – Jameer Nelson was caught in a dilemma Friday night.
During the first timeout of the preseason finale between the Dallas Mavericks and Orlando Magic, a video tribute for Nelson was being played on the overhead jumbotron. It was the Magic’s way of thanking Nelson for being a quality player and person while playing for their organization over the last 10 years.
Many of the Mavs’ players, assistant coaches and other staff members watched it form the sideline. But coach Rick Carlisle was busy pointing out some intricacies of the game to Nelson during that time, so Nelson missed it.
But he has a copy of the video.
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"I’m going to watch it,’’ Nelson said. "I’ll watch it with my family.’’
After the video ended and Nelson walked on the court to resume play, he wasn’t sure what to do.
"I don’t know if they expected me to stand up and wave.,’’ said Nelson, who finished with four points and seven assists in the Mavs’ 117-92 victory. "But it’s cool because my teammates were clapping – coaches and everything. So it means a lot.
"It’s special. It’s a special place here.’’
Carlisle definitely knows how special he return to Orlando was for Nelson. And he knows the Magic fans will heap more praise on Nelson when the Mavs make their lone regular season appearance in Orlando on Jan. 31.
"In a way I wish (Friday’s game) was a regular season game, then it would really be even more special,’’ Carlisle said. "But in a way it’s probably good that there’s a little now and a little later, because these things can be emotional for guys.
"But look, he was a beloved guy here for a decade and we’re happy to have him on our team now.’’
Nelson said he thought he would have to block things out to keep from getting emotional. But that wasn’t the case.
"I guess that’s being tough and mentally focused on the task at hand and not really focusing on the tribute,’’ Nelson said. "I just had to focus on the game.’’
But Nelson did have one problem: Finding the visitor’s locker room.
"I had to wait for (teammate) Jae Crowder to go to the locker room so I know which way to go,’’ Nelson said while laughing. "So it was weird, but I just followed him.
"I’m sure I’ll mess it up again the next time we come here.’’