When the Dallas Mavericks won their only NBA title in Miami in 2011, owner Mark Cuban wouldn’t allow the postgame trophy presentation to be held until Don Carter was able to get on the stage and play a large role in the proceedings.
Carter was the owner who brought the expansion Mavericks to Dallas on May 1, 1980. For that, Cuban said he owed him a great deal of gratitude.
“He is Mr. Mavericks, he is the hat,” Cuban said before Friday’s game against the Utah Jazz. “There are no Mavericks without Mr. C and Mrs. [Linda] C. There’s nobody more important to this organization, and I would put him ahead of Dirk [Nowitzki]. Without him we are not here.”
The Mavericks held their first Hardwood Classic Night on Friday by wearing the uniforms they wore from 1980 to 1992. Plus, every fan received a stadium cup with Carter’s picture on it to celebrate the creation of the franchise.
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Carter owned the Mavericks from 1980 until he sold it to Ross Perot Jr. in 1996 for $125 million.
Less than a year ago coach Rick Carlisle moved into a downtown Dallas building that Carter owns and has gotten to know the team’s original owner over the years.
“He knows a lot about downtown real estate,” Carlisle said. “He’s a Dallas icon because not only has he been extremely successful, but he’s a great philanthropist and a great, kind man, and he’s extremely competitive.”
Are there any similarities between Carter and Cuban, who purchased the Mavericks from Perot on Jan. 4, 2000, for $285 million?
“Don is just a different kind of person,” Carlisle said. “They both have a lot of the same great qualities and amazing drive, not only to succeed, but to set the bar high for not only themselves but for people around them.
“[They both have] a great healthy competitiveness and the philanthropic thread is extremely important to both of them. There are a lot of similarities in those kinds of ways, but in terms of the personality type and things like that, they’re very different.”
As far as that trophy presentation goes, Cuban was not going to let it go forward without Carter being front and center.
“That was the only thing I planned,” Cuban said. “I’m so superstitious, that’s the only thing I told [then Mavs president] Terdema [Ussery] and the NBA was that if we win I want Mr. C accepting the trophy.
“I still remember the NBA people yelling at me, ‘We’ve got to go now for TV, we’ve got to go now.’ I said I’m not going up there until Mr. C gets up there.”
Carter, who was given a standing ovation during Friday’s game, eventually made it to the stage during that memorable night in Miami.
“It was one of the best feelings ever,” Cuban said. “It’s great that we won. It’s better that everybody knew it was him.”
Hall of Fame
Former Mavericks guard Rolando Blackman and ex-Mavericks coach Quinn Buckner were inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday in Kansas City, Mo.
Buckner coached the Mavericks to a 13-69 record during the 1993-94 campaign, while Blackman played for the Mavericks from 1981 to 1992 and was a four-time All-Star.
“In the scope of the history of the game he will go down as one of the really underrated players in NBA history,” Carlisle said of Blackman. “People don’t realize how he carried their team during the years when they really were a contending team.”