Take it from a Dallas native and lifelong Cowboys nut: Beneath its bluster, Big D is an insecure little kid of a town. It compensates with a need for domination that, in sports terms, produces cartoon megalomaniacs like Jerry Jones and Mark Cuban (pictured).
Cowboys owner Jones is the World's Richest Redneck, and he reigns over the Britney Spears of pro sports franchises. Mavericks owner Cuban is 50 going on 12. The multi-billionaire is currently facing a lawsuit on allegations of small-stakes insider trading - doh! - and is infamous in NBA circles for his baby-man tantrums and inability to keep his trap shut.
Neither mogul is stupid, just morally obtuse, and each begs the question, what price victory?
The staggeringly talented, karmically challenged Cowboys seem as far removed from the Super Bowl as is Jones' salvage project Adam "Pacman" Jones from winning Man of the Year at the local Rotary Club. The Mavs have mad skillz, too - for a perpetual seventh seed in the West.
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Like their owner, the regular-season wonders are powder puffs. Take Mavericks superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki, who's a Top 5-caliber NBA player when he's not vanishing into the woodwork come crunch time. In fact, scroll up and down the rosters of both the Cowboys and Mavs, and good luck finding a true difference-maker like a Brett Favre or Tim Duncan.
Or someone with the lion's heart of a Kurt Warner or Steve Nash.
Mavs point guard Jason Kidd comes closest to filling that bill, but at 35, Kidd's difference-making days are done. In fact, the Mavs franchise seems more or less cooked as currently constituted. Jason Terry? Josh Howard? Erick Dampier? Yecch. Hell, Mark Cuban could charge an NBA championship on his credit card if he had any kind of clue. Thankfully, there really are some things money can't buy.
Phoenix's Steve Nash leads the Suns against his one-time team at 6 p.m. tonight at American Airlines Center in Dallas. See www.nba.com/suns. National TV: TNT. Local TV: Channel 45 (cable 9). Radio: KTAR-AM 620. -- Clay McNear