Nearly 30 years later, and Damaris Knobler still remembers the first time she laid eyes on her future husband at church.
"He was wearing plaid pants, a yellow shirt, a green tie, and a green jacket," Damaris says.
Her first thought?
"I'd never seen anybody dress like that."
Regulars to Dallas' American Airlines Center or those watching Mavericks basketball on TV often say the same thing.
Don Knobler is easy to spot and hard to forget. For more than a decade, the Mavs fan has been rooting from his courtside seats wearing eye-popping outfits that might make Elton John jealous.
One night could find him head-to-toe in leopard print and enough jewelry to rival Mr. T. The next night he’s the spitting image of a Royal Canadian Mountie.
"If you've got a body like mine, you've got to cover it," quips the 67-year-old Dallas resident.
So who is this quirky character? A real estate investor and property manager who "by the grace of God" has seen enough success to finance his fetishes for bright colors and extremes (he has a Hummer and a smart car in canary yellow).
"You only go around once," Don says.
He got hooked on the Mavericks after former team owner Donald Carter invited him to a game in 1997.
"We all love Don," current Mavs owner Mark Cuban writes in an email. "The more outrageous he dresses, the more we like it."
Don doesn't disappoint. His game ensembles have included kilts, top hats, colored hair, cowboy chaps, fur coats, shamrock glasses, Santa suits, hand-painted jeans and even an Indian war bonnet.
"I hear people saying, 'Look at that idiot,' but I don't care," Don says. "As long as I'm not offending the Lord, offending the Mavs, or offending Mark Cuban, I don't care. I’m just an overly-enthusiastic fan of the Dallas Mavericks."
A Mavs fanatic with four closets. Actually, they’re more like rooms ... with no space to spare.
"I've got more clothes than you can imagine," he says, standing between a rack of designer shirts and another rack of handmade jackets. "I never wear the same outfit twice in a season."
He has something to choose from for every occasion. His stash includes 168 pairs of cowboy boots, more than 200 hats and scores of sunglasses.
How does he keep up with it all?
"I don't," Don says. "I just put it in here and it's here."
Getting ready for a game can take a couple of hours. Don picks a theme and Damaris wades through his wardrobe to match it all up. Sunglasses are a staple of every outfit, even indoors.
"If you’re cool, the sun always shines," Don says.
Shaquille O'Neal calls him "Bling."
"The players look at me and say 'You're styling,'" he says.
That stylish presence has made him somewhat of a courtside celebrity, even among celebrities. Like when Spike Lee stopped Don a few years back and asked to snap a photo with him.
"Oh, I was wearing a beautiful Versace," he recalled. "It was a suit with a matching vest, pants and coat."
At the American Airlines Center, Don's personality is as loud as his fashion. He knows most everyone from ushers to referees by name.
"Because I hug them all and love on them," he says.
He once gave a stadium parking lot attendant 12 pairs of cowboy boots. Damaris' demand that he try and clean out the closets at least once a year can result in a truckload of donations to their church.
"It's not the clothes, it's what's in his heart," says Damaris, who comes to the games with her husband but certainly doesn't dress like him. "Clothes are just clothes."
Yet for a man who seems to have everything, there's one accessory he hasn’t gotten his hands on: a Mavericks NBA championship ring.
"I'd buy one in a second. Whatever the cost, I will own one," says Don, who predicts this to be Mavs' year. "We're going to get it."
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