Every year, countless NBA players give countless reporters countless quotes about the hard work they've put in during the offseason, usually placing strong emphasis on new wrinkles and features they've added over the summer. For the Dallas Mavericks Dancers, though, the headlines are much more about what they've lost — namely, it seems, some fabric.
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After opening their season on the road with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers and a loss at the hands of the Utah Jazz, the Mavs returned to the friendly confines of the American Airlines Center for a three-game homestand. When the Mavericks Dancers made their season debut during a timeout in Saturday night's win over the Charlotte Bobcats, they did so clad in the garments you see above — very white, very sparkly and very limited in terms of torso coverage. Louise Boyle of England's Daily Mail didn't catch the Bobcats tilt over the weekend — some diehard Louise Boyle is — but did notice the outfits' encore appearance during Monday night's game between Dallas and the Portland Trail Blazers:
On Monday night, the cheerleading team took to the basketball court for the half-time show wearing short, white spandex dresses with cut-out panels.
Although skimpy outfits are run-of-the-mill for women who perform the daring and athletic routines at professional sports games, the briefness of the Mavericks new ensembles could raise some eyebrows.
The costumes bring the Mavericks on par with other cheerleaders in the same Texas city — the Dallas Cowboys' dancers, who are known for the briefness of their hemline.
This, of course, is nothing new — not only do the uniforms of dance troupes and cheerleaders for most American professional sports franchises feature revealing combinations of low-cut tops and short-shorts in a general sense, but the Mavericks Dancers specifically haven't exactly shied away from showing off their midriffs in years past. It may have started as a take-off on the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders' iconic look, but at this point, the Mavericks Dancers have pretty well established their own style. (Plus, as it stands, fewer connections to the Cowboys might be for the best, all things considered.)
Such revealing ensembles have at times elicited objections; a "naughty nurse" costume used for a Robert Palmer-soundtracked routine, for example, drew the ire of a nonprofit organization that advocates for "more accurate, balanced and frequent media portrayals of nurses." Those on the other side of the fence might note the existence of the Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs, an all-male dance troupe populated mostly by overweight men who also bare their bellies, suggesting that skimpy costumes and dancing go hand-in-hand in Dallas' in-arena entertainment experience, irrespective of gender, and that ultimately the dancing is paramount. (Their owner, after all, has been known to cut a rug.)
That said, this year's uniforms do seem to depart a bit from standard fare — I think it's that strip in the middle, mostly — which could be part of the Mavericks trying to establish a unique identity for their troupe, not unlike the Brooklyn Nets did when they revealed their dance team uniforms this summer. White, blue and sparkly might not evoke quite as strong a sentiment as "black and 'stretch leatherette'" in terms of defining a team's approach, but it kind of stands to reason.
White's the absence of color, and the Mavs have thus far been defined by the absence of their top gun, Dirk Nowitzki; blue's a primary, baseline color, and the Mavs have gotten out to a 4-1 start by emphasizing basic principles of offensive efficiency, generating and converting high-quality looks (they've got the league's second-best field-goal percentage and best 3-point percentage); and the little bit of sparkle comes when offseason acquisition O.J. Mayo goes off, as he has in leading the team in scoring in three straight wins. I'm still a bit lost on that strip, but let's say that it represents the connective all-court game of Shawn Marion. (Seems like as good an explanation as any.)
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Whether the gear generates any complaints stateside, or if the uniforms' "briefness" (a word I was not aware was applicable in such a context) is simply an English concern, remains to be seen. In the meantime, so long as Dallas keeps winning at the AAC as it did in sweeping this week's three-game homestand, you'd suspect that fans will be too busy loving what Rick Carlisle's doing to care much about who's dancing and what they're wearing.