I loves me some Mark Cuban. Those of us who endured the Dallas Mavericks' failed "Three J's" era and countless snoozefests at Reunion Arena appreciate the extreme makeover he's performed on the franchise, on and off the court. The Mavs are on their way to a second-round showdown with the San Antonio Spurs, and in case you haven't been to a game this season, the dude has transformed the American Airlines Center into an absolute sensory circus. I went to Game 2 of the playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies last night and was slapped in the face by:
- Skinny Italian guys in tights juggling. Each other. Strippers. Of course, it was blue-haired fossils called the Granny-AACs--don't ask--ripping off tattered bath robes, exposing pasty rolls of flesh and then spanking their own asses. But, still, strippers! Courtside jester Chris Arnold bringing us to the edge of our seats with, "Everybody in the house tonight..." As images of American Airlines tickets to Tahiti formed in our heads, he jabbed us in the ribs with, "...can be the first to buy these new Mavericks playoff T-shirts." Ashton Kutcher would've been proud.
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Ironically, the last archaic function in the state-of-the-art arena is Cubes himself. For years, upon a controversial referee's call Cuban has ordered the video operator to replay the moment by wildly flailing his arm in a circular motion as if to say, "Again!" But still? With the arm? You'd think by now the most techno-savvy geek on God's green earth would've invented some sort of electronic gizmo to usurp manual communication. Or, just maybe, since the AAC is his circus, he really likes playing ringmaster. --Richie Whitt