DeAndre Jordan insists the boos won't bother him Wednesday night.
Jordan can reasonably anticipate the wrath of a sellout American Airlines Center crowd to be focused on him during his first visit to Dallas since he reneged on a verbal commitment to sign with the Mavericks in July. But the Los Angeles Clippers center claims it's not a concern.
"Nah, I don't care. It's cool," Jordan said. "It's just another game. It's going to be hostile, but it's supposed to be. It's cool."
"It's going to be fun. At the end of the day, it's a basketball game, it's a competition. We're gonna go out and try to beat them, just like they're trying to beat us. It'll be fun."
Mavs owner Mark Cuban encourages Mavs fans to boo and heckle Jordan, as long as they keep it clean. As far as Cuban is concerned, it's part of the NBA entertainment package.
"I think they're going to have fun with it," Cuban said. "You know, that's what they should do. You come to games to have fun. Look, this is not thermonuclear war. This is a basketball game, and for fans, it's supposed to be fun. Any other business, we would have had more fun with it, but just the nature, we can't. But yeah, I hope they have fun with it. I hope they scream, they yell."
Will Cuban boo from his baseline seat by the Mavs' bench?
"Hell yeah, I'll boo," Cuban said, laughing. "Nah, there's no point."
Jordan would have been the most high-profile free-agent addition in Mavericks history, but it's not just that he broke Mavs fans' hearts with his change of heart that puts him atop the public enemy list in Dallas. It's also the way Jordan backed out of his commitment.
Jordan still has not communicated with Mavs owner Mark Cuban since the night before he re-signed with the Clippers. Cuban went to Jordan's Houston home that night in hopes of persuading him to stick to his commitment.
When Cuban texted Jordan to inform him he was at his house, Jordan replied that he was on a date. He was actually dining with Clippers power forward Blake Griffin.
Jordan ignored Cuban's repeated attempts to communicate with him the next day. Jordan also mostly shut out Chandler Parsons, who made trips to Houston and Los Angeles to recruit Jordan and spent days with him. A Clippers contingent kept Jordan company at his house until he could officially sign his contract at midnight ET July 10.
"We've all changed our mind before," said Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, who was part of the recruiting dinner for Jordan with Cuban and Parsons at a Malibu sushi restaurant in the first hour of free agency. "I think the franchise and the fans were not happy with the way he went about it -- not responding to Cubes and Parsons anymore and kind of put-the-head-in-the-sand strategy, instead of being upfront and saying, 'Hey, I changed my mind,' and just being honest about it. I think that's what rubbed people the wrong way, but it's over.
"It was in July. We're in frickin' November now. This is not an issue anymore, but if he gets booed, that's fine. We've got to respond from an embarrassing loss [to the previously winless New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday]. That's all I'm worried about -- not about DeAndre Jordan -- at this point."
Parsons also isn't interested in focusing on the storyline of Jordan's visit.
"I'm sure he'll get booed," Parsons said. "I'm sure fans will be aggressive and rowdy. It's not about that. It's about us playing a very good team that got into Dallas today and is resting and waiting on us.
"The whole ESPN commercial, they're trying to make it a big deal. I'm sure it will be crazy and intense, but we can't focus on that. He's one player on a very deep team. We've got to do whatever we can to win and not focus on him coming back."
Cuban said the Mavs will not have any in-game entertainment elements that specifically address Jordan. He said that wouldn't be appropriate.
"We can't do anything," Cuban said. "I wish we could, but we can't."
That might come as a disappointment to some of Jordan's Clippers teammates.
"I've been looking forward to this game a long time now," Griffin said with a laugh. "It's going to be interesting. I can't wait to see what Cuban and all those guys have pulled out. You know how their crowd's going to be. It's going to be fun. It's going to be a hostile environment, but those games are fun to play in."