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Dallas’ championship proves perseverance matters most

June 12, 2011

On July 10, 2010, the Miami Heat threw a Welcome Party for their two new stars, LeBron James and Chris Bosh, and their returning star, Dwyane Wade, inside American Airlines Arena, or, as the announcer called it, “Wade’s House, LeBron’s Kingdom and Bosh’s Pit”

Just over 11 months later AAA was turned into Dirk’s Dungeon and Kidd’s Cage, and an actual Victory Celebration occurred. It took Nowitzki 13 years to accomplish just about the only thing he hadn’t in his illustrious NBA career – win an NBA championship.

Dirk didn’t leave Dallas after seven years for supposedly greener pastures, like LeBron did when he left Cleveland for Miami a year ago. No. Dirk bided his time, came close to winning a title in 2006 and, with the right supporting cast – surrounded by veterans chasing a ring just like himself – Dirk won.

This NBA Finals wasn’t about LeBron leaving Cleveland and taking his talents to South Beach. This NBA Finals was about a superstar who’s flown under the radar most of his career waiting for the right moment to win his first championship, which is something LeBron couldn’t do.

This NBA Finals was about a Dallas team that put together the right pieces over the years, something Miami wasn’t able to do this season, and a superstar leading his team that was full of supposedly washed-up, over-the-hill veterans, which is something LeBron wasn’t able to do in Cleveland.

This NBA Finals was about Jason Kidd and Shawn Marion, two veterans who have seen their best days pass by a long time ago, sacrificing personal glory for team glory. Kidd, who averaged career-lows in points (7.9) and field goal percentage (36.1 %) this regular season, did everything his coach and team asked him to do this postseason. Knock down huge threes? Check. Guard Kevin Durant and LeBron James? Check. Virtually shut down Durant and James? Check.

Marion played fewer minutes per game this year than any other season in his career, save his rookie year, but he played 32 minutes a game in the Finals, shut down LeBron, and scored 12 points and grabbed six rebounds a game. This is the same Shawn Marion who was traded for Shaq in 2008 because Marion wasn’t what Phoenix needed for a run at a title.

This NBA Finals was about Jason Terry, who has been in Dallas since 2004; was with Dirk in 2006; and didn’t look for an easy way out to win a championship by going to Los Angeles or Boston. Terry didn’t start a game in the playoffs, even though he is Dallas’ best 2-guard. But you wouldn’t hear him complain about that. No, he just went off for 17 points a game, sank 2.2 3s a game and actually showed up in the fourth quarter and knocked down huge shots against his opponents, which is something LeBron couldn’t do. Terry wasn’t afraid to shoot the ball in the playoffs: He had nine 20-point games, and despite playing 11 fewer minutes a game in the Finals, averaged the same amount of points as LeBron.

This NBA Finals was about Tyson Chandler, a bust from the 2002 draft, who, on his fourth team, finally played a significant role and performed; J.J. Barea, who is too small to play in the NBA but played better than a 7-foot giant in the second round of the playoffs and consistently sliced and diced the Heat’s D for easy buckets; and Brian Cardinal, who is too white but gives hope to every unathletic-looking bald man in America.

But most importantly, this NBA Finals was about Nowitzki, a superstar who has, by all accounts, done everything with class in his entire NBA career. He didn’t leave after 2006. He didn’t go on live TV this past summer and announce that he was staying in Dallas when he re-signed with the Mavs. He didn’t throw a huge welcome party for Marion, Kidd or Chandler. He just went to work. Those crazy off-balance shots he made over and over again in the playoffs weren’t made by accident. Those free throws he made over and over and over again in the playoffs weren’t made by luck.

This NBA Finals was about perseverance. It was about not leaving when things got tough. It was about spending the summer in the gym and improving your game, not having TV specials and championship parties before you’ve even played a game together. It was about listening to the doubters and haters and eventually getting the last laugh. LeBron James still could easily win five championships or more in his career. That lesson will also be about perseverance. But right now, this moment – this is Dirk Nowitzki’s moment, Jason Kidd’s moment, Jason Terry’s moment.

This NBA Finals, this moment, proves that there are no shortcuts in basketball. As I tweeted after the game was over, “Dirk’s in Dallas his whole career. LeBron “had” to leave Cleveland. Dirk waited for the right pieces and it paid off. LeBron couldn’t do it.” Dirk didn’t take a shortcut, and it eventually paid off. LeBron did take a shortcut, and his life will forever be changed because of it. And as Cavs’ owner Dan Gilbert tweeted after the game (sic’d), “Old Lesson for all:There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE”

Even if LeBron does win a championship, or multiple championships sometime in the future, his shortcut will be his lasting legacy.


From → NBA

  1. you forgot JET’s Jungle

  2. Really solid write-up man. Throughout the series I still believed the Heat were the better team despite the fact that they were losing but I think games 5 and 6 really showed us that they weren’t. Dallas started making some shots and I think it says something that even though Dirk Nowitzki didn’t play lights out, the Mavericks still won., The Heat didn’t come up big when they needed it most and it cost them their first NBA championship as the next supposed dynasty. We are going to hear about this for another year and there are no guarantees obviously that Miami is going to come back to this place again next year. It’s gonna be a real fun summer Also, you think you could take a peek at my blog cuz I would love to know what you have to say about my thoughts.

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