Shawn Marion officially retires, a look back on his Dallas career


Shawn Marion officially confirmed that he’s calling it a career. After not playing a minute in the NBA Finals for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Marion told ESPN’s Marc Stein that he’s still planning to retire after 16 seasons in the league.

Marion’s best years came during his days in Phoenix, when he, along with Steve Nash, Amar’e Stoudemire and head coach Mike D’Antoni put together some of the most entertaining teams any of us will ever see. Those fast paced Suns revolutionized NBA offenses, and variations of it can be seen in the now NBA champion Golden State Warriors, last year’s San Antonio Spurs and even the 2011 Dallas Mavericks.

After that, Marion had two short stints with the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors before finding a new longterm home with the Mavs from 2010-2014, which is where I thought we do some reminiscing.

The Matrix will forever be loved in Dallas thanks to his big role in the 2011 title (we’ll get to that), but when he got to Dallas the season before, everyone knew he was on the back end of his career. He had an okay regular season during the 2009-2010 campaign, but underperformed in the playoffs, averaging 8.7 points per game on 40.7 percent shooting from the field during the Dallas’ first round exit at the hands of the Spurs.

To start the 2010-2011 season, Marion came off the bench while Caron Butler slid into the starting small forward role. For a while, it worked beautifully, as Dallas got off to a 24-5 start to the season. But then, Butler suffered a season ending knee injury, forcing Marion back into the starting lineup. Dallas struggled for a bit when Butler got hurt, but found their stride and Marion looked comfortable back in a starting role.

The 2011 postseason, however, was Marion’s finest hour. This year’s Warriors went through the four members of the All-NBA First Team not named Stephen Curry (Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol, James Harden and LeBron James) to win the title. An impressive feat, but think of what Dallas had to go through to win their title. The Mavs fought through LaMarcus Aldridge, a Kobe Bryant led Lakers team that was coming off back-to-back championships, the Durant/Westbrook/Harden trio and LeBron and Dwyane Wade. Marion was one of the biggest parts of getting the job done for Dallas.

During those playoffs, Marion averaged 11.9 and 6.3 rebounds per game, but it was his defense on the likes of Bryant, Durant and James that made the difference. LeBron James scored EIGHT points in a Finals game, and averaged 17.8 points per game in that series in part to Marion’s defense. Yes, LeBron hadn’t quite figured out how to play with Wade and the Heat yet, but he was still the best player in world, and Marion was a big part of slowing him down.

We all know what happened after the title. Dallas let Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barea walk in free agency, and Jason Kidd and Jason Terry left after the 2011-2012 season. You could argue that between 2012-2014, Marion became Dallas’ best player not named Dirk Nowitzki.

Marion was Dallas’ most versatile player over the next few seasons as a guy that was able to guard every position on the court from point guard to even center at times. During the 2011-2012 season, Dallas campaigned Marion has a defensive player of the year and All-NBA defense candidate. The defensive player of the year award went to Chandler after his successful first season with the Knicks. That made sense, but what didn’t make sense was how Marion didn’t make the All-NBA defensive team that year. In fact, he didn’t make that team at any point in his career, which is absolutely insane.

Still, Marion proved how valuable he was to Dallas until the 2013-2014 season when it became clear that Dallas would need to start looking for a replacement. Marion’s contract expired last season, and Dallas landed Chandler Parsons in free agency, while Marion signed a one-year deal with the Cavs to try and win a second ring.

Marion deserves legitimate Hall-of-Fame consideration, and I don’t think it’s a total stretch to say he deserves consideration to have his No. 0 retired in the American Airlines Center. There would be no banner in the rafters without him, and he meant a lot to Dallas during his four years here. It’s upsetting that he never got any time during the 2015 Finals, but no one is going to forget how good he was during his career in Phoenix and Dallas.