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The Forgotten Mavericks

By Rami Michail
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By Aaron Clements

Editor’s Note: Aaron Clements (@IAmClements) is an 18-year-old college student at Harding University majoring in Broadcast Journalism. Aaron is the founder and one of three contributors for MavsNetwork, a Twitter account covering the Mavericks. He is also a staff writer for MavsFansForLife.com.

Often, when thinking of former Dallas Mavericks, there are several names that come to mind. Many recall players such as Derek Harper, Rolando Blackman, Brad Davis, Shawn Bradley, and Michael Finley. With the arrival of Dirk, Nash, and Cuban in Dallas, a new era began for Maverick basketball, causing many to forget some of the lesser-known stars of teams past.

Some of these stars are simply slightly lesser-known than the aforementioned players, while others might be a bit more obscure due to fact that they played decades ago. While you may know all of these players or none of them, this article is a tribute to some of the famous (and infamous) Mavericks of the past.

Mark Aguirre (1981-1989)

Mark Aguirre may very well be the greatest small forward to ever play in Dallas. Despite this, he is often looked over in Mavericks lore because he found his ultimate success in a Detroit Pistons jersey, winning two championships with the “Bad Boys” (1989 & 1990). In terms of scoring, Aguirre was nearly unstoppable. In his rookie season in Dallas, the number-one overall pick averaged a whopping 18.7 PPG and posted averages of 24.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG, and 3.7 APG during his tenure in Dallas.

Aguirre was a 3-time all-star selection (1984, 1987, 1988) and ranks 3rd among Dallas players with the most all-star nominations, sitting behind only Rolando Blackman (4) and Dirk (12). Aguirre also proved to be a vital part of a team who took Magic’s Lakers to a 7-game series in the 1987-88 Western Conference Finals, the franchise’s first appearance in the penultimate round of playoffs.

Although Aguirre thrived on the court, his relationships with his teammates and coaches were full of constant conflicts. During the 1988-89 season, Aguirre was traded to the Detroit Pistons for Adrian Dantley, one of the league’s top scorers. Aguirre went on to take on a more of a second or third option role in Detroit, and his willingness to cooperate paid off, winning two titles.

As of 2014, former Maverick Mark Aguirre is listed as one of the franchise’s most prolific players in numerous categories:

  • 3rd in total points
  • 3rd in total field goals
  • 3rd in total made free throws
  • 6th in total rebounds

Aguirre also scored 2330 points in 1983-84, a franchise record for points scored in a single season and a record that has yet to be broken even by Dirk. Dirk and Aguirre also each hold 5 of the 10 best single-season scoring performances in Mavericks history, and Aguirre holds the highest single-season scoring average in Mavericks history (29.5).

Kiki Vandeweghe (Never)

Nobody wanted to be the first draft pick for the new expansion team. At least Kiki Vandeweghe sure didn’t. Unlike other players featured on this list, Kiki Vandeweghe never wore a Mavericks uniform. In fact, Vandeweghe didn’t make this list because he was a beloved player. In fact, just the opposite.

In 1980, the Dallas Mavericks entered the realm of professional basketball as the league’s newest expansion team. In their inaugural draft, the Mavericks selected UCLA star Kiki Vandeweghe with the 11th overall pick. Whether it was because he didn’t want to be apart of a new, inexperienced team or for other reasons, Vandeweghe refused to play for Dallas. As a new organization, the Mavericks were forced to trade Vandeweghe, and he was immediately sent to Denver.

As expected, Dallas fans did not take kindly to Vandeweghe abandoning their newly-beloved team, and Vandeweghe found himself subjected to boos whenever the Nuggets visited Reunion Arena, the freshly-built home of the Mavs. Not only did he receive derision in his introductions at Maverick home games, Vandeweghe was booed every time he touched the ball.

Vandeweghe thrived during his tenure in Denver, making the all-star team twice and finishing 2nd and 3rd in league scoring averages for two seasons. Vandeweghe was later traded to Portland, where he teamed up with Clyde Drexler to form an offensive powerhouse of a backcourt. During his time in Portland, Vandeweghe suffered a brutal back injury that took a substantial toll on his performance for the remainder of his career.

Before you place Kiki Vandeweghe with Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher on a list of worst “Mavs” of all time, you might want to rethink after you hear how he spend his career after his days of playing. Vandeweghe, the man rued so much by Dallas basketball fans, eventually accepted a front-office role with, you guessed it: the Mavericks. During his time as a Mavericks official, Vandeweghe, a German native, ended up becoming an instrumental role in the development of a young, future Mavericks star named Dirk Nowitzki. That’s right. The man so hated by Mavericks fans for so many years aided in the development of the greatest Maverick of all time.

As of September of 2014, Kiki Vandeweghe is currently the VP of basketball operations for the NBA.

Sam Perkins (1984-90)

With the 4th pick in the 1984 draft, the Dallas Mavericks, a team now four seasons into existence, chose to draft a PF by the name of Sam Perkins. Perkins played six seasons in Dallas in a career that ultimately ended in Indiana in 2001. Out of all Mavericks, past and present, Perkins may have seen the most success in international play for Team USA, as he was co-captain of the 1984 men’s Olympic basketball team. Perkins led his team to a gold medal and won USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year. Perkins and Michael Jordan won an NCAA championship with North Carolina in 1982 on a team that many regard as one of the best college basketball squads ever.

As a Maverick, Perkins provided defense, rebounding, and scoring, posting averages of 14.4 PPG, 0.9 BPG, 1 SPG, and 8 RPG during his tenure with Dallas. In his rookie season, he was named to the All-Rookie First Team, posting season averages of 11 PPG and 7.4 RPG. Perkins is also often remembered in Mavericks lore for dropping the franchise’s first 30-20 game with 31 points and a career-high 20 rebounds, against the Houston Rockets in 1985. Some would venture to say that Perkins’s career in Dallas was a disappointing one, considering that he never made an all-star team after his hot start as a rookie. Despite this, he is still remembered as one of Dallas’s few successful rookie draft picks.

Roy Tarpley (1987-1995)

On a list of the most underrated Mavericks of all time, Roy Tarpley might sit at the very top. Most “new-era” Mavs fans have at least heard of Roy Tarpley, but few realize how good he actually was. Tarpley, a power forward/center from the University of Michigan, was selected 7th overall in the 1986 NBA Draft by the Mavericks. In his debut season in Dallas, Tarpley received All-Rookie First Team honors, averaging 7.5 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.1 BPG off the bench.

In 1988, Tarpley’s sophomore season, he was honored as the first Maverick to ever win the Sixth Man of the Year award. In his NBA career, one that took place entirely in Dallas, Tarpley posted cumulative averages of 12.6 PPG, 10 RPG, and 1.2 BPG.

Although he appeared to be Dallas’s budding star on the court, it quickly became evident that the 6’11” post’s personal life was not exactly a desirable one. Early into the 1989-90 season, Tarpley was arrested for driving while intoxicated and resisting arrest, resulting in suspension from the league. In 1991, he notched another suspension after being arrested for DWI again. Later in the year, he committed a third violation and was banned from the league due to his use of illegal drugs.

In 1994, Tarpley returned to Dallas and played 55 games before ultimately getting banned permanently from the league for violating alcohol policies set by the NBA. The dissident center went on to play in Greece, China, Russia, Cyprus, and for multiple non-NBA U.S. professional clubs. Tarpley didn’t manage to stay out of legal trouble, as he was arrested in 1997 for burning his girlfriend’s stomach with a clothes iron. You read that correctly.

Roy Tarpley tends to be a player often lost in Mavericks lore, likely due the disappointing nature of his NBA career. Due to his antics, in 5 seasons in the league, Tarpley only averaged 46.67 games per season, slightly over half as many as the number of total games in a season (82). Call it cliché, but I find it incredibly sad to see a promising player so talented let his career be ruined by drugs and alcohol.

Jay Vincent (1981-1986)

After selecting Mark Aguirre in the first round, the Mavericks selected Jay Vincent, Michigan State small forward and former teammate of Magic Johnson, in the second round of the 1981 NBA Draft. The Mavericks, a team still bitter about Kiki Vandeweghe’s departure after the previous draft, were happy to have a couple of draft picks who would actually, you know, play for the team.

If I were to compare Jay Vincent’s offensive game to any recent Maverick’s, it would have to be Shawn Marion’s. Vincent thrived around and under the basket, scoring all but 3 of his 6,464 points as a Maverick from inside the arc. What he lacked in outside shooting, he made up for in defense and inside scoring. Standing at 6’7” and weighing in at 220 lbs of pure muscle, Vincent provided offensive and defensive rebounding for Dallas.

In his debut season, Vincent averaged 21 points and 7 rebounds per game, landing him a spot on the All-Rookie First Team in 1982. Although he never made an all-star team, Vincent ended up posting averages of 16.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Despite these averages, he played a starting role in only three of his nine NBA seasons. Vincent hopped around the league after five seasons in Dallas and concluded his NBA career in 1990 after playing one year as a Laker. He primarily played bench roles for teams around the league and never seemed to be able to replicate the success that he found in a Mavericks uniform.

Like other characters in the article (I’m looking at you, Roy Tarpley), Jay Vincent struggled with his own off-the-court issues. However, unlike Tarpley, he wasn’t addicted to drugs or alcohol. In August of 2010, it was revealed that Vincent had been involved in a series of fraudulent acts, scamming over 20,000 Americans out of over $2 million. Vincent was sentenced to five years in prison and was forced to pay a fine of $110,000 to the IRS. As of 2014, Vincent resides in a Federal Correctional Institution in Ashland, Kentucky where he serves the rest of his sentence.

Are they forgotten?

Are these former Mavericks really forgotten? Of course not. Chances are, if you’re a long-time Mavs fan, you’ve heard of most, if not all of these players and might even know a bit about them. Hopefully this article provided at least a minimal bit of insight on their careers so that you too can appreciate the careers of some of the greatest “forgotten” Mavericks and realize how great they really were.

Dallas may not have had its legendary Russells or Chamberlains from decades ago, but its sure had a substantial amount of great players aside from Dirk, JET, Kidd, Chandler, Nash, Finley, Blackman, Davis, and Harper. It’s odd to think that decades from now, a similar article about “forgotten Mavs” may very well be written about players like Monta Ellis or Chandler Parsons. Who knows? Only time will tell.

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