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The Idle American
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 • Posted April 15, 2009

Circus barkers across the years have, well, “barked” about amazing acts in three rings for “children of all ages.”

The best of them, however, fade when compared to the colorful, non-stop goings on at professional sports venues.

And the “best of the best” may be the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks, where mastermind team owner Mark Cuban holds forth. Someone said that he thinks not only outside the box, but maybe outside the universe, as he and his folks offer a total entertainment package that includes a basketball game….

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Exhibit “A” is a recent game with the Phoenix Suns. It was a “laugher,” of sorts, with the Mavs winning, 140-116. In this contest, Jason Kidd moved to the #3 position in NBA assist records as he fired passes to scorers on 20 occasions.

On pace to score 160 points when reserves took over for most of the fourth quarter, the starters were able to take their rest.

With the outcome sealed early, Dallas fans leaned back to absorb sights and sounds, maybe even catch T-shirts fired from cannon-like courtside contraptions….

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Perhaps the biggest “buzz” of the 20,000+ fans on homeward drives had nothing to do with the game. Instead, focus was on a promotion often attempted, but never previously accomplished.

A 26-year-old Austin fan plucked from the audience for a second-quarter promotion made four baskets to claim $3,250 worth of furniture. Fisher Floyd became the first contestant to make a lay-up, free throw, three-pointer AND a basket from mid-court.

His nothing-but-net shots warranted extended applause. He bowed before blowing a kiss. Many fans may have “felt smacked,” but the airborne smooch was actually for his wife, Lindsey. He figured it might soften her response to his prize choice—a pool table….

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Floyd appeared relaxed enough to take on Superman in a building-bounding contest.

“No, I was anything but relaxed,” he admitted. “Just before the promotion, they took me to the practice gym. I put on tennis shoes, then took 15-20 warm-up shots, making a couple out of a dozen from mid-court.”

Further, he complained of a cramp in his left thigh. He wasn’t sure that he’d be able to loft the ball for any of the shots.

Though his amateur status remains intact, it turns out that the 6-2, 190-pound prize-winner is not devoid of basketball experience. He was a two-year starter at Highland Park High School, where the 2001 graduate led his team to play-off honors during his senior season. He was named “offensive player of the year” in District 13-AAAA, and later played intramural basketball at University of California, Santa Barbara….

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Orlando Magic promotion people might do well to “go to school” on Dallas’ wall-to-wall, stem-to-stern, never-a-dull-moment approach. (Dull moments are not allowed at the AAC, and if detected would be quickly escorted from the arena.)

Orlando’s April Fool’s Day promotion, just three day’s before Floyd’s AAC feat, didn’t set well. There, a blind-folded fan was told that if he hit a shot from mid-court, he would be awarded a hundred grand. As the blind-fold was knotted, fans were advised to “clap anyway.” They did, and the “winner” jumped about in high animation, thinking he had won.

Then, he was handed a “100 Grand” candy bar. Ouch. The guy had just been laid off from his job. He and a bunch of the fans were not amused….

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Finally, speaking of “ouches,” surely veteran Maverick TV analyst Bob Ortegel should be forgiven if he spews an invective about yet another memorable and ever-so-rare basketball feat that Sunday afternoon. I’m referring to Josh Howard’s 71-foot prayer of a shot that banked in a split second before the half-time buzzer.

On hundreds of occasions, Ortegel has spoken of buzzer-beating shots that “might be the one,” grousing privately at his disgust when players have time for last-second shots, but simply don’t take them. At almost any other game of the year, he would have painted Howard’s performance in brightest colors for the TV audience. Alas, this particular game was telecast exclusively by ABC. Look for him and his broadcast buddy, Mark Followill, to make future references to the shot.

If you run into either of them, give them a “100 Grand”; they like candy bars. And if you visit “The Dump,” the Dallas furniture firm sponsoring the four-shot promotion, ask folks there if they ever expected to “pony-up” with the prize. Finally, computer phobes are invited to visit youtube.com. Type in “fishin&swishin” to view Fisher’s feat. One of his friends made a video with his cell phone. It has upbeat music, with lyrics “rapped out” way too fast for old ears to process….

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Dr. Newbury is a speaker and writer in the Metroplex. He welcomes inquiries and comments. Email: newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com

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