Tony Romo really did get to be a Maverick for a day, and Dallas sent him off in style

Ball Don't Lie

The Dallas Mavericks are celebrating Fan Appreciation Night at AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday and, as promised, just-retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo is in full uniform and on the bench for the Mavs’ home finale against the Denver Nuggets.

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The Mavericks invited Romo, whom the Cowboys released last week so that he could retire and begin a career in broadcasting, to suit up and take a spot on their bench for their home finale as a way of bidding a fond farewell to the longtime Dallas signal-caller, and saying thank you for his service to the city during a 13-year NFL career that included four Pro Bowl trips.

“For me, it’s a huge honor just to see that they want to do something just to say thank you for your career, what you did for the city to help the city and they way that I’ve supported them,” Romo said at the Mavericks shootaround on Tuesday. “I don’t feel like I deserve anything like this. I feel like this whole week has been emotional in the sense of just the outpouring of support from people who appreciated you and loved you.”

Not exactly a Westbrook-level entrance ensemble, but I guess it’ll do for one night.

Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki had some fun with the idea …

… and when Romo took the floor for warmups, Dirk was proven a prophet:

… if only briefly.

The 36-year-old quarterback-turned-CBS analyst got pretty comfortable in the pre-game layup lines:

Tony Romo gets some shots up. (AP)
Tony Romo gets some shots up. (AP)

… and even took some Mavs guards off the bounce:

After the former Pro Bowler got an appropriate number of shots up, it was time for a video package featuring some Romo footage spliced in for the fans:

… followed by the introduction of the Mavs’ starting lineup — and also, the ex-football player in uniform who was not actually allowed to play, but who cares, it’s Fan Appreciation Night, let’s pop the crowd!

“We’re here to celebrate and honor my good friend Tony Romo,” Nowitzki said during a pre-game address of the crowd on hand at the AAC. “Thanks for everything you’ve done for Dallas. You’ve represented us great, and we’re all proud of you. Thank you very much. Go Tony Romo.”

And then, it was Romo’s turn to take the mic.

“This is an honor that I could never dream of. It’s a little embarrassing,” Romo said. “But, I’ll tell you what, I’m a very lucky guy. Thank you, Dallas. I love you.”

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With just over two minutes left in an afterthought of a game that the Mavs were losing by double figures, Romo stood up, made his way from the end of the bench to Rick Carlisle’s side, and briefly put a charge into a crowd that had been chanting for Romo, and was apparently unaware that Romo had not actually signed a contract to play NBA basketball, and could not be put into the game:

But then Cuban got up, walked over and pulled Romo back, laughing all the way. The Mavericks lost by 18 points.

Was this whole thing kind of odd? Yes, it was kind of odd.

Some saw it as harmless:

Others saw it as kind of disrespectful:

Whichever side you fall on, it made the day of one special guest …

… and went over like gangbusters with the hometown faithful …

… which was the whole point all along.

Well, maybe not the whole point.

Y’know, I’m starting to think this Cuban guy just might have a future in business.

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Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don’t Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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