Happy New Year

Every religion has their own New Year. Basketball is my religion and I am blindly devoted. So…Happy New Year.

The New NBA Season is upon us and I am so hyped. We get the first crack at the champions, San Antonio Spurs, on national television (8:00 PM ET on TNT). They are having their ring ceremony and already, on Game 1, there is this sense that this is a huge game. How crazy is that? Game 1…and we are all amped up to play. Instate rivals, banner night. Throw that ball up in the air already…

Anyway, I had a great players only dinner with my new brothers last night at Morton’s Steakhouse (pic above). I had a filet (no tilapia for me).

I would keep providing you with inside info, but gotta keep this short for now. It’s game day baby!

Happy New Year,

Charlie Villanueva #believeincharlie

Against The Odds

It’s been a long time...I shouldn’t have left you...

I haven’t posted in a long time...my bad. A big part of it is because there has been a lot going on both on and off the basketball court. So it is all over the Internet and it is official...I am a Dallas Maverick. I want to start off by showing my appreciation...

Thank You Shouts

• God: I knew God had a plan for me and I am happy about the way things worked out. I'm so thankful.

• Mi Familia: Everyone was really supportive about my dream. This is my dream and my family knows that about me...the dream is still very much alive. And it takes team work to make the dream work!

• My lady Michelle Game: You are my rock. Thank you for always having my back.

• Mark Cuban, Donn Nelson, and Coach Rick Carlisle: Thank you for giving me a chance. I won't disappoint.

• My agent Jeff Schwartz and the team at Excel Sports: You were right Jeff...I was in a fight for my life.

• My left and right hand, my brothers Rob Elia & Rob Carlos: Thanks for always having my back. I miss you guys.

• A mentor of mine, Nate Blue: Thanks for always believing and supporting in me. You saw my talent at a young age and always believed in me.

• Chawlaaaa: Thank you for your pep talks.

So here I am in Dallas, the regular season is around the corner and I am so hyped about it. I have to get a place to live, I am tired of room service, and I am ready to get this part of my career underway. I haven’t been this excited about basketball in a really long time.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This was truly a challenging process. I was talking to my boy, RJ (Richard Jefferson), and he really put making the team into perspective. This was a hard thing to do. I never wavered with confidence but if you really think about it, this was challenging. The team was set...they had 15 guaranteed contracts before I even met with Coach Carlisle the very first time. I had to beat out guys who Cuban already committed to. And Cubes and Co. have always told me that this is a team that would not worry about money...that they would sign the best players for the team to contend for a championship. I didn’t take a dollar to join this team at training camp. I had to come to Dallas and EARN my spot. A workout turned into a camp invite, which turned out to making the team, which could turn into anything. Imagine if I am part of a process to win a title? How crazy of a story will that be? And to be really truthful, most of the time, I didn’t know where I stood. I had a lot of good moments during this process, but I also had moments where I was clueless on my standing.

This has been a totally different experience for me. Obviously, I was picked in the Top 10 NBA Draft, had a great rookie season, made some good waves at Milwaukee and then went to Detroit with a ton of promise. We know how that story ended...it didn’t work out. BUT I never had to be a part of an experience where every single day, every single play, every single shot, every single moment...I was fighting for my life. Fighting for my dream...and little by little, my dream was becoming a reality.

It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting. And trust me life is interesting. Always believe in yourself. Always believe in your dream. Always have the courage to confront your dream.

So “Act 1” is over. I am a Maverick. Now “Act 2” is to help this team win. Stay connected, keep watching. #MavsNation

So so so thankful,

Charlie Villanueva #believeincharlie

The Highs, The Lows

Dirk Nowitzki and Charlie Villanueva finish with 16 points apiece to help lift the Mavericks over the Pacers in the preseason.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA and life in general is a series of roller coaster rides. There are a lot of ups and downs...the highs and the lows. If you followed 'Crossroads' (online reality-based webisode show covering my free agency), I felt like free agency was ONE big roller coaster. One minute I was hyped about a meeting or a workout and the next minute I was worried because I didn’t know what would happen next.

My first 3 preseason games with the Mavs felt just like a roller coaster. I played “OK” the first game but definitely could have done better. I wasn't great in the second game and didn’t play until the 4th quarter in the third game and honestly I felt much more comfortable in that game. Shot the ball well and really tried to go after those rebounds. I am really tuned into Coach Carlisle because he is pushing me to be a better player. One of those areas I need to improve on is rebounding...so I made a conscious push to go after the ball.

The bigger point is that it is important to realize that these highs and lows are a part of the NBA...they are a part of life. I gotta roll with the punches and figure out ways to keep fighting, to keep grinding. My agent told me that this is a fight for my life and he’s dead right. I'M HUNGRY!!!

So I kept my focus in that 3rd game. I didn’t play a minute in those first three quarters and on the real I might have tuned out if this was Detroit. I didn’t tune out, I can't, I always gotta stay ready. There is a different energy about this team and quite frankly I am different as a person and as a professional. Since the immediate move, I arrived and got a good vibe for Dallas. It truly feels like home. Everyone here complements each other (on and off the court) and for the first time in a long time I am really excited about basketball again.

I think it has been well documented that the two teams that had the most interest in me (and that I had the most interest) were the LA Clippers and the Dallas Mavs. My meetings and workouts with Coach Doc and his staff were first class. That being said, there was something about Dallas that simply felt right. I can’t really explain it...

Anyway, I am going to keep riding this roller coaster until the end...and then probably get back on because life is a roller coaster...you can’t quit, but it's important to enjoy the ride. Gotta believe...things happen for a reason. Always evolving... #believeincharlie.

Thankful and grateful,

Charlie Villanueva #believeincharlie

Preseason Form

So we had our first preseason game this past Tuesday at home and I honestly could say, I was crazy hyped. We have great fans in Dallas and it has been a long time since I have been this excited about basketball.

That being said, it was a foul fest. I think a lot of players were still in preseason form and still trying to shake the rust off. I shot the ball pretty decent but still felt like I didn’t play as well as I should. And even though it's preseason, I still wanted that win. I gotta do a better job of being in the right position defensively and on the rebounds. A couple of mishaps on my end. Just need to play smarter.

Overall, and realizing the Big German (Dirk) didn’t play, this team has really good chemistry. We still need to work...like I said we have a lot of new players, but this is a good clique, we ALL get along so well, great vibe. That is what the preseason is all about...getting used to each other, shaking the rust off, and getting better. I know by the time the regular season kicks-off, we will be a much better team.

In the meantime, I am giving away preseason tickets so follow me on Twitter @CVBelieve and if you can answer some of my random trivia and I'll give you my tix! One last thing, I truly appreciate everyone's support and best wishes. The future is exciting. Mavs Nation!

Thank you,

Charlie Villanueva #believeincharlie

Solo Mission

Villanueva Bros. at 2005 NBA Draft (New York, NY)

So since I have been in Dallas the majority of my dinners have been by myself. I never really did that before...it's my new thing. Being an NBA player I am constantly around people/fans/teammates/coaches/players...I am almost never alone. That plus I come from a typical big, very close knit Dominican family...I am never alone. I always have had my brothers/family around. I've been living with or have always stayed close by to my brothers since the day I got drafted (picture above with my older brothers at the NBA Draft). Things are now different, we're all apart.

BUT this alone time has given me a lot of time to think. It gives me an opportunity to truly be introspective about my life, about this thing I call “Crossroads”, about where my life and career is going. I guess you can’t truly know who you are, what you are thinking until you spend time by yourself really going through it...

So today’s dolo day was spent watching the NFL and the MLB playoffs. The Detroit-Baltimore game was unreal. Those pitchers really came to play. And I told my boy, I told him, that Nelson Cruz is crazy scary. David Price really threw one bad pitch the whole game and that dude (Cruz) CRUSHED it. What a game...

Bob's Steak & Chop House (Dallas, TX)

Even though I was cheering for Detroit, congrats to the Orioles and Royals for moving on. And congrats to the Cowboys! How ‘bout them boys! LOL.

Really enjoying these playoffs, the start of the NFL but let’s be real...I am READY for MY season to start. CAN”T WAIT! Now that I'm a little more settle in, I'll keep my blog a lot more active.

Stay connected,

Charlie Villanueva #believeincharlie