DALLAS -- Are the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks getting their deserved respect entering the new season?
Not if you ask Shawn Marion.
"We've gotten to the point where everybody started overlooking us and talking about everybody else and I kind of got [mad] about it," Marion said before Sunday's 106-92 preseason loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. "Y'all trying to take something away from us that we've worked hard for and we took.
"We earned everything we did last year," Marion said. "Everybody on this team earned the right to be addressed as world champions so everybody needs to address them like that."
Asked who has been disrespecting the champs, Marion gave a pass to the local media gathered around him and called out the national prognosticators that think the Miami Heat, the star-studded team Dallas took out in six games in the NBA Finals, and others will prevent the Mavs, who lost defensive leader Tyson Chandler and other key pieces in free agency, from repeating.
"You don't be listening to the people? Look what the media is saying," Marion said. "Look outside [the local media] what they be saying. They can kiss our a--. I got my hardware. We earned it. We took it."
The theme of disrespect certainly isn't new in sports. Marion isn't the only Mavs player trumpeting the fact that Dallas isn't being hailed as the team to beat as the regular season approaches. The Mavs and Heat meet on Christmas Day in Dallas.
However, Marion might be the only one surprised by it. Guard Jason Terry suggested during the summer that national attention would elude the Mavs and shine on LeBron James and the Heat, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers and young, on-the-rise clubs like the Thunder.
Dirk Nowitzki certainly seemed to expect such treatment.
"We weren't the favorites to win it last year, so nobody really knows what's going to happen in the next couple of months," Nowitzki said at the start of training camp. "So, all this favorite stuff is a bunch of speculation anyway. Nobody knows what's going to happen in June. All we have to do is get prepared and get all the new pieces in the right places and play our butt off."
Jeff Caplan covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.