When the Cleveland Cavaliers were attempting to keep LeBron James in-house during his 2010 free agency wooing period, rumors abounded that the organization utilized a ‘Family Guy’-like personalized cartoon video as part of its presentation package. The idea that a man in his mid-20s – one that was about to make a career-defining choice – could be swayed by a bunch of animated images was just about as annoying as James’ eventual Decision. Apparently it had been a long 14 years since the New York Knicks won Allan Houston’s heart with a video package featuring respected filmmakers like Woody Allen and Spike Lee.
Three years on, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has released the video that his Mavs used in an attempt to sway Dwight Howard to his team during a free agent plea one month ago. In a post on his personal blog, Cuban released the clip:
To Cuban’s credit, he had quite a bit to lose by releasing this video. Because in retrospect, even just a month after Howard chose the Houston Rockets, the clip appears to be a little laughable. Cuban had to sell the idea of the Dallas Mavericks as contenders to the 2012-era Dwight Howard, the guy that was wooed into declining to terminate the last year of his deal with the Orlando Magic in March of 2012 with his favorite candies and a comforting talk with teammates that he didn’t want angry at him.
Let me address here the inevitable question of Dwight vs Mavs culture. We saw it as somewhat of a risk, but felt like because Dwight by all appearances and checking we did, is a good guy and with our support systems we believed we could make it work. if not, he was obviously a very trade-able asset. But, as everyone knows, we didn’t sign him. He went to the Rockets. I do have to say the meeting with Dwight was very interesting. He is a smart guy. Much smarter than people give him credit for. He is also a very, very good listener. Unlike most people, he spent far more time listening than talking. And he had the best response to an opening question that I have ever heard from a player, or anyone for that matter. When we asked him what his goal was, his response was very specific ” I want to be Epic” . Which was a perfect lead in to the video we created for him
(It’s an interesting blog post that you all should read, but nearly a decade into Blog Maverick’s run, I would implore Mark to at least run his posts through an email or word processor spell check. We’re too deep into this to be still misspelling Erick Dampier’s first name.)
A cartoon may have swayed Dwight Howard had he allowed himself to become a free agent in 2012. More importantly, the idea of playing alongside a younger and pre-injury Dirk Nowitzki and Deron Williams would also have swayed him. Things didn’t turn out that way for Dallas, though, and by the time 2013 rolled around it was all about basketball reasons.
Yes, the relative lack of media glare in Houston and Howard’s burgeoning friendships with Chandler Parsons and James Harden helped, but by and large Howard chose the best team that could also offer him a ton of money. Even if Dallas could offer Howard the max (which, at the point of their presentation, they could not) and more comic book fantasies, he probably wouldn’t have joined Cuban’s team.
Cuban and company’s reaction to the 2011 NBA lockout and their aging (if defending champion) roster has been one of the more discussed subjects in basketball over the last 20 months, and for good reason. You rarely see this sort of breakdown, with these sorts of cruel twists of timing. We appreciate Mark’s transparency in this, but this is cold comfort to Mavs fans that will have to live with the idea of Monta Ellis making his mark on the Dallas culture that Cuban talked up so much in his blog post, and waiting until 2014-15 to earn one of those animated championship banners they attempted to woo Dwight Howard with.
A type of Dwight Howard that, we hope, doesn’t exist anymore.