August 25, 2004: The Dallas Mavericks elite big man has arrived. After averaging 12 points, 12 rebounds, and almost 2 blocks per game in his CONTRACT YEAR of 2003-2004, Erick Dampier had signed a 7 year, 73 million dollar deal in a sign and trade with the Golden State Warriors.
Summer 2010: After 6 uninspired seasons with the Mavs, Dampier is FINALLY relieved of his duties. His Mavs averages of the 6 seasons: 6.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks. $141, 509/game. We won’t even talk about the playoffs.
2010-2011 Season: After a midseason trade last year that brought in Brendan Haywood, Caron Butler, and Deshawn Stevenson, the Mavs acquired Tyson Chandler in a summer trade that included Erick Dampier’s expiring contract. Not Erick Dampier. His piece of paper that made him one of the most over-paid athletes in professional sports.
Now 8 games into the 2010-2011 season it is strikingly apparent how big the makeover of the Mavs front court really is. And it’s not in the numbers. Neither Haywood or Chandler are skilled offensive players. 12 points per game in 46 minutes between the two of them is almost laughable. But here is what the two of them do that “Damp” did not:
1) CARE. Most nights Damp seemed to dread the moment he got called to go in the game like, “Damn, I got my sweatband and my high socks looking clean and your going to make me guard Shaq? F this.”
(a) SHOW EMOTION. Once every 10 games or so Damp would get a put-back dunk. He would then do the “I’m a man, hear me roar” thing under the basket. It was always comparable to when you hear a white guy say something like “Yo dawg, fo shizzle.” You felt embarrassed for him.
2) CATCH THE BALL. I’ve never seen someone blow so many wide open dunks because he could not catch the ball. Some nights I thought the other team paid him off. But then I remembered he was really that terrible.
3) PLAY DEFENSE. “Posterized” has permanently been replaced in the dictionary by “Dampiered.”
4) WORK OUT THEIR LEGS. Although Damp has some serious “guns,” he is awkwardly top-heavy.
Now I know in some ways it is unfair to compare one player (Dampier) to two (Chandler and Haywood) but you have to remember that Dampier and his agent marketed himself as an elite center, once proclaiming himself the “second best center in the NBA” (which on a side note prompted Shaq to refer to him as “Ericka Dampier”). Therefore if you are the self-proclaimed “second best center in the NBA” then you should be able to do the work of two mere peasants. Right?
Dampier is currently a free agent “deciding” who he wants to play for. I wish that team the best of luck. In the meantime check out www.erickdampier.com. It will tell you all you need to know.
About the Author
Written by Noah Wittman