“Who wants tickets for tonight’s game? I don’t think Dirk is playing, but I think Westbrook is.”
That was the call I put out to friends and co-workers. It’s my season ticket holder snobbery that comes through with preseason game tickets. I share season tickets with two other people and both of them weren’t even entertaining the possibility of attending the game, and neither was I. After waiting the standard two or so hours and not getting any bites, I took a minute during lunch to put them on Stubhub for the minimum $6.
No one ever buys 300 level tickets for preseason games, but I let my last set go unused during the first preseason game and I don’t think it was a coincidence that I shot like Andre Drummond with a blindfold on when I played pick-up on Saturday. The basketball gods apparently were not pleased with me being so frivolous with my tickets.
Across the Twitter came a note on the game tonight that my former high school BFF Devin Harris would be playing, as would Dirk. Devin is not really my BFF. I was a senior when he was a freshman and I’d be shocked if he remembered who I am. That doesn’t stop me from reminding him at every Mavs event I see him at. But Dirk would be playing tonight, probably just a little to loosen things up a bit and see what the chemistry is like with the new faces, a yearly ritual for him in this current Mavs era of re-tooling without rebuilding.
“Are you sure that you want to deactivate this ticket listing.” Yes Stubhub, I am sure.
Timmy is done, Kobe finally accepted reality and KG didn’t have enough fire for one more go around with the kids up in Minny, but we still have Dirk. As a Milwaukee Bucks fan, I am perpetually frustrated by every new Fear the Deer rebuild, although I have faith in this current one. Because of this, I feel like I am in a somewhat unique position to consistently, and objectively, remind Mavs fans that Dirk is a treasure that should be appreciated at all times, because you never know when he won’t be there anymore. Injuries, bad teammates and skill erosion can happen in a blink of an eye. The worst part is waiting for it to come back when it never does. We, the fans, enter into a codependency of denial with our superstars when they’re washed up and no one wants to be the one to say it’s over, not them, not us. It’s not over for Dirk. Dirk is still good, but one day he won’t be.
I told my son to make sure his homework is done before soccer practice because Dirk is playing and that meant we were going to the game. He may be 8, but he’ll always be reminded that Dirk is the best player he’ll have had a chance to see on a regular basis, for most likely the rest of his life. Will this be our greatest Dirk memory ever? Of Dirk hitting a handful of mid ranges and letting a few guys get by him? Probably not, but maybe my son will tell his kids that grandpa used to take him out on school nights just because Dirk was playing and that when Dirk was playing, that made the night special.
And hopefully the basketball gods will be kind to me next weekend.