So it is finally over the Dallas Mavericks who probably few if any outside of Texas and Charles Barkley picked to win the NBA Finals are now NBA Champions and has done much to erase the hard memories of the 2006 Finals. This was a story that you could never pass off in fiction, I said it before it is hard to make a real underdog and this year an Underdog did win it all when they had to contend in the stronger Western Conference and face off against the team just about every one believed would win. I just wanted to gush about sports once again because THIS is the kind of drama that media and anime want but rarely achieve. The Mavericks proved themselves to be Mavs of Destiny and came out the Winner. Glory to the Mavericks and may Commissioner Stern Long remember the bitterness of having to hand Mark Cuban the Trophy. Thanks to my mates at sccsav who wanted to witness the Mavericks claim righteous revenge.
On paper the Dallas Mavericks should not have gotten to the Finals, the Portland Trailblazers should have taken away their jump shot and should have won that series when the Mavericks lost a double digit lead. At that point anyone with a grasp of the NBA thought that the Mavericks would get bounced in the playoffs like they had for most of their history. Ever since they blew a 2-0 lead against the Miami Heat in 2006 they were labeled as choke artists that they could only succeed in the regular season, but this year it was different. After banishing the Trailblazers who were favored to win the Mavericks were slated to be swept by the Lakers who had destroyed them in the regular season, but the Laker Championship Armor was in disrepair. When the Mavericks swept the Lakers it was because the Lakers gave up, that the Lakers broke down, that the Lakers had bad matchups, and few if any felt that Dallas had much to do with that win.
When they came across the up and coming Thunder which was made up of mostly 22-21 year old players, the old veterans of the Dallas Mavericks were supposed to be out run. The Mavericks were the oldest team left in the playoffs and they were older than the recently vanquished Lakers, and were this Gundam they would have been trashed. Old men rarely ever win in fiction but here it was a team of old veterans who had worked for most of their careers to win a championship, there was only one NBA All-Star on their roster and one that was the face of the 2006 failure. For most of their roster on the face of it their best years were behind them, they were not getting any younger and this was to be their last chance and slim chance at that. However a curious thing happened when the young guns of the Thunder were outmaneuvered by the veteran Mavericks who were not intimidated even when they were down 15 points with minutes to go.
It was to be the theme of the Mavericks slow starts and getting lead by double digits often with minutes left to go in the final quarter. They may have been on the losing side when it came to being NBA Champions year after year after year, but this year they were in a brotherhood of losers who had always been the bridesmaids but never the bride. They were considered to be “soft” that you could push them around and they would fold, pretty much the entire league felt that way, but they had taken a chance one of the few young men on their roster in Tyson Chandler who did prove to be the tank player they needed. Every team they played since the Trailblazers were more talented and many times younger than they were yet the Mavericks would find a way to win in the end.
Looking at this team you could easily make the case that the roster was full of old men, unproven players, undrafted players, and one that only had one superstar talent. To make things worse the team was coached by a man who looked like Jim Carey and was owned by a guy that had a very antagonistic relationship with the Commissioner and the referees. On the face of it the Mavericks did not look like winners and when they somehow made it to the NBA finals they were once again supposed to be swept by the Miami Heat who had two of the best players on the planet in Dwane Wade and LeBron James with another All-Star Talent. The Miami Heat was the opposite of the Mavericks they were the favorite to win there was no question as to their talent, and the strength of their front office headed by an NBA Legend. The Heat had vanquished the Celtics and the Bulls and looked certain to start their dynasty this year as they stated in their Championship Parade back in July of last year. James was so bullish about their championship success that he went on to promise a dynasty of 8 seasons.
It was not to be for the talented Heat who lost to a group of aging veterans. Still it seems that the Basketball Gods have special providence for old men this year. Unlike the Miami Heat the Dallas Mavericks were a team was a congregation of men that were closer to the end of their time than they were to starting it. Miami had three players who could single handedly win a game, and every series they played up to then was decided in 5 games, while the Mavericks struggled in their first series and were said to have been gifted their series against the Lakers. Miami was to be stronger, faster, and just flat out better. The Heat got valuable players back from injury while the Mavericks had lost an important scorer and an important rebounder. But then some of the Mavericks who had seen very little play time went out and played hard, even the balding doughy Brian Cardinal who looked out of shape was able to contribute to the Mavericks victory. In the end the team of old men who few picked to win it all became Champions over the team that was “destined” to be the face of the NBA for years to come.
There were plenty of story lines since it was the Heat who took it upon themselves to build their own super team, promise a dynasty, and telling their front running, bandwagon “fans” that it was going to be easy. When they got the Dallas Mavericks as their last stepping stone they felt it was no contest as no team since 1994 was a team with three NBA All-Stars defeated by a team with just one. After all it was Dirk Nowitzki who had five years ago choked away a lead against them. The Mavericks old veterans included: Jason Kidd who was long mocked as having no jump shot and was the oldest player left in the league, Shawn Marion was usually out of shape and was to guard LeBron, Dirk was to face the man who had wrecked him in the past, and Jason Terry was to be shut down by a premier defender in LeBron on the offensive end. What youth the Mavericks had included the likes of Tyson Chandler who had been bounced around the league and was usually on the injury list, and JJ Barea who was the smallest player in the series and was an undrafted player out of Puerto Rico which was not known for producing strong basketball talent. Most daunting of all was that LeBron’s self-proclaimed nemesis, DeShawn Stevenson, from his days in Cleveland was still making questionable decisions on the court with stupid fouls. So it was to be that a bunch of old men and squires was to face the dreaded three headed Heat Hydra.
When things were tied 2-2 things looked bad for the Mavericks, Dirk was sick and struggling in Game 4, both their victories over the Heat were ones “given away” by the Miami Heat, but the team pulled together and won it handily. Game 6 was looking grim when Dirk was going 1-12 for shooting in the first half, but again the team pulled together and slammed the door crushing every ring finger on the Miami Heat and right in the face of the franchise that had humiliated them in 2006. The Jim Carey stand-in that they called coach outwitted the youngest coach in the NBA who had the backing of the Legendary Pat Riley, and was widely lauded as a defensive master. But Jim Carey had the guts to bench Peja Stojakovic who had a heavy hand in crushing the Lakers, benched Stevenson in favor of JJ Barea, and put in the doughy Brian Cardinal when his back-up center, the formidable Brendan Haywood was injured. In the end the former bench player who was widely likened as Jim Carey’s stunt double overcame the rising star of the coaching world.
The Championship win for the Dallas Mavericks makes plenty for BEST END. Dirk and Terry claim vengeance for their 2006 humiliation, Jason Kidd gets his first Championship after 17 years of struggles, Marion wielder of the ugliest shot in the NBA becomes a champion after years of being regarded as a has-been, JJ Barea the undrafted player mocked for his short stature gets to be the face of the sweep of the Lakers, Stojakovic gets his vengeance on the Lakers who were gifted a win by the refs when he was still young, The Mavericks franchise finally gets one championship after decades of waiting, and most deliciously of all Cleveland gets the best closure for the drama of LeBron’s decision. Sports is never fair but on 6/12/2011 the team that was the scrappy underdog beat the team that threw themselves a Championship Parade before the first tip-off of the season. The hubris of the Miami Heat and their front running, fair weather fanbase gets slapped with bitter defeat from a team that they referred to as chokers and belittled ever since getting the better of them in 2006. America wins Miami loses, Just about every fan of the NBA outside of South Beach is glad that the Miami super-team will not begin their reign of terror this year.
Even if you care nothing for basketball the Dallas Mavericks have demonstrated that humiliations do not have to last forever, that revenge may come late but can be delicious all the same, that talent lazily spent is no substitute for hard work and heart, that old men can make one last glorious charge and win something that had eluded them for most of their lives, that shortcuts are never certain, and that it is only over when you decide to quit. So congratulations to the 2011 NBA Champions the Dallas Mavericks and their fans, the Stars and the Cowboys maybe struggling (the Cowboys rightfully so) but the Mavericks have made history this day. America loves you especially Cleveland. So ends a tale so grand, and so unbelievable that it can only be true, fiction wishes it was this great but at least we will be spared the Hollywood movie (unless the real Jim Carey makes a successful pitch to play Rick Carlisle). Much can and will be said of LeBron but you cannot call him a liar for he was right, as they won not, one, not two, just none. So to the few front running Miami Heat Fans enjoy your “not one” Championship, Sir Charles sends his regards for correctly picking the Mavericks to win in six despite all your asinine jeering during TNT coverage. I confess it feels real good to have the last laugh at you collective expense. So ends your disgusting whiteouts, out the door with minutes to go. Long may the Heattle nation arrive late, not pay attention, not know the rules, and quit early. At the time of Sir Charles made his prophecy he might have been wrong but right now I doubt it.
Such a memorable Finals, so let’s enjoy it since the lockout starts right after the draft.