DALLAS—Dallas Mavericks fans had waited for Sunday for more than three decades, as they got a chance to raise the NBA Championship banner for the first time ever.
Sunday started off as pretty much any other Mavs game at the American Airlines Center, but the fans came to see more than just a game: They came to take part in a Christmas Day celebration.
"Today is awesome. I'm so excited. We actually drove here all the way from Huntsville just for this game. We're going straight back, so I'm super excited about it," said Courtney Ingleman.
"I'm so excited to be here. I watch the Mavericks religiously. I have my lucky shirt on from whenever they won the championship last year," said Ashley Spradling.
The pre-game festivities stole the spotlight, as fans cheered on their 2011 NBA Champions, admired the Larry O'Brien trophy yet again, and anxiously waited to see the championship banner hiding behind a black curtain. To top it off, their opponent was the same team they beat in the NBA Finals: The Miami Heat.
"It's absolutely perfect, and I can't wait to win in front of them again, just to kind of reiterate what we did to them last year," Spradling told CW 33 News.
There were speeches and presentations by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Head Coach Rick Carlisle and Mavericks players.
"We'd like to thank each and everyone of you, because 31 years you waited. 31 years," said Mavericks guard Jason Terry to the crowd.
Then the moment everyone was waiting for, as the Maverick's 2011 NBA Championship banner was finally revealed.
"I'll cry. I will cry once that banner goes up," said Armando Mercado.
Then slowly, the banner was raised into the rafters of the American Airlines Center, forever a symbol of a magical year for Mavs fans. While this game didn't go the Mavs way as the Heat won, Sunday was still a day the fans would never forget.
"Indescribable. No way to describe to unless you're a true fan of the Mavericks," said Mercado.