Tony Romo suiting up for the Dallas Mavericks is a joke and Mark Cuban is the jester
The Dallas Mavericks may be a newly christened NBA also-ran suffering their first losing season of the century, but Mark Cuban’s ego has never been bigger, bolder or brighter. In a move only a self-righteous billionaire could love, the Mavericks will reportedly dress Tony Romo — yes, that Tony Romo — for their home finale on Tuesday night. Call it Cuban’s farce.
Romo, who last week announced his (forced?) retirement from football, will be in full uniform — No. 9, of course — for the game against the Nuggets, will participate in team meetings, shoot-arounds, the layup line and, if he doesn’t suffer a season-ending injury in said line, will apparently sit on the bench for all 48 minutes — the richest NBA cheerleader since Jim McIlvaine. It’s all part of a Romo tribute and a “very special sports experience” planned by the Mavs in honor of the city’s dearly departed QB. Mostly though, it’s a way to shine attention on a Dallas Mavericks team that’s been deserving of none during the 2016-17 season.
Cuban teased the signing on Friday when he said the team would bring in a “pass-first” point guard for the last few games of the season. This caused pundits to speculate as to the identity of the future Mavs player but — surprise — it was just Romo. He was a quarterback. Quarterbacks pass the ball. Get it?
So while teams jockey for playoff position, players go for historic stats and the dust settles before what promises to be a wild postseason, Cuban has ensured that the final days of the NBA season will be dominated by news from a team that won’t be heard from again until the ping-pong balls drop in next month’s lottery.
Romo played basketball at Burlington High School in Wisconsin where he shared all-county honors with former NBAer Caron Butler, who was on the Mavs for the team’s title season in 2011. Romo actually averaged more points than Butler that year and was named conference player of the year over him too. But basketball prowess means nothing in this publicity stunt masquerading as a celebration. It’s zero percent about basketball, 25% about Romo and 75% about PR for Cuban’s Mavs.
What is it? A move to sell tickets? To boost TV ratings? To get talked about on the internet, water cooler and (the insufferable)…