After 13 seasons at the head of the Mavericks, marked by the 2011 title, Rick Carlisle found Dallas. Absent during the meeting between the Mavs and the Pacers, on December 10, because he was then in quarantine, the moment was therefore special, and the coach had a hard time holding back his tears at the time of the video tribute.
” I did not expect that “, commented the 62-year-old technician after the heavy defeat of his team. “The only other time I felt that kind of emotion was when we hoisted the league banner in the first game of the 2011/12 season, which was cut short by the lockout. It was the same kind of feeling. I didn’t expect something like this. It was a wonderful gesture, which I greatly appreciate. »
In addition to the sporting aspect, this return to Texas was special on a personal level for Rick Carlisle, especially since his wife and daughter still live in Dallas. “It’s an unusual day, but it’s great to be back.”
After the game, there were a lot of people waiting to hug Rick Carlisle and talk to him. Dallas managers, assistants and players lining up on the field.
One of the first was Jason Kidd, his successor, whom Rick Carlisle recommended after directing him. One of the last was Luka Doncic, the relationship between the two men not having always been easy, but the Slovenian emphasized the positive for this return, recalling everything his former coach had taught him .
“I was with him my first three years and I learned a lot. He helped me in a way too, so that was a special moment. The tribute was special for him. You could see it, and he deserves it. »