Best Of :: People & Places
After just three seasons with the Dallas Stars, Jamie Benn has already flown up the ranks to become the face of the franchise. Not since Mike Modano rode his feathered mullet into town have we seen a player with such skill lace up for the celestial skaters. Benn has seen his point totals increase with each season, and with another year of experience and salty vets Ray Whitney and Jaromir Jagr coming aboard this year, "Benner" could be poised for a true breakout. His combination of finesse and brute strength are not often found on the rink, making him a lethal force and the embodiment of the team's pesky attitude. Speaking of pesky, Benn had an appendectomy last season, so now there is nothing holding the British Columbian back from ultimate hockey glory.
Do we need to add to what we said in previous Best of Dallas write-ups, or the People Issue love we showed for the guys behind The Texas Theatre's revival? A refresher: the so-bad-they're-good genre flicks at Tuesday Night Trash; the bar; the arthouse films you won't see anywhere else; the bar; the revival of past classics; the bar; the Oak Cliff Film Festival; the bar. For us, seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on 35mm was enough to seal a repeat victory.
The Mavs may have had a disappointing 2011-2012 season, but Delonte West's toughness and dogged defensive play were a highlight, and we're glad to hear he'll be returning for basketball reasons alone. But his unique personality has made his off-the-court presence especially refreshing. His Twitter account is always entertaining, whether he's tweeting pictures of his own vomit or urging Deron Williams to come help bring another championship title to Dallas. He teaches young ballers in charity basketball clinics, despite coming to the team so broke that he had to sleep in the locker room and had to work for a furniture-moving company during the lockout — very humbling, considering he's made millions over his career. Yet he kept his head up despite the troubling circumstances and has proved to be a great example of how to live with bipolar disorder even under the media spotlight.
Jason Kidd, the 39-year-old point guard who helped lead the Mavericks to their championship in 2011, shocked Dallas July 5 when he signed a three-year contract with the New York Knicks for $9.5 million — just half a million more than what the Mavs reportedly offered. Ten days later, at about 2 a.m. on July 15, he crashed his Cadillac Escalade into a utility pole and was subsequently arrested on drunken-driving charges after he refused a blood-alcohol test. Even more delicious, the wreck knocked out cable in the neighborhood — cable that was supplied by a company of which Knicks owner James Dolan is president and CEO. We're glad he wasn't seriously injured, of course, but will have to admit to enjoying a bit of schadenfreude over the incident.
In the days leading up to the NFL opener, it was said, somewhere on the AM dial, that the Cowboys would struggle to contain the Giants' offense because the Cowboys had "no pass rush." It was an understandable assessment, given their inability to so much as breathe on Eli Manning last season. But then the season opener came, and we all remembered: DeMarcus Ware. He bull-rushed his way to 19.5 sacks last season, helping the Cowboys amass the seventh-most sacks in the league — as many as the vaunted San Francisco 49ers — and he racked up two in this season's opener. He is the best in the league at one of its most important positions, especially in the era of 40 pass attempts a game. If the quarterback is back there throwing — and he so often is nowadays — Ware will be back there with him, right where the Cowboys need him.
Don't let Adrian Beltre's recent onslaught confuse the issue: Josh Hamilton is the Rangers' star. And don't let Hamilton's expiring contract cloud your judgment: You want him, you need him, you have to have him. Maybe not for what the market will demand — he'll be asking for roughly all the money ever, with a player option for the change in your couch. But still. He and Beltre produced roughly the same last year, right around .300 with 100 RBIs and an OPS nearing .900. Trust us, neophytes, those are gargantuan numbers, and Hamilton's have only grown in 2012. Together with that style, that swagger, that story, you can't help but admit: This dude's got it all. How 'bout we wait till November to get all depressed about it?