Tonight, one of the most interesting sports send-offs will happen on the floor of American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks: Tony Romo will suit up for the NBA regular season finale between the Mavs and Denver Nuggets on Fan Appreciation Night. As many of you know, Romo retired from the NFL and signed a deal with CBS Sports to become a broadcaster last week, however, before his time in a Cowboys jersey, Tony was a high school basketball star. The Mavericks, keen on this knowledge and on giving the Cowboys all-time leading passer a proper send-off, is letting Romo hit the bench tonight fully dressed.
“Believe it or not, man, when we were in the prime of our careers, I used to always talk about it: [Romo] could have easily been a professional basketball player,” Caron Butler told ESPN. Butler’s familiarity with Romo’s basketball game stems from 1998 when the duo made up two-fifths of the All-Racine County boys’ basketball team in Wisconsin. Caron was the star of Racine Park High School averaging a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Tony was the star at Burlington High School averaging nearly the same stats at 24.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game. Ironically for Romo, who made a career out of passing, he was a shoot-first point guard in high school, holding the school’s scoring record of 1,080 points. His high school coach Steve Berezowitz said, “His thing was filling the entire stat sheet, he completely filled the stat sheet. He did that with a group that wasn’t incredibly skilled, so he had to basically do every part of the game for us to be successful.”
Romo’s high school coach also said that his vision is why he made it for as many years as he did in the NFL as a quarterback. But for Romo, that vision wasn’t enough as he never brought home the coveted Lombardi Trophy to Dallas where Jerry Jones would’ve most likely thrown him the greatest party of all-time. Finally opening up on the topic today to Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News he had this to say:
“I guess it just makes you feel that you accomplished something in some ways because I feel like I left something out there that I always wanted to accomplish. And I got to live with that. That’s part of playing sports. It doesn’t always go the way you expect. You can put everything into it and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. But it doesn’t mean you can be OK with it.”
Whether or not Romo actually gets to take the court tonight in his #9 Mavericks jersey, it’ll be fun to wonder if maybe Tony Romo’s name deserves to be in the conversation of possible elite two-sport athletes.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) April 11, 2017