Dallas Mavericks diehard Kirk H. -- @KirkSeriousFace on Twitter -- sent in a wonderful essay on why he'd trade the experience he had watching his team win the 2011 NBA Championship for a 2011-12 NBA season. Check it out below the jump. Remember: it's #NBAFanVoice Day. It's time for fans to be heard.
Here's Kirk's piece.
Sunday, June 12, 2011, was one of the greatest days in my life as a fan. I'd been a Mavs fan since the late '90s and was hooked as a teenager after Calvin Booth made an absurd fade-away layup with 10 seconds left to seal a come-from-behind series win over the Jazz. I can't really say I was long-suffering because the last decade has been one of high quality basketball for Mavs fans, the team just hadn't won a championship. I was actually in Miami that weekend, but chose to fly home on time to watch the game with my wife. When the final buzzer sounded, I didn't freak out or anything. Rather, I was immensely satisfied, hoping to take in that feeling of supreme triumph, since it might not come again in my lifetime.
The following days, even weeks were great too. But since the lockout, it's all gone downhill. During the playoffs I really began to use Twitter to follow some amazing writers; despite playing basketball my whole life I found myself learning a lot, considering viewpoints I'd never heard, and basically coming to love the game on a deeper level. Over the course of the summer all of the content has gone from debating basketball hypotheticals and history to discussing the ins and outs of basketball as a business, which seems to be really nasty. Though I've learned a lot about basketball-related income, etc., the tone has gone from a joyful one because of such an excellent postseason to despair due to a variety of factors.
For a while I struggled with where to aim my rage/despair. The owners are clearly being greedy; if you can't afford to lose money you should not gamble, so I can't really feel bad for them. The players simply want things to stay as they are, yet won't acknowledge the fact that salaries for everyone but the top tier of players is too high for what they contribute. All this set to the backdrop of high unemployment and I can't do anything other than shake my head in dismay.
The last few days, with games cancelled and folks settling in for the long haul, I've begun to wonder if I would give up that Mavs championship if the season would come back? After all, a championship is what most fans say they want. Eyes are constantly on the prize and for years being a Mavs fan has meant suffering through the indignity of hearing your favorite player called "soft", "weak" or any other frustrating label despite mounds of evidence to the contrary. Would I give up that championship, knowing that for one brief period my favorite team reigned supreme?
You bet your ass I would. There's no joy in basketball unless basketball is actually being played. As much as I loved seeing Dirk win it, I also want to see Dirk play again with Kidd, Marion, JET, and company. I want to hear my wife scream at the TV as Manu or DWade makes some ludicrous move towards the bucket. I want to see Rose evolve, I want to read about Kevin Durant's otherworldly jump shot, I want to watch KG slap the floor and play defense. I need to hear the terrible announcing cliches we complained about so much. I miss the terrible calls Bennett Salvatore makes at the worst possible moments. I want to see Rubio be Rubio. I could keep going. If this lockout drags on, I won't. And that makes me sad.
A championship is important to a fan, but seeing these guys play at their highest level in the midst of their primes is priceless. Basketball is slowly but surely firming up its grip as the No. 2 sport in America (and probably the world). Its been stated so many times, but it apparently can't be said enough: now is not the time for a work stoppage. Basketball is on a high after a truly epic decade. The last week alone has seen plenty of damage done to a solid reputation. But it can be worked out. Things can be made right. How? I have no idea. But I know it can be fixed.
Wait, that's not right. I believe it can be fixed. Because I believe in the NBA. Make it happen guys. Let's get the season back.