DALLAS - Students at W.E. Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy in Dallas got to see a different side of Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle Wednesday.

Carlisle played the piano at three different assemblies and delivered a message of encouragement.

[The piano] has given me a lot of enjoyment over the years and I just want to pass a message on to these kids that an instrument, any instrument, whether it's the piano, the violin or the trumpet, it's something that can make your life a little bit richer, Carlisle said.

This would normally be a time that Carlisle would be fine tuning his schedule for training camp, but the NBA players are still locked out. So, he's been fine tuning his skills at the keyboard and entertaining and talking to kids.

I've been playing a little more than usual the last month or so, but it's all relative, Carlisle said. There is a little extra time now. The important thing for us as a franchise and for me, as one of the leaders of our team, is to look for opportunities to connect with our fans and with kids in the community, with our season ticket holders. Whatever we can do especially coming off the year we had which was so great.

Carlisle also answered questions from student reporters. One was about his superstitions.

I can't wear the same suit every game, although I wore the same suit the last two games, Carlisle told the students.

One of the youngsters asked Carlisle if the 1986 Boston Celtics was the best team that year.

No question, Carlisle responded. Absolutely! Are you kidding me?

Carlisle was a player on that championship team.

Carlisle also talked about his life-changing experience by winning an NBA championship with the Mavericks as ahead coachearlier this year.

It was a tremendous, tremendous experience obviously, and I don't know if it's completely sunk in, Carlisle said. But we've got to be careful that we don't think about how good that felt that we forget about keeping our eye on the ball and look toward what's coming up. Once we get started, everyone will be gunning for us like never before.

Carlisle ended his presentation with a piano version of We Are the Champions. The kids got to sing, but he didn't

We all remember Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki singing the same song during the Mavericks championship celebration.

One thing I know, Carlisle said afterward. It sounds better played on the piano than sung, by certain people, myself included.

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