If it seemed the oldest, most infirm team members of the Dallas Mavericks drank from a fountain of youth on their way to snatching the 2011 NBA title from the younger , quicker hands of the Miami Heat, well the didnt. Oh, the Mavs found something, all right. But it wasn't a fountain as much as a fog. And they didn't drink the rejuvenating potion; they bathed in it. The Dallas Mavericks were the first to find the benefits of Cryotherapy.
Toward the end of the regular season, Jason Kidd was struck with an injury. Due to the urgency of the situation, the team doctor directed Jason to a special facility that had one of the few cryotherapy machines in the country.
The 38-year-old Kidd, looking for any edge to help avoid another first-round playoff exit, was that guinea pig. After stepping out of the cryotherapy machine, he said, "That's amazing." The next day at practice, his teammates could not believe how quickly Jason had recovered.
Kidd returned two days later with the other thirty something teammates in tow. Each of them took a long look at the machine, then at Kidd. Nowitzki muttered something and went first. In the end, they all tried it and left giddy and convinced.
The next day, the Mavs blistered the Suns by 25 points, and the night after that they beat the Rockets by seven in Houston. In the season finale two days later, Kidd posted his best game in more than a month, outperforming Hornets star Chris Paul with 12 points on four of six threes and eight assists with only one turnover in a 32-point beatdown. At this point they were convinced. Cryotherapy had become their secret weapon.
There was one problem. The first round of the playoffs were against Portland. At the time, the only cryotherapy machine in the Portland area was at the Nike center. Special arrangements had to be made for the team to use the machine when they were in town. Mavericks took the trailblazers 4-2 and headed off to Los Angeles where 2 machines were available. They swept the Lakers in 4 games straight.
Then in the Finals, Kidd had to defend Dwyane Wade, arguably the most athletic 2-guard in the league, and James, arguably the most athletic player in the league. Kidd gives a big nod to cryotherapy.
"It gave us a tremendous edge, not only physically but psychologically," Terry says. "I don't know if it was a team-bonding thing, but it's something that came up every day. We'd plan on getting together and hitting it. It became a ritual."
And after winning the franchise's first NBA title, the Mavs have no intention of coming in from the cold.They now have Cryotherapy machines installed in their facility.
Rich Bucher, ESPN Magazine, July 25, 2011