Go Mavs

2011 May 31

Once the Heat emerged victorious in the Eastern Conference Finals almost a week ago (NBA scheduling is the worst), I made sure to declare my rooting interests for the Finals. I’ve probably been rooting for the Mavs this entire time, as the only other legitimate options were the Bulls and Thunder, two young teams that look to have plenty of opportunities to challenge whichever team becomes champs this year. I say “probably” due to my tepid interest in the NBA playoffs until now. The Spurs and Lakers got knocked out earlier than expected, and Chris Paul put on a spectacular show in a losing effort (unlike Derrick Rose), but nowadays the only sport I really care about is baseball. Undoubtedly, Roto Hardball and my self-imposed pressure to know as much as possible have me neglecting all other sports. Hell, there’s a Djokovic-Federer French Open semifinal coming up and I doubt I’ll watch it. To keep track of baseball as a whole, majors and minors, while also trying to watch his own team as much as possible, is probably analogous to having two girlfriends. And being a Mets fan means neither of them is having sex with me.

But to get back to basketball, Dirk Nowitzki needs to be perfect for the Mavs to even have a chance in this series. He needs to put up numbers like he did in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, where he scored 48 points on 15 field goal attempts. That’s like driving in 11 runs in 3 at-bats. He could have taken 15 three-point shots, hit all of them, and he still wouldn’t have had as many points. Sure, 12-15 shooting from the floor is awesome, but to top that off with a 24-24 performance at the free throw line is just unfair. But then again, having to play against two of the top three players in the NBA is even more unfair.

This will probably end up being Dirk’s best chance at a championship, barring devastating injuries to either LeBron James or Dwayne Wade within the next year. How could you not root for a guy who’s been as consistently great the past decade as anyone not named Tim Duncan? A player whose unique combination of size and skill has made basketball scouts dream about other massive Euros, only to be terribly disappointed. A player who was so close to a championship only a few years ago, and has since been unfairly labeled a choker.

How could you not root for a player who has been with one team his entire career, a player who practically created the franchise himself? LeBron could have traveled the same path, but he decided to become part of a three-headed monster in Miami instead of carving out his own competitive legacy. If there were one player who could have single-handedly led a team to a championship in this era, it would have been LeBron. Dirk may be at times the most efficient and unstoppable offensive force in the league, but LeBron can do just about anything on the basketball court when he wants to. Derrick Rose, the 2011 “MVP”, turned into a high schooler when LeBron was matched up against him. Yet in hindsight, perhaps it’s unfair to treat the situations of LeBron and Dirk equally, as their owners certainly weren’t equal. Mark Cuban invested in building a team around Dirk, while LeBron was fed scrubs that he managed to transform into legitimate NBA players.

Maybe I’m still bitter that the Knicks are left with the volume scorer that is Carmelo Anthony instead of the all-around monster that is LeBron James. Maybe the thought of LeBron in a Knicks uniform still makes me want to jump on the bandwagon that never came around. Maybe I just want to see one of the greatest players of his generation finally get his due.

Go Mavs. Go Dirk.

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  • Flannel_boy

     In before Joe Crawford or Bennett Salvatore.