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by Mike Fisher    Tue, May 27, 2008, 07:29 am


   Dirk’s got a girlfriend. The Morning News has a crutch. And Avery’s got a job. … as a car salesman?

   We’ll wrap up a few random thoughts into one neat package for you (tax, title and license not included; all opinions are sold “as is’’) …      


   ‘AVERY JOHNSON’S NORTH TEXAS NISSAN’: Let’s begin with Avery Johnson, the deposed Mavs coach who is flirting with the idea of taking a leave of absence while collecting on $4 mil a year of Mark Cuban’s money, or maybe calling Chicago radio stations to inform them that he’s now interested in the Bulls, or maybe taking his unique style of communication to the broadcast booth.

   Or. … maybe he will see you a Nissan!

   Avery is apparently prepared to maintain some sort of tie with the area as he has attached his name to “Avery Johnson’s North Texas Nissan in Corrinth. The TV commercials aren’t on TV; they’re on YouTube. But they exist, they seem real, and Avery’s “communication skills’’ are very much in evidence in the monologue-style ad.

   The catchphrase is “Avery Johnson Makes His Next Move!’’ Which seems sort of deceptive, but whatever. And at the end, he says, “Changing the way North Texans buy Nissans – one ‘T’ at a time.’’ (I think he says ‘T.’ I don’t get the joke. But, whatever. .... UPDATE: Numerous readers have checked in saying they think Avery says "key.'' "One key at a time.'' Got it.)

   I am sort of surprised the dealership’s slogan isn’t something like, ‘I’m Avery Johnson And I Swear I Did Not Approve Of The Kidd Trade.’’

   But otherwise, I’m not judging; some of my best friends are car dealers.(Hi, Rich and Toyota of Irving!)  Besides, even when a guy has a free $12 million coming to him over the course of the next three years as long as he doesn’t coach, a guy’s got to make a buck, right? Troy Aikman tried peddling autos in Dallas; it didn’t work so well. John Elway’s doing it in Denver; it’s made him wealthier than football ever could have.

   So good luck to Avery, who clearly believes that his self-proclaimed reputation as a “man of integrity and honesty’’  will cause Mavs fans to purchase ve-HIC-les from an outlet that bears his name.

   I do think it is natural to wonder, though. … Would you buy a used car from this man?

   “THE UBERMAN AND SOMEBODY, KISSING IN A TREE. …’’: Dirk has a girlfriend.  She’s an American. She won’t be coming to the Olympics because he needs to concentrate. He’ll “probably see her in a couple months’’ when he returns to Dallas.

   (No, the woman seen here is not, as far as we know, the lucky girl. That's some other lucky girl.)

   Wait a minute. He’s not parading her around like a prized bauble? She’s not using him to promote a TV show, a CD or a movie? This isn’t their “Summer of Love’’? They’re not on TMZ, they’re not on Page 2, they’re not involved in a VH-1 special?

   Oh, and there aren’t already rumors of a celebrity breakup that somehow involves rotating Romo jilting Jeter or Lindsay Lohan?

   What kind of jock romance is that?

   Congratulations to Dirk Nowitzki for handling a relationship less like Tony Romo might advise and more like Rocky’s Mickey might advice:

 “Women weaken legs!’’

   RIDICULOUS: So I’m reviewing some Dallas Morning News coverage of the Mavs over the course of their end-of-season run (I call it “research’’ but you might call it “Memorial Day boredom’’) and I notice that the paper’s lead columnist, Jean-Jacques Taylor, whipped out a handful of Mavs-related columns that seemed awfully familiar to one another.

   Their undeniable connection? They were all “ridiculous.’’

   No, I don’t mean the actual columns or the opinions within were ridiculous. (Again, I’m not judging.) I mean that over the course of two months of writing, almost EVERY SINGLE TIME our man JJT searched for a negative adjective to assign to the Mavs, he used the same word.


   On May 15, JJT reviewed Josh Howard’s shooting efforts in the Hornets-Mavs series

 and then composed his one-paragraph, one-sentence, one-word declaration:


   On April 28, JJT reviewed one of the Mavs’ losses to New Orleans, this one featuring the Hornets turning a four-point halftime lead into a quick 10-point lead.  

   JJT’s review of that sequence? One paragraph. One sentence. One word.


   On April 23, JJT wrote it just like this:

   “Two of the four worst playoff losses in franchise history have occurred in the Mavs' last four games. Did we mention, Avery has lost eight straight road games?


   And on March 7, JJT wrote it just like this:

   “Dallas has one victory over a team with a winning record since Feb. 4 – a 96-76 victory over Portland – a span of 14 games


   “The Mavs are 14-19 on the road, an indication that they can't handle adversity.

   Again, ridiculous.’’

   “And they are only 13-11 against the raggedy Eastern Conference.

   Say it one more time, ridiculous.’’

   JJT, must I really say it “one more time’’? Haven’t you kinda said it enough?


   During those two months, JJT wrote eight Mavs-related columns. Some of them contained strong opinions, a few made some logical and/or notable assertions. But I just couldn’t trudge past this fact: a full half of them used the exact same “ridiculous’’ blueprint. One paragraph. One sentence. One word.

   Hey, it’d make a good drinking game for the college kids! JJT writes ‘Ridiculous,’ everybody downs a shot!

    Again, I’m not judging. I’m not saying it’s ridiculous.

   The Dallas Morning News’ lead columnist is saying it for me.


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