One day, back in 2011, the start of something special came upon us.
In Game One of the NBA Finals, the Dallas Mavericks lost to the Miami Heat 92-84. While they may have lost that battle, they ultimately won the war. That was when the basketball world didn’t know how awful a decision LeBron James had made to play for Miami.
But more on that later.
The Dallas Mavericks defeated the Heat in six games lead by a flu-stricken, one-legged, fader-loving German legend. Dirk Nowitzki put together a historic postseason capped off with amazing Finals performances to overcome not only LeBron James, but also Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
Dirk getting his revenge for what the Heat did to his MVP season in 2006 with an NBA Finals MVP performance is what makes it even better. As a pioneer on both the European and stretch-four fronts, Dirk revolutionized the game, and it will never be the same again.
Dirk may be the very last player to ever accomplish the daunting feat of beating a superteam in the Finals. Despite the overwhelming odds, the Heat were no match for the signature one-legged fadeaway jumper.
I’ll remember this lefty layup for all of eternity.
Three-point shooting Jason Kidd, the jet-flying Jason Terry, offensive glass-tapping Tyson Chandler and the weird shooter of Shawn Marion all complemented Dirk well, and made this team really fun to cheer for. The 2011 Mavericks were simply awesome.
As the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, Dirk is the most underappreciated talent in today’s folklore. Perhaps it’s due to his love for the game preventing him from retiring despite his advanced age, forcing people to remember him not for his glory days, but for his struggles now.
On an Impractical Sports Podcast, Ryan and Noah said they thought he was overpaid, despite the fact that Dirk has taken the most pay cuts any superstar has ever taken. So there’s that.
LeBron ended up winning just two titles for the Heat before his guilty conscience made him go back to Cleveland. Now, the formation of superteams that resulted from James’ need to win titles has become his downfall.
There was a simpler time seven years ago where one superstar could carry a team on his back to beat a superteam. While LeBron’s 3-1 Finals comeback was insane, the Durant acquisition makes the Warriors a wall that looks impenetrable . No matter how great your superstar is, it’s nearly impossible to defeat them Warriors. Just ask the greatest player of all time, LeBron James.
Golden State is not only the overwhelming favorite to win the series, but many expect Steph Curry and Co. to sweep the inferior Cavs. That was evident last night when J.R. Smith forgot the score, showing LeBron’s true lack of help..
When Kevin Durant decided to join the Warriors to form arguably the greatest team in modern professional sports history, the fun was taken out of the NBA, making LeBron’s climb up the MJ mountain that much steeper.
P.S. Dirk and I have the same birthday, so if you’ve never seen both of us in the same room at the same time, it’s not a coincidence.