Victor Villalba has seen plenty of unforgettable moments at the American Airlines Center.
“It’s just a marvelous experience,” said Villalba, the voice of the Mavs Spanish radio broadcasts.
He’s been that voice for 15 years, through the run to the NBA Finals in 2006, the championship in 2011 and countless moments in between.
Mavs magic has a way of bringing north Texans together. When they play at home at the American Airlines Center, the color of your jersey matters more than the color of your skin and the language in which you cheer.
The COVID-19 pandemic combined with racial and political turmoil changed everything.
“At the beginning, there was nobody here,” Villalba said.
Our common ground shaken, Villalba found himself sitting alone, except for a handful of journalists and announcers in the press box.
His pace and his passion never faltered, because fewer fans in the seats mean more of them listening from home.
For months, he brought that arena energy to fans in need of something to unite us when we felt isolated and divided.
After months of sitting alone, the fans returned in February. Villalba sat down with WFAA ahead of the final home game of the regular season.
The fans were socially distanced and cheering in different languages. It was a welcome sight for a city in need of healing.
“You feel the energy of the stadium, there’s no doubt about it,” Villalba said.
As the game started, Villalba’s Spanish commentary was quick and colorful, a flurry of sound and style.
And even if you don’t understand Villalba’s words, his faith in this team and in this town come through loud and clear.