Head Coach: Don Nelson
Owner: Mark Cuban
Trainer: Roger Hinds
Retired Jersey Numbers:
#15 Brad Davis
#22 Rolando Blackman
(Blackman currently works alongside Nellie
as one of the Mavs' 6 assistant
Since their beginning as an NBA expansion team in 1980, the Dallas Mavericks have gone from being the running joke of the National Basketball Association to being a legitimate title contender. Fueled by the stellar contributions of Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, the Mavericks are known around the league for having a roster incorporating players from 3 continents, most of whom have a penchant for deadly perimeter shooting.
This transformation began in 1998, when dot.com billionaire Mark Cuban purchased the team. Cuban made a name for himself as a new type of NBA owner: constantly haranguing the referees, sparing no expense, and running the organisation as he felt a player would want it to be run. With Coach and General Manager Don "Nellie" Nelson, and an international roster of players, Cuban's Dallas squad made a massive turnaround, securing a spot for themselves among the league's elite teams. This past season, Dallas finished with its best record yet, a franchise-high 57-25, earning them the fourth playoff seed in the Western Conference.
International players on the Mavericks' roster include German sensation Dirk Nowitzki, a 6'11" swingman who attended his first NBA All-Star game this February as a reserve, along with Point Guard Steve Nash, who is Canadian. After the 2001-2002 season, Nowitzki made the All-NBA Second team, while Nash made the third team. Also, there is 6'8" defensive specialist and Small Foward Eduardo Najera, who is a Mexican, and 7'1" C/PF Wang Zhizhi* from China, who played only limited minutes, but is known for his accuracy from 3-point range.
In February, The Mavericks received a new addition to their mini-UN in French swingman Tariq Abdul-Wahad, while in the 2002 NBA Draft this June they selected a Yugoslavian SF named Mladen Sekularac with the 56th pick, although he likely won't be playing in Dallas for another year or two. While 7'6" Center Shawn Bradley (aka the Stormin' Mormon) was raised in Utah, he was born in Landstuhl, Germany, holds German citizenship, and has played for the German men's basketball team. Other notable players on the current roster include Michael Finley, a 6'7" swingman who has long been the cornerstone of the Mavericks' franchise, PG Nick Van Exel, who was acquired from the Denver Nuggets this February via trade, along with 6'11" Center/Power Forward Raef LaFrentz.
The Mavericks have adopted a new European-influenced style of play, which has been christened "run-and-gun" by observers. Last season, the Mavericks set league records for least turnovers and 24 second-violations, largely due to the fact they don't hang on to the ball long enough to turn it over. They also led the league in points scored, while having the second highest number of points scored against them. This style of play caused Sports Illustrated magazine to declare the high-scoring Mavs to be "the best show in the NBA".
* Wang ZhiZhi has since been signed by the L.A. Clippers as a free agent in the summer of 2002.