Billy Surface

Personalities

The Dallas Mavericks Are Back, and So Is Devin Harris

Devin Harris returns to the Mavs for his third tour. But the veteran point guard never left Dallas.

You are now the first player to have three separate stints with the Mavericks. OK.

Did you know that? I did not know that.

I think you’re probably the first player ever to have three different stints with one team. That can’t be. I can’t believe that. [Editor’s note: Harris is right. Avery Johnson, his future coach, did it with the San Antonio Spurs.]

What did you think about Dallas when you got here in 2004? I grew up in Milwaukee, so it was quite different from what I’m used to, just because of the size of the city, the people, the culture was different. I remember one of the first things I got was a pair of cowboy boots. [laughs]

That’s a little on the nose. We had had a thing with the Chinese national team where we were kind of scrimmaging against the team, and we ended up going to Gilley’s, and I got fitted for a pair of cowboy boots. [laughs] I thought it was the oddest thing.

You’ve talked about how your first two years were hard on you as a player. What about off the court? That part came kind of natural. [laughs] I hung out a lot more at SMU so it was like a little bit of a college atmosphere, so that part fit in kind of well from what I was expecting.

Your first stint with the team ended in February 2008, when you were traded to the New Jersey Nets. That’s when I learned about how the business is in the NBA. And it wasn’t like I just walked in one day and it was like, “Hey, you got traded.” I went through a situation where, you know, it was out there in December. I had a severe ankle sprain and had to hear it on ESPN every day for two months. And we had just lost in the Finals two years ago, and then the next year we had the best record in the NBA. The pieces were here. It was hard to leave.

What was it like when the Mavericks won the title in 2011? It was the same guys. It was tough, but I was just happy for Dirk to finally get that championship for him.

Did you keep in touch with Dirk or any of the other players? I did. I lived here in the summertime. So I would see the guys in the summer.

You lived here in the summer this whole time? The whole time pretty much, yeah.

Why did you decide to kind of make your home here? It just sort of happened. I bought a house right before I got traded. And then the market crashed. So, I really liked the house, but I couldn’t get rid of it even if I wanted to. But I enjoyed my time here. Met my girlfriend here, who actually turned out to be my wife, and then I end up coming back, so it just all kind of worked out.

While you were living here in the summer, did you think you would come back here and play? It was always in the back of my mind at some point, and I would see Cubes out and about somewhere, and I would be like, “Yo, you need to get me back.” He was like, “I’m trying.” [laughs] So it was always kind of a thing that we always joked around about and, you know, didn’t really know it would happen like it did.

What do you feel about your role on the Mavs now? You know, I’m the second-oldest guy on the team.

That’s weird to me. I still think of you as young Devin. It is weird, but I’m stepping into that kind of mentorship. I can relate to so many guys, because at some point in my career I was in the position that they were in. I can relate to Dennis [Smith Jr.] and Luka [Doncic] because I’ve been a high draft pick. You know, I can relate to Harrison [Barnes] because I have been a No. 1 option on the team. I have been an All-Star but I can relate to some of the other guys who are a little bit further on the bench because I have been a sixth man. I’ve had to come off the bench.

You’ve done everything now. I have been everything. So I am able to share some of those experiences. But I also feel like I still can contribute on court as well.

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