Yesterday, Dallas Mavericks fans got a little extra pep in their step. While Phoenix Suns fans felt their faces scrunch up as they perused their twitter feed, probably.
Tell me this doesn’t sting to read.
Shawn Marion: "I love the Mavericks. I bleed blue, baby. I bleed that (Phoenix Suns) purple and orange, too. Dallas is home."— Dwain Price (@DwainPrice) August 25, 2016
This, on the same day NBATV replayed the soul-crushing Suns 2008 playoff loss to the Spurs in which Marion-replacement Shaquille O’Neal almost made a difference in the Suns playoff fate... but didn’t.
And now here’s Shawn Marion not even telling a Mavericks beat reporter that he bleeds more purple and orange than blue and white.
Suns fans are no different than any other team’s fans around the world in this regard.
No matter how rabid or casual, you always want to know that your former favorite player still bleeds the same team colors you do.
And when that player professes love for another team, the knots in the stomach invariably begin to form.
It doesn’t matter how they left, who burned who’s bridges, or what highs and lows they might have experienced on other teams.
What matters is that they still profess MORE love for your team than any other team that might have paid them to play their sport.
Comments to the contrary sting, like those from Shawn Marion this week to Mavericks beat writer Dwain Price.
“I was truly blessed to play the game for 16 years and I gave what I could give to it,” he said. “I think I could have given more in certain areas, but at the same time I felt I walked away from the game and I left an imprint on it.”
That imprint was certainly felt in Dallas and in Phoenix.
“I love the Mavericks,” Marion said. “I bleed blue, baby.
“I bleed that (Phoenix Suns) purple and orange, too. That’s where it started at. You never forget where it started, but Dallas is home.”
Marion played his first 8 1⁄2 years in Phoenix, all of it as the stellar, athletic freak called ‘The Matrix’. But he also played 7 1⁄2 years with other teams including Dallas, Miami, Cleveland and Toronto.
While he made the playoffs in 6 of 8 seasons for the Suns, he made the playoffs in 4 of 5 seasons with the Mavericks.
And while he reached the Conference Finals twice with the Suns, he won the whole g@dd@mmed thing with the Mavericks.
So while we Suns fans can wring our hands over Marion’s apparent “still holding a grudge” against the Suns for not making him the #1 option and giving him a max contract extension in 2008, we should also allow for the fact that Marion had some good times outside Phoenix and maybe, just maybe, he has a right to love Dallas as much as he loved Phoenix.
Marion reached the pinnacle of his athletic career in 2011 with the Mavericks when they won the NBA Championship as the underdog against the league’s first superteam.
“I’m like this: ‘You put your pants on one leg at a time just like I do,’ ” a defiant Marion said to Price. “There’s ways to go out there and beat guys.”
He found a home in his 30s as a wing defender willing to do all the little things while Dirk Nowitzki and others grabbed the headlines.
Of course that’s going to leave the sweetest taste in your mouth. He even tagged along with LeBron James’ run to the Finals a year ago before bowing out of the NBA after 16 magical seasons.
So forgive Marion if Conference Finals appearances in Phoenix are overshadowed by later accomplishments.
And feel glad that he even went out of his way to a Mavericks beat reporter, knowing his words would be shared with thousands of Mavs fans, to even mention that he also bleeds purple and orange as well as blue.
Get this guy in the purple and orange Ring of Honor, Mr. Sarver.
Even if some of his blood would run blue.