At the end of the first quarter Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks fans received a treat when a 90-second video tribute honoring Shawn Marion was shown on the Jumbotron.
Now in his first season with the Cavs after playing the previous five for the Mavs, Marion smiled and waved to the crowd, who gave him a thunderous standing ovation.
Earlier, coach Rick Carlisle spoke of Marion in glowing terms and said he was one of the glue guys who helped the Mavs capture the 2011 NBA title.
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever seen in terms of defensive versatility,” Carlisle said. “We used to put him on guys like [point guard Ricky] Rubio and [point guard] Tony Parker, and there were other times he would be guarding guys like [power forward] Blake Griffin and [center] DeAndre Jordan and every size in between [small forward] LeBron James and [shooting guard] Dwyane Wade and all those great players that had the skill set and speed and dynamic athleticism.
“He’s very much underrated in the scope of the history of the game. That’s just how good of an all-around player he is.”
Multiple injuries have robbed Marion of the phenomenal player he used to be. And he said that played a major role in him announcing on Jan. 15 that he will retire after this season following 16 workmanlike years on the job.
“I’ve had a wonderful career,” said Marion, who has missed the last two weeks with a strained left hip. “It’s not quite just over yet, but I think it’s time.
“I can’t play ball forever. Sooner or later it’s got to come to an end, and I felt like my body is telling me to just to go ahead and shut it down.”
A 6-foot-7 small forward with freakish athletic skills, Marion is well-loved in North Texas and is building a mansion in the Dallas area.
“I was able to reach that ultimate goal with a great group of guys, and it speaks for itself,” Marion said of the 2011 championship. “I think the city and everybody knows and felt that vibe and felt what it felt like for us.
“And they were with us for the whole ride, and it was awesome.”
Marion, who turns 37 on May 7, is the only player in NBA history with at least 15,000 points, 10,000 rebounds, 1,000 blocks and 500 3-pointers He is as versatile as they come, and can effectively guard four positions on the court.
“He’s one of the all-time great Mavericks, there’s no question about it,” Carlisle said. “His contributions over the five years were gigantic, to a championship to a consistent level of success.”
Motta tricked Carlisle
Carlisle was nearing the end of his pregame news conference when the question came up about coaching against former Mavs coach Dick Motta.
Carlisle talked about a trick play Motta used — featuring Brad Davis — against his team. And in the locker room afterward, Carlisle had to deal with the consequences.
“It was a Motta trademark play,” Carlisle said. “And after the game Red Auerbach came in, walked over to where I was sitting in the locker room — very slow with a cigar — he flipped a couple of ashes down to my feet and said, ‘He gotcha, didn’t he?’”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760