Gay Mavs Fan of the Day: Maria Infante

Earlier we posted an item on Facebook asking people to contact us if they know hard-core Dallas Mavericks fans who happen to be LGBT. We weren’t really sure what we planned to do with the info, but we figured we’d decide once we got it. As it turns out, it’s a good thing we didn’t have any big plans, because we received only one message in response to our post. It was a good one, though, so perhaps we can still make this a running game-day feature during the NBA Finals (which, by the way, begin tonight). For now, we’re declaring Maria Infante today’s winner. Maria’s partner, Jamie Lynn Fox-Infante, reports:

Dear Dallas Voice,

My partner Maria Infante Is the biggest and PROUDEST Mavs fan! She let’s it all out here on FB. She has me tweet about it. She is beyond excited that they are going to NBA Playoffs and are champs. It truly made her day that night. We are from DFW but we have to live in Houston (extended stay hotel) until September as she is getting treated for Leukemia…she’s in remission but its a long process and she tells the nurses and Dr not to schedule her on days there is a Mavs game or if they have to, to make sure she gets out by game time so she can watch! She lost a lot of weight and so one day her dad and his wife came to visit and took her to Academy for shoes and they told her to pick out some clothes if she wanted…she went and got a Dallas Mavs T and some basketball pants, and was very sad because they didn’t have a hat with velcro to match. Thats the only kind of hat she likes. LOL She loves watching the game with a good pizza and wings! She loves JJ and Dirk most and we are considering naming our first born son Dirk if we decide to try for a family someday. LOL

—  John Wright

REVIEW: Twist Dallas on Thursday night at LBG

While Thursday night’s Twist Dallas music event had to compete with the Dallas Mavericks for attention, organizer SuZanne Kimbrell was nonetheless impressed with the show. A small turnout at Lakewood Bar & Grill didn’t take away from the fact that the talent was top notch.

Starting with Natalie Velasquez, a 19 year-old guitarist out of Denton, the night was destined for dive bar greatness. Her jazzy sound and smoky, deep voice exuded nice poise for such a young performer. At times, she recalled Meshell Ndegeocello. Her voice has a beautifully aged soul tone that belies her tiny build. Her backing band, which apparently was partly cobbled that day, was also a strong, solid package. Please, Velasquez, keep this lineup together.

Check out part of performance here.

I worried that follow-up Danny Siuba might underwhelm with just him and an electric piano. Even he told me later that he worried a tad about following up Velasquez’s performance, but he met the challenge. His work on the keys was so sharp and pristine that they tickled every nerve ending in my ear. He’s classically trained according to Kimbrell so this shouldn’t surprise, but he also played with great assertion that proved his confidence with his instrument. I heard traces of Rufus Wainwright and Owen Pallett in him, but his voice was a bit gravelly. Singer Sonya Jevette was there filming for SoundByte and tried to convince me he was a young Neil Diamond. I wasn’t hearing that so much. In certain registers, he sang well, and in louder ones, he just needed some polish. But he’s only 21 and his pop-piano tunes were well constructed. Plus, the guy, 21, drove here from Santa Fe to perform and handmade his own CD covers with handwritten lyrics. So it’s hard to fault the guy for much.

—  Rich Lopez

F-ing Kobe

The Mavs schooled the Lakers this week, but there’s one lesson L.A.’s star player still needs to learn

DAN WOOG  | Contributing Sports Writer
outfield@qsyndicate.com

OF050911
ANOTHER REASON TO ROOT FOR THE MAVS Bryant needs to behave like the role model he is.

I’m pretty sure Bennie Adams is straight. So what’s the big deal with Kobe Bryant calling him a “fucking faggot” during a nationally televised game? After all, that’s common parlance in locker rooms and on basketball courts around the country — not to mention countless school hallways, playgrounds and everywhere else.

Precisely.

Bryant’s outburst (for those of you who somehow missed it) came last month, after receiving a technical foul. Bryant (for those of you who somehow don’t know that his team, the Lakers, got schooled by the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs) is one of the NBA’s true superstars, making about $25 million a year. In other words, he’s not some kid playing “horse” in an empty gym. He’s not a boy who doesn’t know any better, or a closeted kid trying to fit in by hurling anti-slurs.

Kobe is one of the most recognized athletes in the world. His purple  No. 24 jersey is worn by admiring fans around the globe. Millions of people look up to Kobe, admire everything he does.

And listen to every word he says.

When it became clear that his F-bomb detonated loudly, Bryant went into damage control. Through the Lakers, he issued one of those non-apology apologies: “What I said last night should not be taken literally. My actions were out of frustration during the heat of the game, period. The words expressed do not reflect my feelings toward the gay and lesbian communities and were not meant to offend anyone.”

So what are Bryant’s “feelings toward the gay and lesbian communities?” He didn’t say. If he did not mean to offend anyone, why did he call Adams a “fucking faggot?” Why not “a horrible official?” Or simply “you asshole?”

The NBA acted swiftly, with Commissioner David Stern calling Bryant’s outburst “offensive and inexcusable … such a distasteful term should never be tolerated … and [has] no place in our game.” He then fined Bryant $100,000.

Seem like a lot? Not when compared with some NBA fines: In 2007, the league fined Vladimir Radmanovic (also a Laker — and another reason to root for the Mavs) $500,000 for violating his contract by snowboarding.

Despite his “apology,” Bryant said he would fight the fine, a step he called “standard protocol,” whatever that means.

Come to think of it, “standard protocol” could mean standing up, admitting to a mistake, recognizing the power of role models and issuing a strong statement explaining exactly why words like “faggot” hurt. Describing how they hurt straight kids as well as gay ones, by reinforcing stereotypes. Then Bryant could lead a campaign to eliminate, once and for all, the use of anti-gay words in basketball.

In other words, he could do something like what NBA players Grant Hill and Jared Dudley are already doing. The Phoenix Suns teammates recently filmed a public service announcement for the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network and the Ad Council’s “Think Before You Speak Campaign” that airs during the NBA playoffs! The ads are striking; they reach an important audience during a high-powered event, and the NBA’s commitment to the campaign underscores Stern’s statement about language.

Ironically, Hall and Dudley taped their PSA just hours before Bryant demonstrated his own inability to think before he spoke.

Words aren’t the only weapons; images hurt, too. For years, the Washington Wizards have shown a “Kiss Cam” where two people appear on the JumboTron and are urged to kiss. The crowd goes crazy (hey, it’s better than watching the Wizards play). Then the camera cuts to two players from the visiting team. Now the fans really howl. The players make faces, hide under towels or pretend to ignore each other.

But what would happen if the “Kiss Cam” showed two male fans and they did kiss, because they had gone to the game as a couple? Maybe it could happen when the Wizards play the Lakers. Maybe after the game, Kobe Bryant could head into the stands, high-five the couple and pose for a picture.

That would speak far louder than his “fucking faggot” words. Or the half-hearted “heat of the moment” apology that followed.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition May 13, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Oft-fined Mavs owner Mark Cuban, once called ‘faggot’ by Kenyon Martin, mum on Kobe penalty

It was with great anticipation that we awaited Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s response to our inquiry about the $100,000 fine levied against Kobe Bryant by the NBA on Wednesday for shouting an anti-gay slur at a referee.

After all, Cuban is no stranger to being fined by the league. According to Wikipedia, Cuban has racked up more than $1.5 million in fines for 13 incidents, including several involving criticism of referees.

On the other hand, Cuban was once on the receiving end of an anti-gay slur from a player. Kenyon Martin of the Denver Nuggets called Cuban a “faggot motherfucker” after a playoff game in 2009 (video above). Martin was retaliating for Cuban’s comments a few nights before, when the Mavs owner told Martin’s mother that her son was a “thug.”

Finally, Cuban is no homophobe. After former NBA player John Amaechi came out as gay in 2007, Cuban went on national TV and said that if a current player came out they would be a hero and become rich, despite some “idiots” who might condemn them. Read Cuban’s subsequent interview with Dallas Voice here.

So, how would all this factor in to Cuban’s thoughts on Kobe’s fine? Here’s his response to our email from this morning:

—  John Wright

Food ManiAACs, Taste of Dallas and me

Last week, I was recruited to be a celebrity* judge at a Taste of Dallas cooking demo. (*”Celebrity” has become a vastly undervalued term, obviously.) My mission: Watch the Dallas Mavericks ManiAACs — the group of plus-sized men who serve as zaftig cheerleaders for the basketball team — prepare, Iron Chef-like, meals made completely out of the junk food you’d buy at gas station food marts: Vienna sausages and queso and Doritos, for example. I probably shouldn’t have agreed, but they called me at noon on a Tuesday, so I was already pretty drunk.

The event, though, was a huge success, even from my slightly squeamish perspective (and despite the host continually calling me “Arthur”).  First among the pleasures were the ManiAACs themselves — five super-friendly, super-talented dancers who know some moves. Most of those moves, though, were not in the kitchen.

The food was OK. I had to compare two meals, one savory, the other sweet. The savory one was a combination of normal dishes, compartmentalized on a plate but not mixed: Kraft macaroni & cheese, baked beans (the real kind, not the candy), cheesy puffed corn treats, something else. The dessert was more daring: A plate smeared with peanut butter, piled on with Cinnamon Toast Crunch and coconut mini-doughnuts and edged with Wheat Thins. I took a shot of insulin after one bite.

I gave the dessert, from Team B, the title, not only for concept, creativity and presentation, but because of the instructions they gave me about how to eat it. Imagine that: Fat guys who have ideas about how to eat food.

Here’s the winning dish:

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Did you ever think e-cycling could get you free Mavs playoff tickets?

Yeah, me neither, but I’m gonna start gathering my junk for this. The Dallas Mavericks sent notice that they are teaming up with Samsung Recycle Direct to host their second annual Electronics Recycle Drive tomorrow at the American Airlines Center. Starting at 8:30 a.m., you can drop off items such as TVs, laptops, CPUs, monitors, light bulbs and batteries to be recycled. They will collect items until 6:30 p.m. Now that you have your iPad, do you need any of that other stuff?

The sweetest part of tomorrow is that “fans who drop off an item will be entered to win a pair of tickets to the First Round of the 2010 Playoffs and will receive a coupon to Genghis Grill for a free bowl.” So you’re already a winner with a free meal. And good luck trying to get playoff tickets on your own without a small business loan.

Head to Lot E to drop off your items. And if you win the tix, I’ll either be your best friend or I won’t talk to you anymore. We featured Mavs cutie forward Kris Humphries back in November, but since then, he has moved on and left us for the New Jersey Nets. So if that affects your interest upon winning, well, you know who to call.

Good luck!

—  Rich Lopez

Updates on Mavericks' Drew Gooden and K.C. Chiefs' Larry Johnson

Last month, we blogged about Kansas City Chiefs’ player Larry Johnson controversy of using anti-gay slurs on reporters and even on his Twitter feed. He was immediately suspended pending investigation. The Chiefs announced today that Johnson has been dropped from the team.

Soon after, we heard Drew Gooden of the Mavericks called actor Chris Wylde and his friend “faggot at an L.A. Clippers game last week. There were a lot of holes in the story but team owner Mark Cuban assured it was being looked into. The holes in mention were Wylde’s accusations going unheard or unseen and his coincidental ties to a Web-based show about heckling basketball teams reaked of a publicity stunt. But now, two more people have come forward with a similar story against (also at a Clippers game) and the NBA is on the case. OutSports offered this update last Friday.

—  Rich Lopez

Dallas Mavericks' Drew Gooden may or may not have used the 'F' word

ESPN.com.
ESPN.com.

According to actor Chris Wylde, Drew Gooden, 90, from the Mavericks called him and his friend “faggots” Saturday night at their game in L.A. against the Clippers. Wylde and friend admitted to innocent heckling but did not expect this sort of retaliation. Outsports covered the story here. According to the article, Mavs owner Mark Cuban has taken the position of  dealing with it internally.

Wylde, who is not gay, e-mailed Cuban to complain. In it, he said “It’s not bad enough we (L.A. Clippers) have the worst record in the league, but to literally be hate crimed by a millionaire is repulsive.” Cuban later  told OutSports, “For the record, I heard their heckling during the game, some was funny, some not as innocent as they want to make it sound. That doesn’t excuse any homophobic commentary from anyone, but it does make me want to get confirmation.”

Wylde’s friend did not want to go on record about the incident. The Dallas Morning News reported that the NBA has not looked into the allegations. According to IMDB, Wylde is listed as a cast member in the CBS Web show, Heckle U. The plot summary on IMDB describes the show as “the story of a slacker Chance and his best friend Darrell who have the ability to change the course of a basketball game by heckling the opposing teams into submission. Chance is pushed to excel as a heckler and take their theatrics to the next level by his Uncle Lou.”

Hmmm. Maybe Wylde was just doing research.The Mavs play the Utah Jazz tonight at the AAC.

—  Rich Lopez