Can you feel it Mavs fans? We are only 4 days away from the pre-season tip-off. Who else to represent that number than one of the greatest Mavericks ever to play, Michael Finley.
Finley was drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 21st overall pick in 1995. He played for the University of Wisconsin, where he had quite a bit of success, and even held the all-time scoring record for over 10 years. His 1st season with Phoenix landed him on the NBA All-Rookie 1st Team, averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.
Despite his successful season with Phoenix, the Suns decided to trade Finley, Sam Cassell, A.C. Green, and a 2nd Round pick to Dallas for Jason Kidd, Loren Meyer, and Tony Dumas.
Finley immediately became the leader of the Mavericks, and along with Steve Nash and Dirk Nowitzki, they would become the “Big Three” in Big D, turning the Mavericks franchise contender for many years to come.
Finley would be selected to two All-Star games(2000,2001) and would even play for the US National Team in 2002. The group of Nash, Finley, and Nowitzki would entertain Mavericks fans everywhere for many years, but as much fun as the Mavericks were to watch, they could never ultimately get over the hump with that group.
In 2005, the Mavericks had to waive Finley in order to avoid luxury taxes. He was courted by many teams, but ultimately decided to choose the Mavericks long time rival, the San Antonio Spurs. This didn’t exactly resonate well with Mavericks fans, but even today he remains a fan favorite in Dallas.
In 2007, he went on to win his first and only NBA Championship with San Antonio. Steve Nash now remains the only one of the “Big Three” not to win a Championship. Finley would later sign with the Boston Celtics in 2010, and would eventually announce his retirement at the end of that season.
In the end, Finley was an integral part of turning a franchise full of mediocrity into a championship contender. Today, you can still find Finley getting involved with activities within the organization. Despite winning a ring with the rival Spurs, he is and always will be a Maverick.
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