DALLAS _ Vince Carter wants to set the record straight.
Those two Detroit fans who appeared as though they were sitting on the Dallas Mavericks’ bench during Tuesday’s game against the Pistons were actually sitting in some expensive courtside seats. However, when TV cameras caught the pair sitting between Delonte West and Carter, it went viral -- for all the wrong and laughable reasons.
Carter, though, tells another tale about what happened when he came out of the game and couldn’t find a seat on the Mavs’ bench.
“Everybody kept saying (the two fans) were sitting on our bench, but they weren’t sitting on our bench,’’ Carter said. “They were sitting courtside.
“So when I came out of the game there was nowhere to sit -- but those seats right there on the end.’’
The NBA called the Mavs during the game and informed them that Carter was in violation and demanded that they tell him to get back in the secured area of the Mavs’ bench.
NBA spokesman Tim Frank said the two fans “were in their ticketed seats. Vince sat in a ticketed seat instead of the bench and it gave the appearance that they were actually on the bench, but they weren’t on the bench. They were in ticketed seats.
“For a lack of a better term, (Jack) Nicholson’s seat (at Los Angles Laker games) sit there at the end. They’re at the back end of the bench instead of the front end of the bench.’’
Carter knew something was out of the ordinary when he couldn’t find a place to sit next to West. But his hands were tied -- until the Mavs got the call from the NBA.
“I wasn’t going to ask them to move, because they paid their money to sit there,’’ Carter said. “I didn’t feel obligated to do that.
“I see where people blew it all of out of proportion. They were sitting there, they were cool and they were watching the game and minding their business.’’
So Carter just found the first empty seat he could find, and sat in it. But unfortunately, he was not on the Mavs’ bench.
“They were in their courtside seats, so there was no room on the bench,’’ Carter said. “That was the only seat left.
“I guess the other two people didn’t come, so I just sat right there.’’
The NBA, understandably, wants all of its players in the secure area on their bench just in case an altercation occurs.
For the Mavs’ sake, the events of Tuesday night were harmless and fodder for the talking heads on radio talk shows. Frank even admits it looked like the two Piston fans were on the Mavs’ bench having a beer.
“But then I went back and checked with our people, and those folks did nothing wrong,’’ Frank said. “They were in the right seats.’’
-- Dwain Price
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