More so than usual defending NBA champions, the Dallas Mavericks have been overlooked during this shortened preseason. That's because of the lockout and swirling major trade rumors, of course, but also because, in some way, their run through the playoffs didn't have the usual buildup. Few people thought they could challenge for a title in April, and that lack of confidence has spilled over into this season. Maybe, for all they accomplished, they just got hot in a way that can't be repeated.
The Mavs are quite understandably not especially thrilled with these opinions. Just ask Shawn Marion, who has overreacted and now wants everyone on the team to be addressed with a formal title. From Dwain Price for the Star-Telegram (via TBJ):
"I want y'all to address me like that from now on -- world champion," Marion said.
Marion is upset that the national media has overlooked the defending world champion Mavs and don't believe they have a chance of winning this season's title.
"We've gotten to the point where everybody started overlooking us and talking about everybody else and I kind of got [upset] about it," Marion said. "Y'all trying to take something away from us that we've worked hard for and we took.
"Everybody on this team has earned the right to be addressed as world champions, so everybody address us like that."
No, I will not regularly address you as "world champion Shawn Marion," sir, because the designation is itself imprecise. I respect your accomplishments, but there's no way I'm referring to Ian Mahinmi like that. Everyone has a ring, but not everyone provided similar contributions to the cause.
Then again, it's unlikely that Marion actually expects people to call him "world champion" at every reference. This is just a way to draw attention to the Mavericks and get them back on people's minds. To a certain extent, that will happen when the Mavs play the Heat on Christmas, but that doesn't mean it's not worth reminding people a little earlier.
So, for now, let's humor world champion Shawn Marion. Anyone with hair that bad deserves our charity.