To many of us, the word “maverick” in English means an individual who marches to the beat of his own drum.
That’s what Dallas’ NBA team was going for across all languages, but “maverick” didn’t translate quite how it had thought in Chinese. In fact, for nearly two decades, the team’s Chinese name meant “little cows” in English.
Owner Mark Cuban realized that and initiated a rebranding campaign in September, asking Chinese-speaking Mavs fans to help the team choose a new and more accurate (given the team's mascot is a horse) name.
"I wasn't happy," Cuban told ESPN at the beginning of the campaign, "Obviously, no one wants to be a little cow, so I'm glad we're going to get an opportunity to change it."
Two weeks after the search started, the Mavs received more than 50,000 comments from fans with suggestions. The team then chose three finalists: 独行侠 (“Lone Ranger Heroes”), 烈驹 (“Fierce Colts”) and 狂马 (“Wild Horses”), according to a news release.
After one month and more than 100,000 votes, the fans made their decision. The new name was announced via a live online broadcast in China during Wednesday’s game against the Golden State Warriors.
Drum roll, please...the Mavericks will now be known as 达拉斯独行侠 (DúXíngXiá) in all Chinese-speaking regions of the world. It translates roughly in English to “Dallas Lone Ranger Heroes.”
Now, that’s more like it.
“This is the beginning of a new chapter in the Mavericks’ long legacy in China,” Cuban said. “With this Chinese name change, we’ve made history by giving our Chinese-speaking fans the opportunity to redefine our identity. I think that fans will be proud of this new name.”
As for the game, the Mavs lost by a mere three points. Steph Curry's long 3-pointer with three seconds to play allowed the Warriors to escape with a 125-122 win.