The Dallas Mavericks will require fans who enter the American Airlines Center for home games to have proof of being fully vaccinated against the coronavirus or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of the game.
The Mavericks are following the Oklahoma City Thunder, New York Knicks, Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors, which will have similar policies. The Thunder and Mavericks are the only teams that adopted the policy without a local mandate with which to comply.
The announcement came into the inboxes of Mavericks season-ticket holders, according to 105.3 The Fan in Dallas. Additionally, fans will be required to wear masks throughout the arena except when they’re eating or drinking. Children under 12 years old who are not seated within 15 feet of the court will not need to comply with the requirements, but anyone over the age of 2 still has to wear a mask.
Mavericks team owner Mark Cuban explained the decision to D Magazine.
“We wanted to keep our customers and employees as safe as we can. There are no absolutes with COVID. But based on the data we have, we felt that was the best decision. As the data and science evolves, we will re-evaluate our decisions as often as we think it helps,” Cuban said.
Cuban also answered criticism of the policy on Twitter.
Mavericks fans are hoping a new coach and a roster loaded with talent, including Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, will get them back to the NBA Finals.
The Mavericks have a preseason home game on Oct. 6.
Dallas was bounced from the first round of the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. Jason Kidd was hired to replace Rick Carlisle as head coach for this season.