DALLAS, Texas - The first time I can recall Shawn Marion doing anything in North Texas was a nasty throw down at TCU during a game in 1998. He was playing for UNLV, and here we are all of these years later and the man still has game.
His number will not be retired from the top of the American Airlines Center but since he was acquired by the Dallas Mavericks in July of 2009 he has been a total pro and one of this franchise's best players.
I was waaaaay wrong about The Matrix. I thought he was a guy cashing NBA checks who could not win. He is one of the bigger reasons why this team won the NBA title in 2011.
He is not as celebrated as a Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry or Tyson Chandler but his impact is on that level for this franchise.
The man is a pro who has done nothing but be reliable, play nearly every position, score, defend and rebound. How he scores with that God-awful ugly looking flip shot is a mystery, but it does work.
In his career he averages 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds in his career; thus far early in this season he is at 13.3 points and 10.7 rebounds.
"They go by so fast - it's like here and there," Marion said last week. "I probably don't dunk as much. I've adapted to every situation I've been in. I've been fortunate enough to be successful to change my style of play to accomodate every situation I've been in. My instincts were good, but I know the game more. I study the game more. I can tell situations before they happen. What's about to happen, what is not about to happen. I'm learning angles right now. It takes time. I have learned."
Now he is 35, and there is still something left. He is in the final year of his contract, so there will be some incentive left to play for another deal. To his credit, there should be zero doubt he would play hard regardless of how many years he had remaining on is deal. The man is a pro's pro, and a winner.
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