For a few short moments, all the world was right. As I snapped the photo of him standing there, as I had also done 12 years prior, just in a different location where legroom came free with your moderately-expensive game ticket, when logos weren't chosen based on what will sell the most jerseys, and when team owners didn't have entourages whose existence was defined by yelling at refs in unison while wearing coordinating outfits. It was a very different era... and certainly a simpler time.
I had to imagine what was going through his head... Kidd, that is... as he stood at the top of the key, watching Jason "JET" Terry prepare to shoot free throws, and actually heard the announcer say "JET Terry, approaching the runway, for two shots."
The Dallas this Jason Kidd left many years ago was a simple one, and terrible team or not, basketball was still the focus. Now he was standing in a world full of grandiose, money-making fluff with a team known across the league for its ridiculous attempts at constant, annoying and expensive entertainment that our ticket prices alert us we are paying for in the most undiscreet manner possible. Kidd's only reminder that he really had gotten on the right plane to return to Dallas was likely the flash of the cowboy hat on the sideline as Don Carter would stand to cheer on the return of a player he had hand-selected so many years ago.
What he won't recognize is all the entitlement this town seems to feel with regard to an NBA championship. And before he even gets out of a hotel and into a real home, the assumption that "If it doesn't happen this year, the trade was a failure" will have permeated every radio station and local sportscaster's evening chat just as over-priced, unimpressive restaurants have saturated Victory Park for the past two years.
And just as we saw last night and today, in a culture engrossed with blame in a city even more engrossed with problem admiration, aka whining, someone always has to be to blame when things don't go our way. Currently, it is Avery. Next week it will be whoever is the next easiest person to blame. And because of that endearing entitled personality, we will cut every single one of our fingers and toes off to cure the arthritis until we can no longer walk or feed ourselves. Par for this city's course, I'd say.
I mean this in the most loving way possible... but get over yourself, Dallas. Just because you can become a local celebrity by lip-syncing the words to a song at a Mavs game, or get ladies in bed by saying you work for Cuban - or by being him - doesn't mean that anyone in this town knows what it means to truly be a basketball fan. Football? Yes sir. We have seen the highs and lows. Committed Cowboys fans exist all over this town... good or bad... exciting or boring. They are there every game, sweating it out each year in a crappy stadium that often houses a crappy team. And fans those certainly are.
The Mavs? I'm not sure most of this city knew we even had a basketball team until the AA Center opened. And just for the record, you used to not be able to buy a margarita at a Mavs game. Shocking, ladies... I know. Freshen's Yogurt and beer were the two most exciting things on the menu. But these days your social status is defined by how many ushers you have to show your ticket to reach your seat, and whether or not your name is actually the one on the ticket owning the bonds.
Just as much as the next guy, I want to see this team win a championship. Believe me. There is nothing I want more. But as soon as it happens - I hope Dirk & Kidd both retire and this team takes a nose dive. I hope it becomes UNtrendy to love the Mavs, and I hope we can all once again be reminded of the pureness of this sport and why any of us were willing to sit through that first decade of the Mavs existence and bite the bullet.
Until then, though, I couldn't be more content watching the new #2 make everyone in attendance regret the 2.5 years they had this phenom in their backyard for about 25% of what they pay today for a ticket, and they never even knew it.
And no matter what happens this spring or summer, all I know is that I'm glad I saved my old Kidd jerseys. I'm sure they will be the new hot fashion item to wear to the Mavs games for quite awhile, and personally I don't think there is anything wrong with capitalizing on the vanity of this city... and I'm sure as soon as he gets over the shock of it all, neither will Jason Kidd.