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Luka Doncic, Zac Crain’s Eldest Son, Is Good at Basketball, Pt. 343,421

| 1 week ago


Tim just DM’d me the above tweet and demanded I put it on FrontBurner. So here we are. This is coming two days after Dwyane Wade proclaimed that Zac Crain’s Slovenian Son was “LeBron James-like” in his passing and court vision. And now he’s in Charlotte for the All Star Game, shooting jumpers from half-court. I like two things especially about this video—that he shoots this like he’s on top of the three-point line, not heaving his whole body forward, and then how excited he gets to win a crisp hundred. That’s probably about equal to me winning one American dollar in a dice game. I promise to get as hyped as Luka from this point forward.

And while we’re on this subject, I also really enjoy this Luka video.

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Sports & Leisure

A Quick Farewell Tour of the D Magazine Office By the Harrison Barnes Bobblehead That, If We Are Being Honest, Looks More Like Raja Bell

| 2 weeks ago
The Harrison Barnes bobblehead that doesn’t look much like him says goodbye to the D Magazine staff.

Harrison Barnes was traded Wednesday night — during (omg) the Mavs’ game against Charlotte Hornets — to the Sacramento Kings. Harrison Barnes was a solid player who was kind of a ball stopper and a really good guy in the community. I almost rode bikes with Harrison Barnes once for a story. Harrison Barnes has a great nickname — Black Falcon — that I think he gave to himself, that he never uses anymore. We wish Harrison Barnes well.

Last season, or maybe the season before that, we acquired a Harrison Barnes bobblehead. I am 98 percent sure the Mavericks sent it over. Probably Erin Feingold, if I am continuing to make educated guesses. Anyway, like some bobbleheads, it doesn’t really look like Harrison Barnes that much. It’s not the bobblehead’s fault. It’s no one’s fault, really. That’s just the game.

Anyway anyway, today, just now, in fact, it said goodbye to the D Magazine offices, because I am going to send it to Sacramento Magazine. I assume they have such a thing. Honestly, between, you, me, and our CMS, I’m just writing “Sacramento Magazine aka S Magazine aka Sacramento Monthly” on a box and hoping it gets to who needs it.

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Sports & Leisure

Catch Local Players John Isner and Alex Kuznetsov at T Bar M Racquet Club Tonight

| 2 weeks ago

This year’s RBC Challenger of Dallas at T Bar M Racquet Club has had one of the most impressive line-ups in years. If you’re not a tennis geek, the RBC is Dallas’ one annual ATP pro tournament (the Irving Tennis Classic, held up until last year at the Four Seasons, is no more). This week, you could have run into the dreadlocked Dustin Brown at Bird Bakery or the Four Seasons, or the ever entertaining Nick Kyrgios warming up at SMU (the guys in my Wednesday night drill were practically drooling when they caught a glimpse of him last week). Those two are now out, but our two local boys are still in: John Isner, the highest ranked male player in the U.S., and Alex Kuznetsov, the otherwise retired pro and current hitting partner of Maria Sharapova. They’ll be playing doubles together tonight, with John returning to the tournament for the first time in 10 years. Here’s a great shot from Dustin’s Instagram of the player party at the Star:

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Sports & Leisure

Wait What — The Mavs Just Got Kristaps Porzingis

| 3 weeks ago
the god Kristaps

Out of nowhere — seriously, I never even heard a whisper of this — the Mavericks have traded Dennis Smith Jr., Wes Matthews, and DeAndre Jordan (and a draft pick or maybe two or whatever who cares) for Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and KRISTAPS PORZINGIS. What in the hell in the world? Porzingis is recovering from a torn ACL but my guy is nicknamed Unicorn for a reason. He blocks shots, rains threes, crosses dudes over, and takes photos like the one I have included here. Also, he is 7-foot-3. My goodness. Wow.

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Sports & Leisure

Who Smashed It Best?

| 1 month ago

I can’t even begin to talk about last night. So I’ll start with the good news. Americans Sam Querrey and Ryan Harrison have made in to the semis in men’s doubles (tonight) at the Australian Open, besting Jack Sock, another fellow American, who is already one of the greatest doubles players of all time.

Harrison will be in town in less than two weeks’ time for the RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas at the T Bar M Racquet Club, February 4–10. This is the annual local ATP tournament where you can see guys like Sock, Kei Nishikori, and the bicep-thumping Frances Tiafoe up close by the ice tea dispenser in the club hallway (Hey, Taylor Fritz!) for as little as $20. (Disclaimer: I am an at-large board member for the Dallas Tennis Association, which hosts a silent auction for the Dallas Tennis and Education Academy at the event.)

Harrison is worth watching. He’s one of the top 10 American male players (Highland Park resident John Isner is #1), and he’s still chasing his big break. That is, when he’s not making big breaks. The guy is known for smashing rackets. He once took out five in a matter of minutes at Indian Wells, even stomping one for good measure.

Serena Williams’ racket smash at the U.S. Open final was the one heard round the world when it resulted in a point penalty, followed by a game penalty, followed by the loss of the match to Naomi Osaka, but in the crushed frame scheme of things, it was relatively tame (a single blow broke it in four places).

Harrison was back to smashing rackets last week, during a straight-set loss to Daniil Medvedev. But he wasn’t the only player brought to violence in the summer heat of the Australian Open. Let’s compare.

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Sports

Why the Emergence of Tony Romo as a Superstar Broadcaster Is Not Surprising

| 1 month ago

I had not watched an entire football game this season until this past Sunday. By the second quarter of the first game of the season, it was obvious my N.Y. Giants had nothing. I enjoyed some early season Schadenfreude as the Cowboys stumbled out of the gate, but when they actually started to play well, I couldn’t bear to watch it. And so Sunday night’s AFC Championship game between the New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs was the first time I really listened to CBS broadcaster Tony Romo in action. Like just about everybody else, I was blown away.

It’s not the first time Romo has turned heads in the booth. But what he managed to do Sunday night–calling play after play before they happened, explaining the action on the field like a filmmaker explaining his shot choices on a DVD director’s commentary–was remarkable. It made a frustrating Patriots win (like most of America, I was pulling for the Saints and the Chiefs Sunday) enjoyable to watch. Romo somehow emerged from the game as much of a star as Tom Brady. It may have helped earn Romo a fat contract extension.

His broadcast booth performance had me thinking about a story I wrote about Romo’s rise to the NFL in 2012. The article looked at Romo’s unlikely rise from a small town high school star athlete to NFL superstar through the lens of a single high school football game he played back in 1997. Listening to Romo call the game Sunday, I was reminding of an aspect of Romo’s athleticism that many of the coaches and teammates who played with the future Cowboys quarterback cited as key to his rise. From an early age, Romo possessed an uncanny ability to read the game of football. 

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Sports & Leisure

An Expanded Assessment of the Mavs’ City Edition Uniforms

| 1 month ago

The jersey you see pictured here is part of the Dallas Mavericks’ new City Edition uniform. The City Edition sets debuted last season, when the NBA switched to Nike as its uniform supplier. They change from year to year and give teams a chance—in theory, at least—to get creative. Minnesota’s are purple, paying tribute to native son Prince, and Brooklyn uses a Coogi sweater pattern on the trim of its unis to honor The Notorious B.I.G. Denver’s are a modern update of their iconic rainbow skyline uniforms from the 1980s, and Miami has brought back its basically perfect neon “Vice” jerseys from last season with a slight tweak. Most of the City Editions are personal and aesthetically very pleasing, with thoughtful details and considered choices.

The jersey you see here is very much none of those things.

I thought last year’s iteration was sort of boring—the neon green lines that nodded to Bank of America Plaza in downtown were fine, if you got the reference—but it looks like it was designed by Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Abloh in comparison to this one. Which, according to the press release I received when it was unveiled in November, is called the True Maverick. As in:

“A True Maverick is a little unorthodox and fearless. It’s an out-of-the-box thinker with a Lone Star swagger. Rooted deep in Dallas heritage, a True Maverick is bold, with an unrelenting passion for the game, uniquely genuine and progressive, just like the city it belongs to.”

I mean … what? An “out-of-the-box thinker”? Is this a jersey for a corporate retreat in 1998? Is this a jersey or a LinkedIn profile for someone who calls himself a “social media ninja”?

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Sports & Leisure

Meet the Branding Wiz Behind the College Football Playoff

| 2 months ago

You could call Gina Lehe the Charlotte Jones Anderson of college football.

Since its formation, Lehe has been a driving force in making sure the College Football Playoff is a thing. A marketing guru and seasoned pro who brings deep bowl-game experience to her post, Lehe oversees external relations and branding for the CFP. She must be doing something right; the system has been embraced by fans and attracts an approval rating that consistently tops 80 percent. “It’s well received because you can explain it and people understand it,” Lehe says.

If you’re into college football, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the CFP. If not, here’s a primer: The CFP oversees a postseason tournament that puts a chill on heated debates and bar brawls by declaring an outright national college football champ. It replaced the confusing and complex Bowl Championship Series and, prior to that, the Bowl Alliance and Bowl Coalition. A CFP selection committee decides which four college teams will participate in the playoff each season; the winners of two semifinal games advance to the national championship. Semifinals rotate between what’s known as the New Year’s Six: the Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Peach, Rose, and Sugar bowls.

The CFP is largely funded by ESPN, which inked a 12-year deal to broadcast the games through 2026. The cost? $608.3 million per year, or a cool $7.3 billion.

Even the most ardent fans may not know that the CFP has been based in Irving since its inception. It occupies an expansive office on the 10th floor of a high-rise along John Carpenter Freeway in the Urban Center, where Lehe and the CFP team work year-round, when they’re not traveling to game sites, meetings, or related functions. (“It’s the No. 1 question I get,” says Lehe: “Is that a full-time job?”)

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Health & wellness

Peccadilloes, Penances, and the Wellness Rollercoaster of Life

| 2 months ago

In between cultured butter tastings and winter cocktail samplings, we talk a lot about healthy living around here. We each have our own peccadilloes (cold brew, kouign-amanns, caipirinhas) and penances (SoulCycle, sliding lunges, stair climbing with the trainer for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders). For the most part, we want to have our chilipanzinga empanadas and fit in our Kiki de Montparnasse leggings with the lace inset, too.

But, despite my best efforts, in a little over a week I will turn 47. I recently realized, four years too late, that I reached my peak at 43. Turns out, life isn’t like a box of chocolates. At least for the first half, it’s more like ascending the Titan’s 255-foot hill at Six Flags.

You know that moment when your car crests and you hang, suspended in time, with nothing but blue sky ahead of you? That’s 43. Then comes the tipping point, when you discover it is all a gut-churning, panic-inducing, fist-clenching, sleep-denying, weight-gaining, nerve-pinching, full-speed descent from here on out. That’s perimenopause.

So, yeah, I’d like to throw some gravel on the tracks and slow this train down. I want to live my best life during my arthritic second half. I’d like to cleanse and look cute in my Bandier leggings and generally be more flexible, personally and physically (like the acro-yoga superstar couple of Max and Liz Lowenstein, shown above and on the current cover). But I’ll settle for a healthy heart rate and more wins on the tennis court.

The latter is the result of my attempt at sports-focused mindfulness with Melissa Marks for our January cover feature, “Build a Better You!” The former is, hopefully, a happy byproduct of said aerobic efforts on the court. Whatever you have in mind for your 2019, whether you’re still on the ascent or well into a 540-degree helix on the way down, we’ve put together an unusual, insightful, and useful guide to local options that can help improve your fitness and performance. More importantly, we hope they make the ride more fun. The cover story is online now

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Sports & Leisure

Did Cynt Marshall Really Not Know Who Mark Cuban Was?: A D Magazine Guess-tigation

| 2 months ago
Cynt Marshall, the new CEO of the Dallas Mavericks. (Photo by Jill Broussard)

Since Cynt Marshall took over as the CEO of the Dallas Mavericks last year, not long after Sports Illustrated exposed the almost unbelievably toxic workplace culture in the team’s business offices, she has repeatedly told the same story about not knowing who Mark Cuban was when the Mavs’ owner called the longtime AT&T exec to offer her the job. Over the holiday break, Bloomberg Businessweek ran a profile of Marshall and, once again, she made the claim:

When she got the call from Cuban in February, Marshall, 58, was living in Dallas and enjoying her retirement, having left AT&T in 2017. “‘It’s Mark Cuban!’ ” she remembers the voice on the other end of the line saying. “And I said, ‘Who is Mark Cuban?’ ”

I say “claim” because, I mean, come on. It’s a good story, especially if you want — and, frankly, need — to show how impartial your incoming CEO is, especially if she is coming into an active cautionary tale that sounds like a Forbes production of The Purge. But I believe it is just a story. And the proof is in that same Bloomberg Businessweek profile.

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