You’ve seen him a million times.
You have certainly wondered who he is or tried to figure out “His deal?!”
Who exactly is that Mavericks nut that sits courtside with those hot pink clappers, crazy outfits, and his silver hair pulled back in a ponytail?
His name is Don Knobler and he has become as much a part of a Dallas Mavericks home game as the players themselves.
Inside Dish thought we would ask him a few questions to see if we could get a glimpse of the man beneath those designer clothes.
When did you start following NBA basketball?
Back in 1997 when Don Carter asked me to go to a game. I got to sit in his seats on the front row. I remember it well because Ed Bass -- I didn’t know who he was at the time -- walked up to me and said, “I don’t know who you are, but I love the way you dress. Your outfit is great!” I remember the outfit: it was Versace jeans with a matching t-shirt. I still wear that outfit today and people think it is brand new. That is the thing with designer clothes - you can wear it and no one has seen it so they think it is a brand new creation. The Dallas Mavericks beat Milwaukee that night. It was a real honor to sit with Mr. C because everyone knew him and everyone admired him. I got to meet Rolando Blackman that night also. He was such a nice guy. You know when you sit with Mr. C anything is possible. I became a rabid fan that night. When you sit in the front row there is no other choice than to get taken in by the action of the game. It is amazing.
Who was your favorite player growing up?
I never followed basketball at all, ever. It was not my deal. But the first few times Mr. C invited me it was just the guys. Then once he invited Damaris, my wife, it was all over. She fell in love with the Mavericks and we are crazy for the Mavericks. We don’t follow any other sport except Dallas Mavericks basketball. We couldn’t care less about any other sport. The Dallas Mavericks fans are not like any other fans. There is just something about our fans and how they care about the Mavericks that is contagious.
Who is your favorite Maverick today?
Golly, to pick out one would be tough. I love them all. They are all Class-A guys. I love Jason Kidd. I love Jerry Stackhouse. Golly, I would have to say it is either between Jason Terry or Josh Howard. When you get to meet them like I do on the trips (Maverick Road Trips) you get to see just how great they are as people. I just love Josh Howard.
When did you start getting interested in designer clothes?
When I could afford it. I didn’t have the money until about 1995. I have always bought real bright clothes, and then I learned about Versace and I started going from there. The first time that I went to Versace was with my wife. She bought me my first Versace outfit because I really couldn’t afford it. Then fairly soon after that we were in Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo with Don Carter. We found a place in Vegas that had an annual half-off Versace sale. That put it in a price range that I could afford. Damaris picks out all of my clothes, so if people don’t like what I have on they really need to take it up with her. That is the truth. Everything I wear is picked out by my wife. She is not only a great cardiologist, but she has wonderful fashion sense. I like my clothes because they are different. I like being different. I like it when people wonder who I am when I go somewhere. It’s funny to try to convince them that I am just a regular guy. They are always confused by me because of my long hair and clothes. It’s a look that makes them think I must be somebody in the entertainment industry, I guess. I like meeting new people and learning about them, and I always treat them in a nice way because although I like being different, I don’t want to seem conceited or arrogant. This is just me. I like people.
Since you are so close to the action you seem to know all the referees…who is your favorite referee?
It has to be Dick Bavetta. I really like him. I sit next to some guys and I will not mention any names, but they cuss the referees and scream at them. But I use a different approach. I believe you get more bees with honey than you do with vinegar. In my opinion, a lot of referees have got something against our team because of the way the fans treat them here. For me, when a ref makes a bad call I just tell them, “Hey, good call. You’re the man and whatever you say I agree with. Me and you are a team and I just go with what you say!” It isn't like it’s a democracy out there. Whatever he says goes, so why argue? I’ve heard fans around me call them S.O.B.’s and they don’t use letters. It is bad. What’s the point? It doesn’t matter what you think really. It’s what the refs say that matters. Because what they say is how it is. You are not going to beat the refs. They have all the power. I would never haze a ref. They have a tough job and they are the ones out there doing it the best that they can. Of course they make mistakes, but they are humans. I don’t think the referees’ family history and their IQ have anything to do with their jobs.
You mentioned that you have been on road trips with Dallas Mavericks. How many arenas have you seen the Mavericks play?
We do three to four trips per year, and I have been doing that since I found out that the Mavericks offered it. Once I figured out what you had to do to be eligible to go, I did it. The trips are so much fun. You get to know the players. You get to know the coaches. You get to meet the other players on their home court. I think players are different when they are home. They are more comfortable and open. My entire goal for me and my wife is to support the Dallas Mavericks. I stand up and use my clappers every time the Mavericks score. I do that even in hostile crowds. When I am on the road and the Mavericks score, I do the same thing as I would do at home – I rave for my team.
What is your favorite restaurant in the NBA cities that you have traveled?
I pretty much love Cheesecake Factory in whatever city it is in.
What’s your favorite restaurant in Dallas?
Between you and me, it has to be Three Forks because they have my picture on the wall. The food and service are just great there. The owner, Chris Vogeli, is a great guy and a longtime friend of mine. As a matter of fact, when he and his wife first moved to Dallas, they rented an apartment from me. Then when they had a baby they moved to a bigger place in the chain of Don Knobler apartments.
So your business is rental properties?
Yes, I own and operate approximately 400 condos and apartments, primarily in the Knox/Henderson and Oak Lawn area. I have been doing it for 25 years and I love it. I am helping people with their housing needs and helping them live a happy and peaceful life.
Do you have any basketball players’ telephone numbers in your cell phone?
I only have Nellie (Don Nelson) and Rolando Blackman, that’s it.
How often do people recognize you as the Dallas Mavericks “Super Fan!”?
After the games everyone wants to get their pictures made with me because I am such a big Mavs fan. I am not bragging. People just want to do it because of the association that I have with the Dallas Mavericks. At my church everyone knows me as a Mavericks fan. Outside of American Airlines Center it comes up about four or five times a week. No matter where I travel people seem to recognize me because of the Dallas Mavericks showing me on TV. It is crazy.
Do you have any other hobbies besides basketball and fashion?
Oh yes, motorcycles and skiing are my avocations. I started riding motorcycles in 1997. I do two motorcycle rides every year. The first one is “The Kyle Petty Charity Ride Across America” sponsored by Chick-fil-A. What we do is raise money for camps that cater to children with special needs and health problems. The concept was started by Paul Newman. The other ride is “The Hope for the Heart Motorcycle Ride”. It raises money for the Crisis Pregnancy Center. I started skiing right after I got married to Damaris, and that was in 1984. We had been married a little over a year and we took a ski trip with the Prestonwood Baptist Church and we have loved it ever since.
What type of motorcycles do you have?
I have Harley Davidsons and Honda Gold Wings.
What type of cars do you drive?
I have a lot of cars, but my day-to-day car is a 2003 Yellow Hummer that is named “Thunder Chicken”. And my favorite car is my 1989 Rolls Royce convertible. It has big long horns on the front. When I put the top down and wear my 20 gallon cowboy hat and drive it down the road people want to know, “Who the heck is that guy?!”
What type of music do you have in your Ipod?
Mostly country and western plus Elvis Presley. I love Elvis. He truly is the undisputed King of Rock and Roll.
Do you eat fast food?
I don’t eat fast food because it is not healthy. My wife is a cardiologist after all! Fast food doesn’t do a good job of keeping you healthy.
What is your favorite junk food?
Mavs peanuts. I always take a couple bags with me after every game and eat them in my office until the next game.
Name five people who you would invite to dinner if you could invite anyone?
Okay, Damaris is automatically invited right? Tony Evans, T.D. Jakes, Jet Terry, Jason Kidd and Josh Howard. If I could invite 6 people I would add Obama. He has a lot of responsibilities and I think he is a commendable guy.
So you are a fan of Jesus and the Mavericks?
That is correct! I feel Jesus has a plan for our lives. Without Jesus opening doors for me with my wife, Don Carter, and the Mavericks, I would be nowhere.
Do you have any pets?
Yes, I’ve got Samantha, a miniature schnauzer. We call her ‘Samantha the Great!’ We have had her 6 ½ years.
What is your newest gadget?
My iPhone. I love it. I think it is wonderful.
Who is your favorite NBA player non-Maverick?
I would have to say it is Kobe Bryant because I think God has given him untold ability that no one else can match. I know Michael Jordan is everyone’s pick as greatest NBA player of all time, but I think by the time Kobe’s done it will be a real debate.
Do you remember your first car?
Sure I do. It was a 1967 MG convertible.
Where did you meet your wife Damaris?
I met her in Sunday School at Prestonwood Baptist Church.
Do you still go to church at Prestonwood Baptist Church?
No, I go to Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship. It is on Camp Wisdom in South Dallas.
Where did you take your wife on your first date?
I took her to Chili’s on Greenville Avenue near Walnut Hill. It is not there anymore. I remember it well because we both had salads and she didn’t trust me alone, so I had to bring my youngest son Will with me, who was 11 at that time.
How many children?
I have three children from my first marriage. I was married for 16 years to my first wife and I have been married to Damaris for 25 years. I have two sons, Rick (40) and Will (35), and one daughter, Kate (30).
What is your hometown?
Well, I was born in Washington, D.C., but my father was a U.S. Diplomat with the State Department, so we lived all over the world. We lived in Italy, France, Pakistan, and Brazil.
What is your favorite movie of all time?
“Gone with the Wind”, and I saw it in the theatre when I was a freshman at the University of Tennessee.
What was the last movie that you saw?
I don’t really have time to go to the movies because of my wife’s job and the Mavericks, but the last movie that we saw was “Batman” with Heath Ledger.
Nicole Kidman is probably my favorite.
Who plays you in the made for TV movie?
John Travolta because he is the man.
If you were another person, would you be friends with you?
I am the kind of guy that gets lots of attention. So if I was me, I couldn’t be with me because then I would get all the attention. But if I was another person, depending on my personality, I might love hanging out with me.
Man that was a long interview. You sure do talk a lot!
Yeah, I know I am very loquacious!!!