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The Voice of a New Generation
Jack McCallum
December 25, 2006
Avery Johnson remade the Mavericks in his feisty image and took them to the Finals--where his performance won over thousands of fans
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December 25, 2006

The Voice Of A New Generation

Avery Johnson remade the Mavericks in his feisty image and took them to the Finals--where his performance won over thousands of fans

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That's what he has sold to All-Star forward Dirk Nowitzki, the Maverick least like Johnson as a player--tall, gifted, offensive-minded. "Dirk became much more assertive after Avery got there," says one Western Conference assistant coach who requested anonymity. "Nothing against Nellie, but he just didn't hold Dirk accountable. Now Dirk thinks about every single possession, and that's made him tougher."

Johnson's real trick, though, was toughening up his team without sounding like a scold. In a sporting culture desperate for the unvarnished and the unexpected, he was a frequent, high-pitched source of both. Rest assured there are more Avery Moments to come.

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