Ranking the Dallas Mavericks' "Hotline Bling" Parody Cameos

In his God-given role as the Willy Wonka of memes, Drake is performing at Steph Curry levels. And none of y’all are, like, tired of “Hotline Bling” yet, right? Okay, I know, that would be crazy. Who could be tired of this? This is decadence: If you don’t love it, you’re probably a fascist, and you definitely hate fun. Following the example set by Donald Trump — always a good idea — our very own Dallas Mavericks have launched their brand into this exclusive, meme-ified stratosphere. Behold: “Shotline Bling.”

Breathe deep, Dallas. This is the good stuff.

Now I say “brand,” as opposed to team, because it doesn’t look like any actual players were involved in this minor masterpiece, just cheeky stills of their faces — though, for the record, Dirk Nowitzki most definitely takes time between David Hasslehoff jams to get down with “Hotline Bling” every so often (ask anyone). Much as I wanna see Nowitzki and Wesley Matthews getting in some bonding time, reminding everyone that even famous rich people are hella corny, it’s probably good that this was an intern-only operation, so to speak. They’ve got a long season ahead of them in a conference that happens to include an alien being whose mystical powers we’re only beginning to understand. Probably best to restrict any hijinks to areas with practice hoops nearby.

The Mavs have come out of the gate fairly strong, though — better than predictions. Tim Cato, editor-in-chief of the SBNation site Mavs Moneyball, told me earlier this week the “surprising 6-4 record” reflects some luck with injuries and a “lights out” start from 37-year-old Nowitzki. “The Mavericks should be up and down this year, but through 10 games, they at least look rather fun,” Cato says. Up against the Warriors, Spurs and Thunder (to name just three Western Conference juggernauts), sometimes that’s all you can hope for. In these conditions, the award we are about to hand out is, quite possibly, the most important Mavericks competition that we'll see this season.

To be clear, on-court performance has been entirely disregarded — this minute of tape represents the entirety of the judge's criteria. And gentlemen, before we begin: Good luck. May the best man win.

“Shotline Bling” Power Rankings

Bench Warmers

Dwight Powell: It took some serious Googling to figure out who that was doing stair sits, and I’m honestly still not 100 percent sure I’m right. Sorry, Jeff Van Gundy, I don’t make the rules.

Charlie Villanueva: Not enough hustle to justify much playing time. Sit back, watch and learn.

Role Players

Devin Harris: I used to think of Harris as the guy who could give Tony Parker nightmares come playoff time — not gonna make All-NBA this way, kid. Still, we can use that enthusiasm in the locker room.

Chandler Parsons: He looks a little out of sync out there, not quite fitting in with our overall strategy. But I like the effort — it means there’s room for improvement.

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The Starters

Deron Williams: Bringing us in, he exudes a calm assurance. Every franchise needs a spark-plug. But I’m not sure he’s earned the right to carry us on his shoulders.

Wesley Matthews: If you look closely, he’s taking care to do the little things, an ingredient that defines the difference between championship-winning clubs and the losers. That said, not much there in the way of highlight plays. We need to see more if we’re gonna build the team around him.

Dirk Nowitzki: Perfect jump shots won’t help you here, mein Freund. I like what the big man brings to the table, but I’m not sure I can trust him to follow through; it takes serious stones to be your best in the clutch.

Zaza Pachulia: This one took me by surprise, but watching a master work is pure joy. Confidence abounds. Just the type of performance we’d like to see every night, leading our squad.

The MVP

JJ Barea: I have to say, this is also unexpected. On the court, his scrappy style is aesthetically displeasing on a fundamental level, no matter how effective it is on the stat sheet. But in this context, it’s just the opposite — I can’t look away. If predictions were in order, I’d be on record that we won’t see another performance like this for some time. Savor it, fans. Talent like this doesn't come around every day, or every decade.

That's all from me, folks, thanks for tuning in. Join us again the next time someone decides "Hotline Bling" hasn't been through enough.


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