Mavs sing happy song
Posted: Friday, June 17, 2011 9:03 pm
By: By JAIME ARON, AP Sports Writer
DALLAS (AP) — Standing on an arena balcony, Dirk Nowitzki led the Dallas Mavericks and thousands of fans in singing their new favorite song: “We Are The Champions.”
Owner Mark Cuban led fans in the chorus, with Jason Kidd holding the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
The joyous scene came Thursday at the end of a parade honoring the NBA champs. An expected crowd of 250,000 — although it may have been more — endured temperatures approaching 90 degrees to enjoy a party 31 years in the making since this is the first title in Mavs’ history.
There was still one more layer to the party, a ceremony with 10,000 season-ticket holders inside American Airlines Arena. The plaza around the building was filled to its 3,000-person capacity about two hours before the parade even began.
Fans filled the streets and sidewalks all along the roughly mile-long route between the convention center and the arena. Franchise founder Donald Carter and his wife, Linda were in the lead vehicle.
“Fantastic,” Carter said.
In a waiting area at the start of the parade, Cuban clutched the championship trophy as entertainer Jamie Foxx, who is from the Dallas area, joined the fun. Most wore T-shirts that read, “Raise the Banner,” and other championship gear. Cuban tweeted several pictures.
“It’s unbelievable,” Nowitzki said as he took a cigar from teammate Jason Terry before boarding his float. “If it hasn’t sunk in yet, it will now. ... We’re on the top of the world now so it feels amazing. For 13 years I’ve waited for this moment. It’s amazing and we’re all going to enjoy it.”
At the end of the parade, those who rode along said they were overwhelmed by the turnout — people as far as they could see.
“I’m numb,” said Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations.
Temperatures were in the mid-80s at the start of the parade and a high of around 100 was in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service. There were several reports of fans overcome by heat before the parade even began.
Inside the arena, most people came wearing blue, as they did throughout the postseason. They watched the parade and outdoor scene on the video board, chanting “M-V-P!” along with the fans outside when Terry introduced Nowitzki and singing along when Nowitzki began crooning. They also were treated to video clips from the finals and some behind-the-scenes footage in the locker room, the bus ride from the arena and the next morning at the hotel.
Associated Press writers Linda Stewart Ball and Diana Heidgerd contributed to this report.