The Dallas Mavericks were established in the NBA in 1980 as an expansion team. They play in the Western Conference and in the Southwest Division against in-state rivals the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs as well as the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans.
As many expansion teams find out, winning is hard in professional sports. The beginning of the Mavericks tenure saw disastrous seasons and a future All-Star, Kiki VanDeWeghe, refuse to play for the expansion despite being the first pick in franchise history.
The first success for Dallas came with the arrival of Mark Aguirre and Rolando Blackman, who led the Mavs to five consecutive postseason births. The furthest this team was able to reach was the 1988 conference finals, and Dallas would soon lose many of its star players which began a decade long losing streak.
Perhaps the three most influential figures in Mavericks history all joined the team within a two year span. Point guard Steven Nash was acquired in a trade in 1998 and German power forward Dirk Nowitzki joined the team on a draft day trade from the Milwaukee Bucks. In 2000, Mark Cuban became the owner of Dallas and quickly became one of the most well-known non-players in the league.
Along with Michael Finley, Nash and Nowitzki led the Mavs to many successful seasons at the turn of the century. After Nash went back to the Phoenix Suns, Dallas made the franchises first NBA finals in 2006, where they would lose to the Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O'Neal led Miami Heat. The next season's high expectations culminated in the best record in the NBA, but Dallas fell drastically short as they became the first one seed to lose to an eight seed in a best of seven series.
Having already established himself as the best European player ever, Dirk led the Mavs to another finals appearance, where they got revenge on the Heat and took down the Lebron James led super team to win the franchises first championship.
Nowitzki's success and loyalty to the Mavericks has established himself as the best player in their history, a title that will not be debated for many years to come. The current Mavericks are hoping that another European star, Luka Doncic, can follow in Dirk's footsteps and bring them back to the postseason.