I normally don’t write about other sports on here because this is a baseball blog, but I am going to stray from the norm here.
I first moved to Dallas in the mid 90’s. I had watched basketball all my life and played for a large portion of it. I grew up a huge fan of Larry Bird, but after finally moving to an NBA town I quickly fell in love with the lovable losers, the Mavericks. They were the worst team of any sport in the 90’s. They were terrible.
I remember the 1998 draft when the Mavericks wound up with a German kid nobody really knew. So like many others, I thought their losing was going to continue. It didn’t take long for Dirk to endear himself to Dallas fans leading the team to the playoffs for the first time in over a decade. Slowly you could see the progression of Dirk’s career as he moved to superstar status. But now he has moved into legendary status among the greats in Texas sports history.
But nothing will top what happened in the past few weeks.
I can still recall the anger and hurt I had in 2006. I was still living in Dallas and remember the pandemonium that surrounded the finals. It was a great atmosphere, and then it all came crashing down. People in Dallas hate the Heat, and when Lebron came to town this season it only added to that hatred with the way it was done. As the playoffs progressed, I had mixed emotions about facing the Heat if/when the Mavs made it to the finals. Sure I wanted revenge for 2006, but I also thought they would be the harder team to beat.
Each step along the way nobody really gave the Mavs a chance. Even up 3-0 over the 2-time defending champion Lakers, people thought they might not win the series. Nobody told Dirk however.
All along the way, Dirk refused to celebrate the wins. He was on a mission that had only one goal, a NBA Championship. He said all along that everything else was nice, but he already had the trophy for Western Conference Championship. The fact he refused to celebrate and even walked off the floor after winning the Western Conference was classic. He was a true leader that set the example, and then went out and dominated at crunch time.
He was sick one game and dominated in the 4th quarter when his team needed him most. He got onto Jason Terry for not coming up big when the team needed him. And what did Terry do after that, he came up HUGE. Dirk willed his team to victory on more than one occasion, and even though I am thousands of miles away I enjoyed every minute of it. Sure I wish I was in Dallas for the title run or the parade, but I was able to keep track of it all from here.
After the anger and hurt of 2006, this title was even more special by beating not only the Heat, but Lebron as well. Dirk will go down as a legend in Dallas and rightfully so. You never know when you might get the shot at a title, but like I heard Dirk say in one interview, this is one thing they can never take away.
I will get off my basketball rant now, but I want to leave you with a video. This is a great piece of work that will go down in Mavs history. If you are a Mavs fan, it might leave you a little sports verklempt.