Tony Romo wanted to play. The fans wanted him to play. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wanted him to play.
But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver wasn’t down with letting the newly retired Dallas Cowboys quarterback take part in the Mavericks’ final home game of the season, against Denver on Tuesday night.
At least that’s how Cuban tells it. After his team’s 109-91 loss to the Nuggets, Cuban told reporters he approached Silver with the idea of letting the Cowboys’ all-time leading passer into the meaningless game between two lottery teams.
“I told him what I was going to do and said, ‘Fine me if you don’t like it,’” Cuban said of his conversation with Silver. “But once he said the contract wasn’t getting approved, then he kind of killed that.”
So that didn’t happen. But the former NFL player did get to enjoy pretty much every other aspect of being a Mavericks player on a game day, including morning shoot-around and pregame warmups with the team.
He also was introduced with the starters before the game.
At one point late in the fourth quarter, Romo stood next to Coach Rick Carlisle as if he’d be next to enter the game before a laughing Cuban walked over and dragged the guest of honor back to his seat.
“Obviously we knew we couldn’t check him in,” Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki said after the game. “We were faking it and the crowd was loving it. And they wanted to see him out there so bad. We just couldn’t pull it off.”
Nonetheless, Romo seemed to thoroughly enjoy his day.
“This is an honor that I could never dream of,” Romo said. “It’s a little embarrassing, but I’ll tell you what, I’m a very lucky guy. Thank you, Dallas. I love you.”