Mavs Fans Should, Grudgingly, Root for the Thunder

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 03: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrates a dunk by Caron Butler #2 against the Memphis Grizzlies in Game Seven of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 3, 2014 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

    I know, we hate the Heat. And, of course, we're disgusted by the Spurs as well.

    But now that the NBA is down to its final four, who does the loyal Maverick's fan root for?

    If we’re playing the ol’ Six Degrees of Separation game, you want to see the Pacers and the Thunder in the NBA Finals. Sounds good to me.

    Here’s why:

    There are only three players still alive in the playoffs who once played for the Mavs. Pacers’ backup center Ian Mahinmi won a ring in Dallas in ’11. Thunder backup small forward Caron Butler won a ring in Dallas in ’11. And Thunder backup point guard Derek Fisher pissed us all off when he fake retired from the Mavs after nine games in 2012 in order to play for Oklahoma City.

    That’s it for the direct connections. Miami’s Chris Bosh is from Dallas and Rashard Lewis is from Houston, but of course that flimsy loyalty is obliviated by the mocking of Dirk Nowitzki’s cough by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade during the ’11 Finals. The Spurs’ Cory Joseph played at Texas, not nearly enough to make us even temporarily forget our unyielding venom toward San Antonio. And despite Mahinmi’s warm-‘n-fuzzies from his time in Dallas, his teammate is David West, better known as the punk who had the audacity to slap Dirk’s cheek in the ’08 playoffs.

    That brings us to Oklahoma City, closest to Dallas’ address and closest to our hearts.

    In addition to Butler and Fisher, head coach Scott Brooks played for the Mavs as Jason Kidd’s backup in the mid-90s. Expand the connections a tad and Kevin Durant played at Texas, and Kendrick Perkins is from Beaumont.

    Like last season, a nightmare NBA Finals would be the Heat against the Spurs. At this point, all we can do as Mavs’ fans is pull (albeit grudgingly) for the Thunder.

     A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.