CONGRATULATIONS TO THE DALLAS MAVERICKS.
Obviously, the Mavericks are much better than most everyone thought, especially on the defensive end. We all knew about their depth and shooting, but to quiet Lebron, and slow down both Wade and Bosh is a phenomenal job – they have earned my respect. It should have been obvious a few weeks back, when they easily dismissed the Lakers, that Dallas was a powerful and well-rounded team. Soon after, when they repeatedly came back from large deficits to finish off the Oklahoma City Thunder, we should have realized that Rick Carlyle’s boys had heart. I wrote three years ago that I thought Dirk Nowitzki would win MVP before an American soccer player would win MVP in a European League. He was heroic and clutch, performing a Jordan-esque finish to game four while dealing with a fever. And despite all that, we still thought the Heat would win the championship.
Unfortunately for Dallas, this series was about Lebron, and always will be. It’s the day after the Mavs claimed the trophy, and every sports media outlet is too busy analyzing and criticizing, and reveling in LBJ’s perceived failure. The great question will always be what happened to The King? Personally, I think he was tired – both emotionally and physically. It was a crazy year for him. From day one, the Heat contended with a media frenzy not seen since the glory days of the Chicago Bulls, and a nation of haters from New York to LA. He went from icon to villain, and then had to learn a new system while burdening the expectations (self-imposed) of winning a championship.
See? Even I can’t help thinking about the finals from a Lebron perspective. Somehow we can’t help it. I hope Dallas wins multiple championships. I hope Dirk wins the MVP next season, and that Rick Carlyle is coach of the year. They all deserve it.