Tony Romo had a good time warming up with the Dallas Mavericks before Tuesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, but Mavs owner Mark Cuban wanted Romo to play in the actual game. But NBA commissioner Adam Silver nixed the idea.

From ESPN:

When he approached NBA commissioner Adam Silver with the idea, Cuban said, “I told him what I was going to do and said, ‘Fine me if you don’t like it.'”

Silver told Cuban the contract would not be honored, which killed the idea but did not stop the Mavericks from honoring the former Dallas Cowboys quarterback.

Cuban and the Mavericks wanted to honor Romo for his 14-year tenure as the Cowboys quarterback. Romo missed the first 10 games of the 2016 season due to a fractured vertebra. When rookie Dak Prescott led the Cowboys to a 13-3 record and won AP’s offensive rookie of the year award, it spelled the end of Romo’s time in Dallas. Rather than try his luck with a new franchise, he chose to retire and become an analyst for CBS.

Considering former NBA player Caron Butler said Romo’s basketball skills in their high school days could have translated to the NBA, seeing Romo on the court would have been a nice addition to a meaningless game — the Nuggets and the Mavericks are both eliminated from the playoffs.

He looked pretty competent in these videos from shootaround and warmups, at least:

Thank you #mavs. I'm humbled by your gesture…At least I made one shot today.

A post shared by Tony Romo (@tony.romo) on

But coach Rick Carlisle provided some practical reasons why it never would work:

“Signing him and stuff like that, would have been too much for a lot of reasons,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “No. 1, he’s a football athlete that’s not ready to play in an NBA game. That’s very risky. No. 2, to sign a guy with all of our requirements from a physical standpoint with the hours and hours of screening and all that kinds of other stuff, it just wasn’t worth going there. And that’s not really what this is about.”

Carlisle still jokingly nearly put Romo in the game before Cuban pulled him away to avoid that dreaded fine:

Cuban admitted the whole Romo thing was a publicity stunt that wouldn’t have happened if the Mavericks still had a shot at the playoffs, which wasn’t any sort of secret anyway:

“Anybody who thinks a layup line is disrespectful, hasn’t watched an NBA game,” Cuban said. “We’ve got people shooting half-court shots at every break, we’ve got kids for ball boys … We’re entertainment. And if they’re so self-important they can’t recognize that, it’s on them. Not me.”

Romo didn’t get to play, but he still got a pregame introduction with the team.

Not a bad way to head out of Dallas.


About Jesse Kramer

Jesse is a writer and editor for The Comeback. He has also worked for and runs The Catch and Shoot, a college basketball website based in Chicago. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Follow Jesse on Twitter @Jesse_Kramer.