A look back at my experience at Mavericks Fan Jam 2014
By Brian Gosset
If you don’t know my situation, I’m a Hawaii boy at heart. Born and raised in the Aloha State, I finally moved off the rock when I was 20, going on 21 when I attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff in the fall of 2009. Five years later and I finally graduated, moving on to Texas for an internship.
I honestly can’t remember when I started following the Mavericks. I always tell people 2002 was the first year, but sometime around the 2004-2005 season is when I really started getting into Dallas basketball. I’ve gone through the same ups and downs like everyone else, from the 2006 Finals to all those 1st round defeats, but I’ve stuck by my team through and through.
Enter 2014. Like I mentioned, I graduated this year back in May and came to Texas for a newspaper internship that ended in August. Prior to living in Texas, I had visited on multiple occasions to see family and every single time, I make a habit to going to at least one Mavs game.
All in all, I’ve been to six games, five at the AAC (4-2 overall, 3-2 at home). Nothing has made me more happy than my experience these last few months and my involvement with the Mavericks. You talk about the Heroes game, Mavs Media Day, pressers and more, and really I couldn’t ask for me. Okay! That’s a little more than you probably wanted to know, but where I’m going with this is Saturday’s Fan Jam at the AAC. I was in complete star-struck mode, this being my first time at the event.
It all started at 10:30 when I arrived to a long line, a line for VIP pass members, who had won them online. I met up with a few friends and moved on to the new fan store, The Hangar.
I always say, I hate going inside because I leave broke. At this point, I was ready to buy my first Tyson Chandler shirt and the new Skyline shirt. Just as I was being rung up, a couple of friends texted me that one of the ESPN tents was handing out VIP passes. So I quickly got my change and headed over with my buddy Garren (@GarrentheMFFL92)
I arrived at the tent and got a pass, I was ecstatic. I got in line with my Mavs Fam and proceeded to wait for an hour and a half. Doors were suppose to open at noon.
After a couple jukes from the AAC staff, they finally let us in just after noon and everyone was rushing in to get a chance for an autograph.
The players were on the second floor in tables of four. First up, Monta Ellis, Jae Crowder, Jameer Nelson and Greg Smith.
At this point, Dirk was just ahead AND I was told to go to his table first and then come back, but I was too committed to Ellis’ table. I had a Dirk jersey on over my Jet shirt, a blue Mavs hat and a signature sign from when I got my pass.
I strolled through the first table, saying my hellos and got all four to sign my hat. I wanted to leave my jersey to the man of the hour.
But at this time, no one seemed to care about the first table and lined up for Dirk’s for what seemed like miles and miles.
Being a dedicated Dirk fan, I was willing to wait. It felt like an amusement park, line up for a ride for hours only to get a few seconds of enjoyment….totally worth it.
A few steps forward, I realized I was standing in front of Mavs PA announcer Sean Heath, which he and I talked for minutes about the upcoming season and how he doesn’t take advantage of who he is as he was waiting in line like the rest of us with his daughter.
We had to be 50 yards away from the table when the first announcement was made about the cutoff point. The players had a strict deadline of 1:00 to stop signing because they had to get down to the court for the scrimmage.
So now, a cutoff point just six or seven people in front of me. They said we could stay in line, but it wasn’t guaranteed we’d get a signature, but no one budged, even those much further from me. I stayed because I knew if Dirk had the chance, he’d sign a few more items.
About halfway there from the previous point, a second announcement was made about getting in quickly so no one held up anyone else. Then a miracle! The cutoff point was changed to just behind me, Sean and his daughter. I was so excited.
As I was nearing the table, I could see Bernard James, Charlie Villanueva, Al-Farouq Aminu and that dude, Dirk.
Pic after pic as I got the first three to sign my hat as I had already taken my jersey off for Dirk to sign.
I got to Dirk. Long last the moment I get to talk to my basketball hero. The guy I so model my own game after. I had a couple chances to meet him before, but those were in a work setting. This was different. I handed him my blue road jersey as I said, “Hey Dirk, how are you doing,” to which he responded, “Hey man, how’s it going.” Okay, not the ideal response, but I didn’t care. As he handed it back I said, “Appreciate it,” and as I walked off he said, “No problem, man.”
My goal was accomplished, but now I had no time to get Tyson Chandler or Chandler Parsons’ autograph. It was fine, I knew there would be other opportunities.
The autograph session was over, it was time for the scrimmage. So Garren and I made our way to the bottom section, two rows from the floor, opposite the blue team’s bench. So close to the action, so excited, so many pictures and videos, the game itself was a blur until the end.
As the team came onto the court, Rick Carlisle took the mic and did intros as the team began to stretch.
After that, the entire team did drills from the defensive side to the three-man weave.
The scrimmage finally started. On the white team- Dirk, Tyson, Parsons, Monta, Nelson, Charlie just to name a few while the blue team had Devin Harris, Felton, Greg Smith, Crowder, Brandan Wright.
Dirk, who had a few dunks in warmup, had one shot attempt for two points before limping off with the 2nd period. The game was played in two periods.
Monta just missed Tyson on a ferocious alley-oop in the opening seconds.
Greg Smith would go to the bench after losing apart of his tooth.
Felton and Villanueva had excellent games as the former came into his own and showed the fans that “he still has it.”
After the White team knocked down two treys to cut it to one, Felton would make both free throws with 3.2 seconds to play. Villanueva, who made the second three, hoisted up another three as time expired, but the ball hit the front of the rim as the Blue team edged out the White, 40-37, in front 6,440 fans at the AAC.
Along with the Mavs, Champ and Mavs Man were there. The Maniacs and Mavs Dancers were also in attendance.
Carlisle said Nowitzki’s injury was nothing serious and that he will be fine. Smith will be fine too.
With a lot of pictures, I still wanted some “goodies” the players were tossing into the stands after the game. Players tossed jerseys and shoes. I was so close in getting a couple of things from Dirk, but did end up with Felton’s jersey from the scrimmage. Now if only he would get into the Hall-of-Fame, the jersey could be worth something.
Finally, I went back to The Hangar and got two more shirts, a old school one and another Dirk shirt with a sweet logo. After some money spent, good memories and a few hours with my Mavs Fam, I can’t wait for the season to start.
I will be attendance for Tuesday’s preseason opener against Parsons’ old team, the Houston Rockets.
GO MAVS! #MFFL
Also follow some of my favorite people: Patience (@PatienceMFFL), Jen (@JenMFFL), Kim (@KimSanders63), Shad (@SHADMILLER13), Taylor (@TravelingMFFL), Rosie (@roromffl), Gwen (@fluecok), Erica (@MavsGirl_MzE), Jeff (@knobster368), Melissa (@mff041), Natasha (@thebunneh13) and Falcon (@falcon99).