By Ben Golliver
Dirk Nowitzki has been down in the dumps a bit lately, wondering aloud whether the Mavericks will be players in free agency, prompting owner Mark Cuban to publicly assure his franchise forward that he wouldn't be traded.
So it's good to see Nowitzki back to his jovial self in this hilarious video from Dallas' 117-112 overtime victory over Sacramento on Thursday.
With the Mavericks leading 100-98 with less than a minute remaining in regulation, the three referees gathered around courtside video monitors to conduct an official review. Nowitzki wanted to poke his head into the group, perhaps to get a look at how the replay would fall or to conduct a little gamesmanship given the tight time/score situation. Two Sleep Train Arena security guards were assigned to create a buffer between the officials and the players, and one of the security guards got the unenviable task of staying between Nowitzki and the referees as he non-violently tried to wind his way towards the officials.
Once Nowitzki realized how seriously the security guard was taking his job, he upped his own antics, walking back and forth a little more quickly, gesturing to distract him, pump-faking different directions and then finally mock punching the guard in the stomach. The guard stayed in character throughout, trying to avoid a smile as he shuffled back and forth, keeping Nowitzki at bay.
"That's the best defense Sacramento has played," the Mavericks announcers joked on the broadcast. "You understand your man not getting in front of you."
Indeed, the security guard showed excellent lateral agility, moving left-to-right and right-to-left seamlessly while avoiding any ticky-tack fouls by keeping his hands behind his back. Bravo for a job well done. Video via YouTube user dallasmavericks | Hat tip: @Marcel_Mutoni