Rivalries are Fun !

IM pretty sure it was one of the first times the Mavs ever went down to San Antonio the first full year I owned the
team. I remember hearing the whole arena booing and booing. I looked up on the board above, and there was my smiling
face with some prompting of some sort and the fans were letting me have it.

Im looking up there, and Im listening, and it dawned on me. Im getting booed by 18k people, how cool is that ! I
didnt know these people. It didnt matter what they thought or why they were booing. It worked for the home team. It
got the crowd going, it made it more fun for everyone who came to the game. Someone from the Spurs came over like it
was a big deal and apologized for it. I was absolutely fine with it.

Since then teams have morphed my face into who knows what. They have dressed me up or down, had me kissed by who
knows what, played seperated at birth, threw a cake at me, you name it, its probably happened. If it helps them
create fun for their customers, Im fine with it.

Those same teams usually also have invited me to come early and speak to groups, help them sell whatever, come
take pictures and sign autographsand be a partner. All good things. All fun.

But what I really, really like is how much Im heckled. Some cities are great and heckle with style and humor. The
Clippers have 4 guys who put on wigs and jokingly call themselves the mark cuban fan club. They are always there when
we play them and they make it fun. One year they brought a chucky doll and put a black wig on him and all game long
they kept on stabbing the chucky doll. It was hysterical. Utah , minnesota, Golden State are all pretty cool. They
actually have people who can heckle with some wit and intellect and get laughs from the people around the bench

Then there are cities with zero sense of humor. No originality when it comes to heckling and often are just plain
rude. Sacramento has its share of people who will let it rip and curse the hell out of me. This year in Memphis, they
set up a student like section where kids had their Griz T Shirts and megaphones and they tried so so hard to heckle
and be mean. But the harder they tried, the funnier it got to me and everyone around us and the more flustered they
got. It was hysterical.

The worst ?San Antonio. There isnt even a close 2nd. Thebleacher bums have filtered down to the lower
bowl and they are living up to their past.

San Antonio is the only place where I have brought my wife and she has been verbally abused. Of course she is 7
months pregnant , which made her an easy target for this onedrunken spurs fan last week who called her a choice
name or two. Fortunately my wife is super cool and just brushed it off. Of course one idiot shouldnt and doesnt
taint a fan base, or a city. We both know that. It didnt represent the city or Spurs Fans. But that doesnt change the
fact that they are rudest and curse the most.

San antonio fans by our bench will curse early, often and loud. Personally, I dont care. My attitude at spurs
games, and really anywhere on the road, is that i would much rather have themheckle me than the players.
I want to be the center of their attacks. Better me than the players. Our last game in SA, every time I stood up to
see the game better, the cursing and yelling would start. So I did the only smart thing. I started standing up only
when the Spurs were shooting free throws at our end. It took the hecklers and yellers several free throws before they
figured out what I was doing and why Tim Duncan must have been mystified why there was booing while he was at the
foul line.

Which leads to the topic of rivalries.Every good rivalryhas a healthy dose of animosity. There has to
be booing. There has to be the fans on the edge who go a little bit overboard. There has to be the story about the
pregnant wife, or that one argument your buddies got into. There has to be a least a little bit of
dislike or there aint no rivalry.

Thats part of what makes sports fun. That we can “hate” the other team and its fans while the games are going on,
but be best friends or work with them or even be married to them when the games are over.

I hate Purdue. I really do. Have ever since I went to Indiana University. To this day, if I meet someone who has
Purdue on their resume, I have to say “Im sorry” to them, or they will say “dont hold it against me”. Of course, it
doesnt impact whether i hire them or like them or work with them. We went to rival schools. If I go to a
Purdue Indiana game, the chants and rants going both ways are going to be flying and I will be smiling and
yelling Purdue sucks along with everyone else. Its just part of the fun.

I remember when Dirk called Utah a city the first year we made the playoffs. Every time he touched the ball he got
booed. When Nick Van Exel went back to Denver, he got booed. Before game six in Dallas, someone asked about the fans
booing Michael Finley and if i thought it was a good thing. Absolutely i told them. They were’nt booing Dirk the
person in Utah, or Nick the person in Denver. Mavs fans arent booing michael finley the person. They all booed
the guy he plays on TV. Michael Finley the Spurs player. Fin is a great guy with a great family. But getting booed is
part of what makes a rivalry a rivalry. Any player will tell you, they boo the jersey.

Of course, as every self proclaimed sports expert will tell you, if the teams arent competitive and the
stakes for each arent comparable, that there cant be a good rivalary. And they are right. Good teams have a lot at
stake when they play, and thats a requirement for a good, funrivalry.

If the teams are great, and championships are at stake, the opportunity is there for a great rivalry

A great rivalry is so intense and brings out such emotion that people who are fans of either team HAVE to watch
it, for fear of being ostracized by their friends who are also fans. A great rivalry is so intense that people who
dont root for either team, or may not even be more than casual fans of that sport will watch anyway. They know the
rivalry is so intense that its combustable and that could lead to anything happening on the field.

But great rivalries also take personalities. Tommy
Lasorda carried
onthe Giants Dodgers rivalries
of years past.
Steinbrenner will do things to assure the
and Red Sox have a great rivalry.

If the Cowboys and Eagles are good this year, think there might be a heated rivalry with Terrell Owens at its
center ? Think the ratings might be through the roof as fans see what Owens pulls out of his jersey to incite the
crowd ? I promise you that they will be far higher thana regular season Steelers-Seahawks

thats the problem. Great teams going at it arent enough to create a rivalry that generates national interest.

The NBA doesnt have one of those rivalries right now. We used to. The Celtics and lakers. Bulls and Knicks. Mchale
clotheslining Rambus. Dennis Rodman being Dennis Rodman. Jordan talking trash and being Jordan. Was there
really a rivalry of national interest between the Knicks and the Heat untilVan Gundys took a bite out of
Alonzo’sleg ?

We need that in the NBA today. Our best rivalry is Kobe vs Shaq. doesnt matter what teams they are on, as
long as they are playing each other. Its combustable. Anything can happen. Both teams could have terrible records,
but it would be the marquee matchup as far as TV is concerned over Spurs Mavs, Pistons Spurs, any combo of teams.

Im hoping the Mavs vs Spurs can be one of those great rivalries of national interset. This series has been
amazing. Regardless of how it turns out, and hopefully the good guys win, I couldnt have ever imagined there being a
more competitive 7 game series. But great games arent enough. Its intensity of emotion from fans on both sides
that will leave a lasting impression on them. Its taking each game result and everything and anything said relating
to the game personally that will make this a rivalry in Texas. Its all the war of the words and back and forth that
will make this a rivalry of national interest.

Last week when we were there, there was a front page article about how much better San Antonio was than Dallas.
Red McCombs saying that “people live in SA because they want to , butno one lives in Dallas because they want
to,they live there because we have to” The articletook shots at all things Dallas, and me. I
thought it was great.

When i got the chance to return volley the other night during an ESPN radio interview, I certainly and happily
did. The Riverwalk river is nasty. I know it. Everyone who lives in San Antonio knows it. I said it. I just know that
on crowded nights, everyone who walks that thing is afraid to death that some drunk is going to stumble by and
knock them into the water. Its that nasty. I mean come on folks. They can clean up lake erie, but not the riverwalk
?? Fighting words , right ?

Of course not. Its meaningless. Unless it comes from a rival.

Why say it at all ? Because San Antonio is our rival. There is nothing more fun than a great rivalry. Unless
of course its the fun that comes from tweaking a rival. There is nothing better for the NBA than a great rivalry.
Purdue is always going to suck in my book. Sorry boilermaker fans.So will the Spurs.

Im going to get cursed more than I have ever been cursed before in my life when we go to play them on monday. Ive
already gotten hundreds of emails from Spurs fans calling me things that I had never heard before. Without
exception, when I say something nice back in an email, they respond nice right back as well.Like Rivals
do.Its on during the game, real world after.

For the players and coaches and people who get paid by the industry, its a job. For the fans, its supposed to be
fun. We all love our teams. We love the intensity of a great rivalry.

Its not personal. Its just that you support the wrong team.

I didnt turn on comments, because I didnt need all the cursing that would come along with it, but there have been
some great emails. So i have decided to turn comments back on.

If you talk about rivalries. It stays. Everything else gets deleted for being off topic.

some samples

I am a spurs fan, and I love the idea of making this the best rivalry in

all of the NBA. Keep it up Cuban, lets make this the second best rivalry

in the state of Texas! Behind only the A&M vs Texas rivalry!!!!! Make us

hate you, and hopefully we will return the favor!

Hey Mark,

I think you hit the nail right on the head with your blog on

rivalries. Rivalries are a pretty simple equation: two good

teams/players/whatever performing very well plus a strong, loyal, fan base

to reward their competition.

You’ve done more to steer the NBA in the right direction than anyone

working at the commissioner’s office. It’s a shame they fine you every

time you say something right. While I myself have no fidelity to the Mavs

(being a Lakers fan), I would love to see the Mavs develop a rivalry with

the Spurs. It would be wonderful for basketball. I’m sure you’re well

aware that rivalries have to grow endogenously, with the fans actually

buying into it. Shaq vs. Kobe rivalry? Nope. Maybe the idiots at ESPN

were buying it in Connecticut, but not in Los Angeles. But at the same

time, there’s a lot the league can do to promote rivalries. I’d imagine

that ever since the Mavs got good, the heckling in San Antonio grew

monotonically vulgar with each passing game. This is normal! It sucks for

your wife to get that kind of crap, but it’s a sign of something truly

powerful about sports. More power to her for not letting those guys ruin

her night.

Being a Dodgers fan, I can’t walk into AT&T Park (nee SBC, nee

PacBell…maybe those yuppies will stop changing the name of their ballpark

after every telecomm merger) without some middle aged investment banker

giving me a hard time for sporting Dodger blue. Another example: rivalries

make people go out in large numbers to watch Stanford vs. Cal in

fencing. Fencing!

Make the most of this opportunity. You don’t need anyone to tell you this,

as you’re already doing it, but continue to encourage the Mavs-Spurs

rivalry. Throw some fire on the flames in your next radio interview. It’s

all in good fun. It’s all about sport.

ok, i read about your blog and i guess you are trying to backpeddle a bit which i think i might be ok
with but why??? did you hear that heart wrenching press conference with FIN? wow, that really hurt! did you see the
pain when he was saying what he felt? ouch! i think, well, poor guy but obviously the mavs dont deserve him nor did
they appreciate him (obviously!). just sad for him and his family! so, we will certainly have him and treat him the
way he deserves to be treated! you are the one who has to try and sleep at night for hurting a fan and a great

as for the friendly rivalry! i totally get it! that is what i thought BUT then you tried to turn it
UGLY! why? noone else goes on public radio, tv, internet, EVERYwhere and tries to start HATE. the fans will take care
of the rivalry without you adding bad fuel to fire. dont you get that? the players on both teams are amazing and
awesome and wonderful to watch. what a beautiful game, fun series, darn that this isnt the conf finals…..dont mess
with it!! i know thereare so many idiots in dallas and so many idots in SA (i’m from neither), let idiot fans
take care of the idiot stuff! you and me, let’s just be GREAT fans, ultimate rivals and have fun “hating” each other
on the court and that is all! we dont want this to be a detroit/indiana brawl, please say that! one thing i will say
is SA has great pride, great loyalty and great spirit when it comes to the love they have for their team and players
and do you hearthe LOVE wegive avery when he comes in to the center?much! he is coaching the ENEMY
and he still got an ovation. now that is what it is all about! try it, you might like it! we dont Boo ourold
players, we thank them for all they did for us! kobe,ray allen,vince carter……never played for us, no love
there, those are the kind of people you BOO! they expect it from strangers, not the loved ones! remember that!
havefun, let’s enjoy game 7 and as you said….let’s hope the goodguys win…we ALL know who the GOOD guys

I just wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your blog. I wish you could teach Mr. Holt a thing or two
about being one with the fans.I hate the mavs with a passion, mostly because of Jason Terry; and not
because of his low blow, but because of his timely shooting. I think the Spurs will win Monday,
becausethey know what it takes to get to that championship game. I love the rivalry that has been
created. I go to Baylor University, so I have a lotof Mavs friends. Wewere
justtalking about how this series is developing into a classicCeltics v.Lakers matchup. Your
latest post on your blog about rivalries was right on the money. I agree that my fellow fans need a lesson on
creativity when heckling. They should take a pointer from the little kid behind the basket that had that big
picture of Eva Longoria. I was laughing each time he would waive itwhen Tony was shooting. One more
thing,I am throwing out an offer to you to buy you a meal on the riverwalk and show you just how nice our
beautiful city is. That offer is standing until you tell me no. I have only been to Dallas once, and it
was only a day trip. All I hear is that is has a lot of concrete with nothing to do. I would love for you
to prove me wrong.

To good times and great rivalries!

As a die hard Spurs fan I enjoy reading your blog. I think so many people

lose sight of the fact that basketball is simply entertainment and the

outcomme will have to be decided on the court. I think the I35 rivalry is a

great thing. I’m tired of Kobe, Shaq & the ‘coronation’ of the NBA’s ‘new

king.’ The Spurs and Mavs have been great teams for a long time and I

wanted to thank you for being an owner who is outspoken about caring for

his team and players. I’ll probably

boo you on Monday from our corporate suite at the AT&T if I get to go, but

I think you ‘get it’ more than most other owners. I also think you’ve done

many positive things for the league and for Texas NBA teams. May the best

team win and congrats on your new child!

Mark, I had the same experience with the “Baseline Bums” recently at a

Houston Rockets game. They were bussed in and sat behind the goal in a huge

pack. They are total fools. Some drunken woman, her sister, and her 12-yr

old daughter sat behind us and started cussing at my 16yr old brother and

heckling him. They spilled beer on us, swore, heckled, you name it. Luckily

when we were leaving outside the arena I saw them all in their bus, I

knocked on the door and said “Open it you forgot me!!” so they opened it, I

got onboard and yelled “ROCKEETTTSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” and ran off.

Great Blog, I’m a first time visitor and everthing you just wrote is

hysterical. The big networks would lead you to beleive that only Rivalries

exist on the West and East Coast. That only players like Kobe and Labron

are keeping the NBA alive. The truth is player like

Dirk,TimVP,Ginobli,Stack,Parker and this series is alot more of what the

NBA is and should be about. Truthfully, when I heard what you said on ESPN

radio I was like, WOW! He did not just go there. Then, while listening to

sports radio 760, and Pop was asked to comment he made me realize how

humourous and intelligent not only he was but what agreat sense of humor

you and Pop have. Pop said,”after one magarita I dont know whats in the

river maybe he should come down and have one and he (Mark Cuban)can look at

life a little more maturely. Awsome! Great comeback. You have done a great

job of creating attention to where its deserved. This Series!This Rivalry!

That said, I hate the Mavs. I’m glad that we took the dallas chapparals

from yall. Dallas does not deserve an NBA Championship, like one ESPN

reporter said B4 fridays game.I will be in Dallas on Business on Sunday and

I cant wait to wear my vintage Spurs 99′ Championship jersey through D-FW

Airport. Another thing dallas fan quit complaining about the punch that

Terry through at Finley. Dallas Fan don’t you remember the Horry Gumming

incident,he was also suspended one game, because of YOU. Now were even.

You know Thanks Dallas fan, You couldn’t support your Basketball team when

it counted, so people like red Mccombs, Angelo Drossos took them to a

Wonderful place on the banks of the San Antonio river, The Hemisfair

Arena.The loudest Arena in the NBA at the Time. Great Atmosphere. Where

fans learned how to cheer for their heroes. Thats where I saw my first NBA

basketball game back in 1978-1979. I’f you would have supported your team

back then,you could have been the city bragging about 3 NBA Championships.

But, Not even in an elimination game , Dallas fan does’t have the

experience or maturity of knowing how to cheer or “WILL” their beloved

team to VICTORY. But we do!

Maverick fan it will be many more years of dissapointment b4 you reach the

pinnacle of the NBA.The Finals. I went through it with George Gervin, Larry

Kennon, Jame silas, in the 70’s and 80’s, David Robinson B4 Timmy.I still

have my Spurs video losing to the Kareem Abdul-Jabar, Magic Johnson Lakers.

I would watch that video for many dissapointing years, we would have made

the Finals with the Dr. J Sixers that year. We lost the series in game 6 in

a great magical series, that we should have won.I was miserable like you

will be.Now, Lets get it on!

P.S.In a Series against the Washington Bullets back in the late 70’s, we

were UP 3-1 in The Eastern Confernce Finals and Dan Cook sports legend in

San Antonio and around the country coined the phrase, while the Washington

Bullets, led by Wes Unseld, Big E- Elvin Hayes were creeping back into the

series, given credit by The Oxford Book of Quotes that

“It ain’t over till the Fat Lady Sings”.

Guess what, we lost that series 4-3. Dan Cook was right and he taught Spurs

fan a lesson. But we never ever gave up on our team. And we never will.

Plus the San Antonio fans here know how to cheer their team and give them

that legendary direction to Will them to victory.We know how to do that.

Weve been here before.The Ghosts of all Hemisfair, Alamodome spurs Fan will

rise at the AT&T Center on Monday. It will be a magical moment for Spur Fan.


Your blog entry on rivalries was reminiscent of this opening monologue to a

“Seinfeld” episode:

“Loyalty to any one sports team is pretty hard to justify. Because the

players are always changing, the team can move to another city, you’re

actually rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it. You know

what I mean, you are standing and cheering and yelling for your clothes to

beat the clothes from another city. Fans will be so in love with a player

but if he goes to another team, they boo him. This is the same human being

in a different shirt, they *hate* him now. Boo! different shirt!! Boo.”

(source: http://www.seinfeldscripts.com/TheLabelMaker.html)

6 thoughts on “Rivalries are Fun !

  1. Mark,
    I completely agree! Rivalries are what sports is all about! I am not a football fan myself but give me a Browns-Steelers game and I am there! I love seeing how passionate people are about their team, even if I am on the other side of the fence. I am a bartender in a sports bar and it is a total blast when the Buckeyes are playing the Wolverines, or the Indians are playing the Yankees. Maybe if the Cavs keep it up one day we will have a great rivalry with the Pistons.
    I thought it was completely ridiculous that a sports writer was complaining about the comment LeBron made to Arenas in game 6…”miss these and you are going home” these are comments that may fuel a future rivalry! I’m a Cavs fan first, but I love the Mavs! I hope there is a longtime rivalry with the Spurs…it just makes it that much more exciting!

    Comment by Theresa -

  2. Marc you overstep,
    Rivalries are great. Great rivalries are even better, but the Spurs Mavs have not yet come to being a great rivalry. You see rivalries only occur when both teams have successfully won a few of the encounters. Of course I don’t mean individual games, but elimination series. Bulls/Pistons: a great rivalry because the Pistons struck the first blow. Lakers Celtics: went back and forth for years. Spurs Lakers: 5 straight years the winner of their series went on to win the championship. But the Spurs and Mavs?? Not yet. Game 7 notwithstanding, the mavs haven’t proved this to be a great rivalry just yet. The San Antonio Spurs’ fans battle-cry was always that they choke in the clutch, can’t win a big game. We were all ready to eat our words at 3-1. But now were not so sure. This is definitely the best Mavs team in history and they have suprised everyone, but unless they can do in San Antonio what they couldn’t in game 5 or 6, it just goes down as another footnote in that eventual San Antonio dynasty video the league will put out in about 6 more years of Spurs’ championships. Spurs fans expected the Mavs to clank jumpshots and give up at the end of games, as has been the case in past years. What is happeneing is even better, Giving up at the end of the series itself. Yes, not until the Mavs can get over the hump and make up for lost opportunities, Steve Kerr’s famous game 6 (oh you remember) and definitely blowing a 3-1 lead, will the Spurs-Mavs rivalry truly be a great rivalry. Who knows? They may pull it out in game 7, but I don’t think so. Nevertheless, in the event that they do, best wishes. Make sure Dirk, AJ and Jason keep the trophy in Texas. Good luck to your team, but not too much luck.

    Best Regards,

    Comment by Mark Weiss -

  3. IU sucks but their girls suck harder.


    UP YOURS!!!

    GO MAVS!

    Comment by Joe -

  4. Pop should be suspended he threw his water bottle on the floor in the second quarter. If the NBA commissioner sticks to his guns as he did with Jason Terry he will suspend. Their of said that anyone who punches or throws something on the floor will be suspended it is a clear rule. Let’s wait and see if he was just cheating the mavs or if he really meant what he said.

    Comment by Juston Garland -

  5. You couldn’t be more right about the exhilaration of great rivalries. I’ve enjoyed every minute of the Texas-OU weekends for the past six years. Even though as a Longhorn fan, I’ve been on the losing end of that rivalry for a majority of those years…it’s still been exciting to take part in it.

    And you’re even more right about the Riverwalk. I am a native San Antonian and lived there for 28 years. I have exactly the same fear you described about being accidentally knocked into the water. I still to this day have no clue why so many tourists flock downtown to see brown water.

    Red McCombs is nuts. People live in San Antonio because they can’t afford to live anywhere else. They become so accustomed to the dirt cheap cost-of-living there that to move anywhere else is too much of a financial shock.

    Let’s go Mavs! Let’s go beat the Spurs on their home court!

    Comment by Margaret Hudson -

  6. When me and one of my best friends go out of town, everyone turns and looks and whispers, at least for a second. Alot of ppl will ask, alot of ppl straight up embarass themselves. His name is Matt, he plays bball at Western Kentucky University, he wears #41, he is the biggest Dirk fan there is…you have to check it out.

    http://www.wkusports.com, click the bball page and then roster, Matt Maresca…

    I completely agree though, I am an avid Houston Astros fan and I absolutely hate the St. Louis Cardinals. This isnt a huge rivalry yet, but yet is the key word b/c there has been a great 3 years between the Astros and Cardinals. I respect them and what theyre about, but I hate them. In HS our Warren Central/Bowling Green rivalry was like no other. Alot of us grew up together and went to the same elementary and middle schools, but once I stepped foot in Warren Central and they stepped foot in Bowling Green, it was over, our rivalry began. Of course, we dominated, took the state championship in bball and beat them like 16 straight games. In baseball they were dominating the series until my JR/SR year, where we even had a brawl my senior year and I went on to win 2 games against them even after getting my tooth knocked out…point is, animosity makes the rivalry richer, that more fun, and intense…

    Comment by Christopher Siegert -

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