Like a gladiator who just slayed the mythical 3 headed beast, Dirk Nowitzki stalked off the court in a focused frenzy. His emotions welling up so forceful that only his immense amount of jersey fabric shielding his face covered the tears that started to flow.
The Dallas Mavericks had just won the NBA Championship, and all was right in the world again.
Akin to Luke Skywalker or Dark Knight type of story, the villainous trio of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and likable Dwayne Wade were struck down by the force. The force of camaraderie, the force of teamwork, the force of knowing one’s role in a setting. While the Miami Heat put on this show of best buddies goofing around and the tired press conferences with LeBron flanked by Dwayne as if he was there for moral support or to finish each others’ sentences. The rest of this team was discovered to be exactly what most thought they were. Soulless mercenaries. Mike Bibby gave up $6 million plus to bring his defense? 3-point shooting? dribbling skills! Zydrunas brought a cool nickname in Big Z. Mario Chalmers showed some passion and by the time Udonis Haslem showed up, you could see some fight in the dog. Chris Bosh has an extensive bowtie collection (pure speculation). Dwayne Wade appeared to be the only one with an actual pulse and passion for winning. Maybe it’s because he is the only one who has won a title, save for Eddie House, who got to play in the 4th quarter. The 4th quarter where over-hyped, over-marketed, under-fundamentally sound LeBron James started on the bench.
The largest free agent in the recent history of the NBA started the 4th quarter of the NBA final game in which his team had to win or go home, on the bench. Not even mentioning that he had 72 year (age approximate) old Jason Kidd guarding him when Dallas’ wasn’t playing zone, 2 time MVP Bron Bron, was a deer in headlights on the interstate with cars whizzing by and instead of grabbing his teammates by the scruff of their necks and rallying them up for a defensive lockdown, he pissed himself and sat down. LeBron filled his stat sheet in the first 3 quarters of each game, even logging his trademark triple double in Game 5. Ultimately, the 4th quarter is where the will to win disappeared in the Chosen one. The King had no Castle, only jesters. The Empire crumbled and as valiant as D-Wade and Chalmers tried, the might of J.J. Barea, Jason Terry, Yoda (J-Kidd), Tyson Chandler and Dirk were simply too much for the hired guns to handle.
On the other side of the coin, the Dallas Mavericks. Cleveland’s team! Dan Gilbert, (CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers and former LeBron James employer) immediately sent a supportive, yet vindictive tweet that couldn’t have been said better, by 100 thousand former LeBron fans. Jason Terry, a lovable loser who had tattooed the Larry O’Brien trophy on his right bicep, finally was vindicated and we can all appreciate his energy as he ran LeBron James ragged. Jason Kidd, who in his 17 year career, has dealt with coming close to an NBA championship twice, a rough divorce, years of playing on thin teams and critics saying he had nothing left in the tank. Truth is, he was just on cruise control and he hit the nitrous in the playoffs! JJ Barea was the sparkplug to the engine. Like an informercial, I just kept hearing the announcer yell, “It slices, it dices, it shreds your defense!” Tyson Chandler was all-world. He incarnated Rodman with the tip rebounds and battled Haslem, Joel Anthony & Chris Bosh each game. Finally, Dirk. Class Act. Champion. Good stuff.
The main thing that perplexed me, was watching the last 5 minutes of the game, realizing the Miami Heat, playing in front of their white T-shirt clad fans down by 8 points had every chance in the world to take control of the game and force a Game 7. Instead of full pressure defense or running set plays or at least getting to the rim. A lackadaisical half court defense ensued with a 3 point shot being taken by LeBron and Chalmers. Brick and Brick. Dallas comes down the court with Nowitzki draining jumpers that look like they’ve been dropped from the rafters by angels. Even with the stink of desperation sinking in and the emotion in the arena being sucked out, Miami still had a chance. But alas, no passion, no heart, no desire to win. Walking around, half hearted efforts finally vanquished by another Dallas drive or Nowitzki jumper!
When the merciful ending arrived and the victors received their spoils, there was an earnest sincerity in the way they celebrated as they deserved the title.
To the Miami Heat,
The Boston Celtics send their Thanks, the Cleveland Cavaliers send Pity and Closure and the Dallas Mavericks could care less. They got the hardware!