More than 70 media members showed up Tuesday morning at American Airlines Center for the final shootaround the Dallas Mavericks will stage this season.
Normally, there are only about seven or eight in attendance.
So why the overflow?
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The Mavericks are honoring Romo all day today with special tributes to show their appreciate for what the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has meant to them. Part of the tributes include allowing Romo to suit up and go through the team’s shootaround workout, and be a part of the scout team.
Romo also will suit up for tonight’s 7:30 game against the Denver Nuggets and go through pre-game warn—ups. But he will not play in the game against Denver, although he was asked if he could play 10-15 minutes tonight.
“I’m pretty sure I cannot go play 10 or 15 minutes,’’ Romo said. “I’m pretty sure if I did I’ll probably wake up tomorrow feeling a little sore, so we don’t like that at my age.”
Romo, 36, is touched by the honor the Mavericks will bestow upon him.
“When coach (Rick Carlisle) called and (forward) Dirk (Nowitzki) texted, I think it’s kind of a no-brainer to say yes,’’ Romo said. “For me it’s a huge honor just to see that they want to do something just to say thank you for your career and what you did for the city and the way I’ve supported them.
“I don’t feel like I deserve anything like this. I feel like this whole week has been emotional in a sense of the outpouring of support and people who appreciated you and loved you.”
Romo frequently attends Mavericks games and sits in seats on the scorer’s table near the Mavericks’ bench. And some of the Mavericks have gotten to know him very well.
“I just want to say just briefly that we’re honored to have Tony with us,” Carlisle said. “He has stood for all the things that great Dallas athletes stand for -- great competitor, winner, plays hurt, the whole thing.
“He’s been a great supporter of the Mavericks and a good friend to myself, Dirk, (owner) Mark (Cuban) and so many of us. So we wanted to see if he would be willing to do this and we’re very happy that he was enthusiastically accepting, so it’s great to have him here.”
With the number of media members on hand, Romo’s appearance made this resemble the preparation for a playoff game. It all has been a heartfelt moment for Romo, who retired last week after playing quarterback for the past 14 years for the Dallas Cowboys.
“I can’t say enough just to say thank you to coach (Carlisle) and everybody else,” Romo said. “It’s really an honor just to be able to do this, and coach has been great through all this.
“It’ll be great to sit out here and yell at him a little bit about some of the play calls he makes tonight.”
Romo was impressed with what he saw up close and in person from the speed and the athleticism the Mavericks displayed during the shootaround.
“These guys, I feel like they’re all 7 feet tall,” Romo said. “They’re all long and lean.
“I look like a turtle out there next to these guys. It’s a special group of guys who are talented, and the NBA is a special fraternity.”
Carlisle noted that Romo, who was an All-State point guard in high school in Wisconsin, more than held his own this morning.
"He just busted the (rear end)of a few of our young guys out there, so that was fun,” Carlisle said. “But we’re looking forward to a good day and I hope he has a good time.”
Romo said initially he didn’t think he deserve an honor like the one the Mavs are giving him.
“I don’t think no one does,” Romo said. “But at the same time just the honor that the organization and coach and Mark and Dirk to just do something like that, it just makes you feel special.
“Standing here today I feel a little embarrassed, to be honest, just in a sense that you’re lucky enough to be in a position that someone cares enough to do something to honor you. So I’m a lucky guy.”