Mark Cuban promised something “crazy” at the game last night. We found out just how crazy at the end of the first quarter. He appeared at center court with an American Airlines marketing executive by the name of Dan Garton. Both had microphones and were beset by photographers and reporters (see USA Today and the News). The crowd had been told to expect a special announcement. Electricity was in the air.
GARTON: To congratulate the Mavericks on a great season, we’d like to give the coaches and the entire team free round-trip tickets on American Airlines.
[Clapping from the crowd, but also a fair amount of booing. I mean, because, come on, the players don’t need free tickets. They’re rich.]
CUBAN: [in MFFL t-shirt, natch] Thanks, Dan. That’s very generous of you and American Airlines. But you said you wanted to give free tickets to the entire team. What about Mavs fans? We couldn’t have had the season we did without them. They’re part of the team, too!
[I’m paraphrasing here, because I didn’t take actual notes on account of Adam forgot to bring a pen. But the crowd ate it up. Wild applause. Do you see what Cuban has done? He’s beat this Dan Garton fellow at his own game! He has turned his marketing efforts against him, painted him into a logical corner from which he cannot extricate himself. He said it: “the entire team.” So he has no choice but to give everyone in the AAC a free ticket. Brilliant!]
CUBAN: What do you say, Mavs fans? Does everyone want a free round-trip ticket on American Airlines?
[even wilder applause]
GARTON: [shrugging shoulders, turning palms upward, knowing he’s been outsmarted–Darn you, Mark Cuban!] Okay, Mark. You’ve got a point. So free round-trip tickets for every Mavs fan in the building tonight to anywhere American flies from Love Field!
[Triple wild appluause. The crowd comes to its feet. If they could kiss Mark Cuban, they would. He has won the day! He is their hero! Then, as the photographers and Cuban and Garton file off the court, a buzz settles over the crowd as everyone asks each other: “Where does American fly from Love Field?”]
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