The Texas Wesleyan table tennis team was a guest of Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle at the team’s Wednesday night game against the Phoenix Suns.
Carlisle was more than delighted to have the accomplished team at American Airlines Center so he could introduce them to his players.
“I don’t know if I’d call it me inviting them,” Carlisle said. “I know them and they contacted me interested in coming to a game, so we set this up.
“I have a relationship with them because of a charity event I put on a few years ago involving table tennis. They’re one of only two table tennis programs in the country that give any kind of scholarships, so every year they’re one of the two or three teams going to the national championship.”
Texas Wesleyan leaves Thursday for Eau Claire, Wis., where they’ll be playing in the college table tennis national championships over the weekend.
“They’ve got a great program, and they’re big Mavericks fans, so we’re glad to have them here,” Carlisle said. “They actually performed at halftime one year — did an exhibition.
“I follow it a little bit. Beyond that, I admire people that are very good at the sport because it’s a very difficult sport — it’s very fast. They’re really good people, so we’re glad to have them here.”
Frequently, pro athletes from different sports cross paths, and suddenly become fast friends.
Such is the case with Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler and WWE wrestler Mark Henry.
Chandler and Henry have been good friends for years.
“That’s my guy, and Mark is a great guy,” Chandler said. “I met with him when I was in New York and we stayed in touch.
“Whenever we’re in the same city or anything like that we try to reach out to each other. He’s just a good dude, a personable dude and one of those dudes that’s very consistent.”
Henry, a Silsbee product who has been a professional wrestler for 18 years and now lives in Austin, said he had a connection with Chandler right away.
“We both worked on stuff dealing with trying to raise funds and get blankets and stuff for Hurricane Sandy,” said Henry, who performed Tuesday night at American Airlines Center with WWE Smackdown. “I go to church at Hillsong and I see him at Hillsong Church and then we went out to dinner that night.
“We realized how close personalities we are and have just been cool ever since. When he came back to Dallas [last summer] I was so happy ... because it’s easier for me to get up here and see him play, and I still haven’t been able to get up here to catch a game.”
Quest for 50
Although the Mavs are virtually locked into the Western Conference’s No. 7 playoff seed, they’re still within reach of winning 50 games.
But do they deny players ample rest going into the playoffs for the sole purpose of trying to reach 50 wins?
“Fifty wins is always, I think, an elite target to get as a franchise,” Carlisle said. “I think that’s a goal that we should have.
“And as to the amount of rest we’ll have of guys, we may rest guys a little bit. But we’re looking to play better.”
The Mavs won 50-plus games for 11 straight seasons — a streak that ended when they went 36-30 during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 campaign.
“It’s nice, but it’s not the be-all, end-all,” owner Mark Cuban said. “Once that streak was broken it didn’t matter.”
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760