Keith Grant retires after 42 seasons

The Dallas Mavericks’ first media guide, featuring an overview of the team’s 1980–81 expansion season, lists 19 full-time employees.

On Monday, the last of those remaining employees, deputy general manager Keith Grant, announced his retirement.

To put Grant’s tenure in perspective, the person in this first media guide who had the second-longest stint, vice president of communications Kevin Sullivan, left in 1998. Or take Dirk Nowitzki’s NBA record of 21 seasons of play for a single franchise and double that.

“Forty-two years is a lot to sum up in one phone call,” Grant said, reached by The news about an hour after the official announcement sent by e-mail. “What a ride. It’s amazing. The things I’ve been associated with and a part of?

“It’s Walter Mitty, you know?”

The difference is that Mitty’s fanciful daydreams were imaginary. Grant’s ambitions, though lofty, were all realized.

After playing baseball at the University of Oklahoma City, he started with the Mavericks as a 22-year-old equipment manager, and at 64, he leaves as a respected and beloved executive and great -father of two children, Mia and Miles.

He’s a walking historian of the Mavericks, having seen and done it all, from equipment manager (1980-84) to scouting department (1984-86) to advanced scout (1986-1990) to director of the scouting (1990-94) to player manager. staff to the vice president of operations.

He had held the title of assistant general manager since 1998. Sure, he worked for all three Mavericks owners, all 10 head coaches (including Dick Motta twice), was in the Mavericks’ final five Western Conference, two spots in the NBA Finals and of course the 2011 championship.

“Keith Grant is an NBA legend with a heart of gold,” Mavericks Governor Mark Cuban said in Monday’s press release. “He did so much for the Mavs and he made our organization and our community better. I can’t express enough appreciation for all that KG has done for this franchise.

KG really is a Mavs OG. Look at the black and white team photo from 1980-81 and it’s the boyish-looking guy standing behind power forward Clarence Kea, between guard Chad Kinch and assistant coach Bob Weiss .

XMIT ORG: S0353411719_STAFF The 1980-81 Dallas Mavericks team photo. Top row, left to right: General Manager Norm Sonju, Head Coach Dick Motta, Coach Doug Atkinson, Oliver Mack, Jim Spanarkel, Marty Byrnes, Brad Davis, Chad Kinch, Equipment Manager Keith Grant, assistant coach Bob Weiss. Seated, left to right: Stan Pietkiewicz, Tom LaGarde, Abdul Jeelani, Bill Robinzine, Scott Lloyd, Clarence Kea. 08222010timeline 04192011xSPORTS(Courtesy / Digital File)

“It’s just cool,” Grant said, reciting in gratitude four decades of players, coaches and managers. “I was very lucky to experience all of this.”

The 2011 title and winning the franchise’s first Western Conference championship in 2006 are of course the highs, but Grant said his most vivid memory is Dallas winning the April 26, 1984 playoffs. “Moody Madness” against Seattle.

It was the deciding fifth game of the franchise’s first playoff series. The match could not be played at Reunion Arena, which had booked a world tennis championship match, so SMU’s 9,007-seat Moody Coliseum had to be hurriedly prepared.

“I literally laid the 3-point lines myself,” Grant said. “The only problem was just before the game [the Sonics] felt that one of the baskets was not level.

Mavericks director of game operations Marty Faulkner rushed to a neighborhood hardware store to buy a level.

“And, by God, that basket was level,” Grant said. “And I’m thinking, ‘Please don’t go and measure the 3-point lines.’ ”

Legend has it that five years later, scout Keith Grant strongly recommended the Mavericks take Tim Hardaway with the No. 8 pick in the 1989 draft, and later that night suggested Dallas take Cliff Robinson with the No. ° 35.

Dallas chose Randy White and Pat Durham instead.

Apparently, this tradition is among many untold stories Grant will quietly take with him into retirement, including of course Roy Tarpley stories, although Grant on Monday allowed one.

When Tarpley died in 2015, 20 years after the NBA permanently banned him due to drug and alcohol abuse, Grant and Mavericks great Rolando Blackman attended the funeral in Mobile, Ala.

Tarpley’s mother surprised and humiliated Grant by asking him to speak during the service.

“Roy’s best times were with the Mavericks and with me,” he said. “And his worst times were probably with us too. But it was special to be asked to speak.

From equipment manager to capologist, washing jocks and socks to building an NBA championship team, Grant has seen and experienced it all.

In between, Jason Kidd went from second overall pick in the 1994 draft to champion at Coach Kidd. Last Thursday night, Grant, having made the decision months ago to retire, entered his final draft, chaired by sophomore president and general manager Nico Harrison.

The franchise announced that Grant would remain a consultant for Harrison, but as the draft unfolded and the Mavericks traded for No. 37 pick Jaden Hardy, Grant felt at peace.

“It went really well,” he said. “They were prepared. I was really proud. Almost like, you know, a parent.

Twitter: @Townbrad

Find more Mavericks coverage from the Dallas Morning News here.

About Catherine Sturm

Check Also

Hawaii or Te Puke: Where to go for your next vacation?