Dallas Mavericks

Tony Romo will be in Mavericks uniform Tuesday against Denver in home finale

It happened extremely fast, but Tony Romo is apparently coming out of retirement.

To play basketball.

In the NBA.

For the Dallas Mavericks.


Romo will be on the bench — in uniform — when the Mavs play their regular-season home finale at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at American Airlines Center against the Denver Nuggets.

The game will be the Mavs’ way of honoring Romo, who spent his entire 14-year career with the Dallas Cowboys before announcing his departure from the NFL on Tuesday.

A source said Romo is not expected to play, but the Mavs have not indicated whether he will or will not.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said via text: “Along with Mark Cuban and the Mavs organization, I very much look forward to honoring one of Dallas’ all-time best athletes and people with a very special experience. I can’t get into specific details at this time, but encourage fans to be in their seats when warmups begin.”

Owner Mark Cuban was coy before Friday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs when he said he will sign “a pass-first point guard” before this season ended. The Mavs have one roster spot available, he said, and wanted to get a look at “a pass-first point guard” before the season was over.

And that job is going to Romo.

“Yes, I’ve played with (Romo) in the past,” Cuban said. “He is good.

“He was all-state in Wisconsin with Caron Butler (who played in Racine, Wis.).”

Indeed, during his senior season at Burlington (Wis.) High School, Romo averaged 24.5 points a game, was named first-team all-state and poured in 39 points in his final game. Many thought Romo would pursue a college career in basketball, but instead he decided to play football for Eastern Illinois.

Since the Mavs are already out of playoff contention with a woeful 32-47 record, sending Romo into a game would not affect their standings. If nothing else, the addition of Romo will bring some national exposure to the Mavs, who are experiencing their worst season since they finished the 1997-98 campaign with a 20-62 record.

“And I don’t care what the reaction is,” Cuban said. “Everyone in the organization has been very positive.”

Romo frequently attends Mavs games and sits in seats along the scorer’s table near the team’s bench. But other than pickup games, the 6-2, 230-pounder hasn’t played basketball competitively since his high school days.

Romo threw for Cowboys career records of 34,183 yards and 248 touchdowns in his career. After his one game with the Mavs, he’ll go back to his new job — as a color commentator for CBS on NFL games.

The Mavs started this season 4-17, then caught fire and earned their way into the playoff conversation. But now that they’ll miss the playoffs for just the second time in the past 17 seasons, they figure there’s absolutely nothing wrong with allowing Romo to suit up in their last home game against Denver.

“Tony is a Dallas legend,’’ Cuban said. “We wanted to honor him. It was easy.”

Dwain Price: 817-390-7760, @dwainprice

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