Going to keep this short and sweet...a lot of people hit me up last night to congratulate me on our win over Oklahoma City and also because of that video that went viral:
Now listen, I'm all for pregame hype and rituals. I do them myself all the time. BUT bro, when your pregame routine starts off with "5-6-7-8" that's just too much. I wasn't feeling all that right in front of me. Take that to the nightclub or to your side of the court. All due respect, but naaah. I just had to give a response, so here it is (via FOX Sports: PROcast):
Now can we PLEASE just focus back on basketball. I don't want to dwell on this anymore. It's done, new day. Let's get focused. This series is a real battle, a fight, every game like our last. OKC is a tough team, very athletic and talented, but we need to continue to fight, work hard and give it our all. Go Mavs!
So I'm sure you've heard the good news by now...we clinched. For the 15th time in 16 seasons we're heading to the NBA Playoffs! It's been a pretty amazing stretch, as of late, when you think about it. We lost 10 of 12 during a stretch in March and lost my brother, Chandler Parsons, for the season. Plus, a few other injuries to some other key guys. It's been a hell of a roller coaster season for us, but here we are, back at it again. When in doubt, we have to have each other's back - that's what our brotherhood is all about. Dirk was vintage last night. J.J. has been a magician on the court lately, he's been dialed in. We showed championship pedigree in a gutty win to clinch a date to the playoff. If you missed the game, catch these highlights:
So often teams in the NBA who make the lower seeds are often written off, many don't think that they can knock off the higher seeds like in the NCAA. Well, if you ask me or anyone who is a part of this storied franchise they'll tell you it's still all about how you play heading into the playoffs and this Mavs team is one that has the CHEMISTRY molding to make some noise at the right time. And we also have the BELIEF that it can make more than just some noise in the postseason. Winners of 7 of our last 8 games, I don't want to say we are peaking, but I'll say we have certainly come together and risen to the occasion. You can have some of the best players on the planet, but if you don't have chemistry...you will not be a Champion in this league or any period.
This is my 2nd playoff appearance and there is nothing like it. The atmosphere, the energy, the sense of urgency is all at another level when the regular season ends and everyone heads into the playoffs fresh (0-0). Down the stretch we have adopted a team mantra of 'ONE GAME AT A TIME'. We have been attacking every game as if it were a playoff game. Nothing matters but the challenge before us, not yesterday, not tomorrow - only TODAY, and that is how we are going to treat the playoffs - no different! Whether we play the historic Warriors, the ageless Spurs or the talented Thunder...our focus is the same. One game at a time! Dirk is proof that age is nothing but a number! My brother at 37 is still killing it, night in and night out for us, and the league is about to be in for a treat come this weekend when the playoffs begin! Buckle up ladies and gents, the dream is real and we will FIGHT every game like our last. Promise you that!
What's going on, everybody? I just wanted to take a minute to share my respect toward women's basketball as a sport. And let me continue by extending my congratulations to my alma mater UConn Huskies. Ladies, much love and success. Well done. Let's keep it going! I'M WATCHING!!!
Nine straight Final Four appearances is no easy task by any means, regardless of your level or division. Some people are not taking the time to really sit back and pay their respects to this team's dominance. Regardless if you are a UConn fan or not, if you love playing or watching the game of basketball, then how can you not cherish what you are witnessing? THIS IS HISTORY. Maybe it is a little easier for me to understand since I am a product of the tradition and culture at the University of Connecticut, a university that produces champions. UConn made me a champion in 2004. The women also won it all that year, which was such a memorable moment for the record books. Then UConn did it again in 2014. Say whaaaaat?! How often do you see both a college men's and women's team win in the same season? Not once, but twice. Are you kidding me? Not too often. And hey, Syracuse might have a chance to join the club this weekend if both the men and women win it all. But I'm not counting on that. Sorry-cuse.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
What coach Geno Auriemma and his staff have been able to accomplish throughout his years is all about what UConn stands for...a strong, proud emphasis on family, tradition and belief in one another. That hard work and dedication is what makes UConn so special and is what Husky Nation is all about. Damn, I sound like a recruiting commercial - but real talk - it's the truth. It was that way when I was there, and it is still that way now. It's crazy to think about how fast time flies. That journey I took as a Husky to the Final Four feels like just yesterday (and so cool that I got to share that victory with the women's team). It was an unbelievable feeling. I am so blessed to have been part of UConn history and will always love watching my alma mater. Nine straight Final Fours! Can they go for 10 next year? It's crazy. I've been seeing some folks and media outlets hate on them, saying they're tired of watching UConn win. But quite frankly, you have to respect them. Let's just enjoy the run while it lasts, as Coach Auriemma takes aim at an 11th national title. Stop hating!
Okay, answer me this - I'm about to touch on a sensitive subject here - but are there double standards in women's basketball or women's sports for that matter? After seeing this tweet (shown above) from that sports columnist of the Boston Globe, I'm like, wow, he's got some nerve. I don't even want to get into this because I'll be here writing another 10 more paragraphs on this subject alone. Just think about it real quick. When the legendary John Wooden took UCLA to 10 national titles, no media was knocking them, nobody was disrespecting their achievements. Everybody, for the most part, was congratulating them. And rightfully so. Don't try to switch it up now that we're talking women's basketball. I'm not feeling that. Okay that's it, I won't go any further on this. I'll leave you with Coach Auriemma response: “Don’t watch,” he said. LOL!
Moving on and some more reminiscing. I just caught some of the game highlights of the 39th Annual McDonald's All-American Game, and I must say, the future looks bright! One of my greatest basketball memories was made in 2003, as I teamed up with LeBron and Chris Paul to lead Team East to a victory. It was a classic game that will be on replay every year when March comes around. I just saw this game on replay like two days ago. Shouts to ESPNU for airing. Ohhh, and check out my older brother Rob E in the stands, cheering for me when I caught that And-1 dunk on Ndudi Ebi (video below). He had the Dominican flag and everything lol. That was a dope moment. It was so cool to be on the floor with fellow All-Americans doing what we do best together and putting on a show. I want to wish all of this year's participants good luck in their college career. It will come fast, so make sure you make every step of the way a memorable one.
Much success ahead,
Charlie Villanueva #believeinuconn
P.S. Gotta shout out Alterique Gilbert. Signing with UConn was a great decision! I'll be watching you, bro. And for us Mavs, let's keep this winning momentum going. We gotta play every game ahead like our last! GO MAVS!
“Self-respect is the fruit of discipline… ” -Abraham J. Heschel