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Stephen Young
Errol Spence Jr.

Faced with his first appearance on pay-per-view and more than 40,000 fans at AT&T Stadium, Errol Spence Jr., DeSoto's homegrown welterweight champ, needed to make a memorable entrance. The Lancaster High School marching band did the trick, leading Spence into the ring before his March 16 title fight with Mikey Garcia. Spence dominated the ring walks, and the subsequent bout, winning all 12 rounds against Garcia.

The Dallas Mavericks lost an icon in 2019. Dirk Nowitzki, the team's heart and soul for two decades, rode off into the sunset in May. Taking the sting out of the loss was Dallas' favorite Slovenian import, Luka Doncic. After being selected with the third pick of the 2018 draft, Doncic arrived in Dallas with sky-high expectations. He exceeded them in his rookie year, averaging 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists per game on the way to winning the NBA's Rookie of the Year award.

Though he turned 20 in July, Miro Heiskanen was the Stars' best defenseman as a teenager during the 2018-'19 season. He takes care of his defensive responsibilities and has a stylish offensive game. Along with Dak Prescott, Luka Doncic and Jordan Spieth, Heiskanen helps make up a bumper crop of young, talented athletes who should thrill Dallas fans for decades.

It came like a lightning strike. Nomar Mazara, hitting in the bottom of the first against the Chicago White Sox's Reynaldo Lopez on June 21, stepped up to the plate and launched a baseball into the stratosphere. Eventually, it came down, landing near the top of Globe Life Park's upper home run porch, 505 feet away. To date, it's the longest home run ever hit in the Rangers' soon-to-be-former stadium. The Rangers lost the game, but Mazara won the night.

For Stars goaltender Ben Bishop, St. Louis' Enterprise Center might as well have been the Alamo. For three periods and almost two overtimes on May 7, Bishop saved the Stars from themselves, stopping 52 shots and keeping the Blues, the better team that night, at bay. Six minutes into the second overtime period, Bishop cracked, giving up the series-winning goal to the Blues' Pat Maroon. Bishop's performance was the noblest of noble failures.

Mike Minor hadn't started a major league game in three seasons when the Rangers signed him leading up to the 2018 season. You'd never know from his performances during his first two seasons with the team. After a good 2018, Minor's been great in 2019, making the American League All-Star team and hanging around the league's leaders in ERA throughout the season. When Globe Life Field, the Rangers' new stadium, opens in 2020, it is likely to be Minor who throws the first pitch.

If you've been to a Cowboys or a Rangers game, you know what a nightmare parking can be. You have to fight traffic on the way to the stadium, find a place to park, pay through the nose and walk half a mile to the stadium, knowing you'll have to walk the same half a mile after the game and fight the same traffic to get out. Or you could stop by the Grease Monkey before the game for a burger and a beer and take their game-day shuttle. At $5 per passenger, you might even come out ahead. But even if you don't, you won't have to deal with the sea of stadium parking lots, which makes you a winner.

Keith Allison
Amari Cooper is No. 89

After dropping to 3-4 after a loss to the Redskins, the Cowboys front office made a desperate move. In exchange for wide receiver Amari Cooper, the Cowboys gave the Raiders their 2019 first-round draft pick. Cooper, a two-time Pro Bowler, was better than advertised down the stretch in 2018, resuscitating an offense that had been dormant most of the season. While the Cowboys lost in the divisional playoffs, Cooper is the No. 1 wide receiver for the foreseeable future.

If this were a just world, Cowboys defensive play-caller Kris Richard would have an NFL team of his own to coach in 2019. It isn't, though, so the Cowboys will benefit from his outstanding motivational and scheme work for at least one more season. With Richard, the Cowboys defense is capable of scaling great heights, as it did when it held the Saints' prolific offense to 10 points the Thursday after Thanksgiving. Without him, it's merely average.

Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is a fan favorite after just one season, thanks to the joy and reckless abandon he brings to the Cowboys defense. He'd be cool enough without a nickname, thanks to his myth-like childhood in the Idaho mountains, but the one he's got — "Wolf Hunter" — is the perfect cherry on top.

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