Mavs fan flies from Thailand to catch NBA Finals




Posted on June 8, 2011 at 1:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 8 at 2:26 PM

CROWLEY - One Dallas Mavericks fan on a mission has beaten most fans of the team by miles, literally.

Dustin Sanders traveled more than 5,000 miles to watch his favorite team. He moved to Thailand last year to work for a non-profit, but refused to give up his season tickets.

When the Mavs won the Western Conference, he had to find a way to fly to Texas to witness the championship run. He even made a YouTube plea to Mavs owner Mark Cuban to pay for his flight.

“I just did it more for fun for my friends,” he said. “But, I was kind of hoping that maybe Mark Cuban would catch the vision of it.”

Sanders' Internet appeal was an eight-minute video that showed off his team spirit. It also shows how his love of the team has spread to his young daughter and his wife, who both appear in the video.

"If you make it possible to get back to Dallas, I can promise you we will be the loudest fans in the AAC," he said in the video.

The Mavs owner responded with an e-mail.

"I wish I could," the e-mail read. "You would be shocked by all the comparable requests I am getting. I'm sure u [sic] will figure something out. And more importantly thx [sic] for being a great Mavs family. Go Mavs!!"

In other words, there would be no plane tickets.
Sanders called some friends and sold off his playoff tickets to put the money toward a ticket home.

"When we won game two and he called and said, 'I am coming to see the Mavs,' we were like 'Aah,'" said Karen Sanders, Dustin's mother.

Tuesday, Sanders was eating chopped brisket and drinking sweet tea with his mom and dad in Crowley before the Mavs beat the heat in game four of the NBA Finals. He made it back on American soil just before game three.

"I had a friend pick me up at the airport and we went straight to the game," he said. "I had been awake about 48 hours. So, I was blurry eyed, but it was well worth it."

He also attended game four and is hoping for another win when he goes to watch game four.

"If for some reason they lose the next two, it would be the worst case scenario, which will be the Heat hoisting a trophy," he said prior to the game-four win. "But, I am not going to even think about that."

Sander's said while he is thankful for time with his family, he didn't come this far to settle for barbecue and he doesn’t want his favorite team to settle for second prize either.