As I peeled myself off the linoleum floor, sucked down the last few drops of last night’s Bitburger beer and licked the crusted schnitzel off my fingertips, the memories of last night’s NBA Finals celebration reignited in my mind. Dirk is a champion. Kidd is a champion. Marion is a champion. Stojakovic is a champion. It’s like a decade of old guys from past glorious also-ran teams finally got theirs. The ’06 Mavs. The ’03 Nets. The ’05 Suns. The ’02 Kings.
And although I may have had Kraftwerk and ’99 Luftbaloons’ on repeat immediately following Dirk’s coffin nail layup with 30 seconds left to go in the fourth Sunday night, I didn’t really have a dog in the race, which is to say, I would have celebrated one way or the other. I had my Miami Sound Machine queued up on the ol’ iPod and a big bowl full of cocaine awaiting my face had the Heat acted like they wanted it this year. They didn’t. Strudel it is! No need for me to go on and on about Miami (that’s what the summer offseason is for!) I believe most of the Heat players feel there’s a decade’s worth of championships to be grabbed and if it didn’t happen this year, it’ll happen next year. Dallas felt it had to be this year and that’s why they won this thing in six. LeBron James has played remarkably well for most of the season. He’s the best player in the league (by far, I think) and the only thing stopping him from eradicating every record this league has to offer is his unwillingness to put his foot on the throats of his opponent. It explains his willingness to join his enemies on the Heat. It explains any shrinking he may or may not do in late game situations. It explains how a guy can get a triple-double and look terrible doing it and it explains the fourth quarter of Game 6. The Heat ebb and flow with LeBron James. Sorry Wade, they do. Any team in this league would. James ebbed through the second half and so Dallas blitzed every last member of the Heat.
Enough about Miami, one last Razzball look at both the Dallas Mavericks and the 2011 season:
Caron Butler – It always seems a little unfulfilling when the injured player gets a ring, but in Tuff Juice’s case, he deserves a ring because he got injured. Marion and Barea filled a mighty portion of the minutes Butler would have played and both of those guys were huge in portions of the playoffs that I don’t think Butler would have been huge in. Hang that, preposition!
Rodrigue Beaubois – Robo Bobo is still seen as the future of the Mavericks. That title sounded a lot better before there was nowhere to go but down.
Corey Brewer – Played 23 more minutes in the NBA Finals than you did. So there’s that.
Brian Cardinal – Nicknamed “The Custodian,” not the Janitor, not the Garbage Man. That’s how white Brian Cardinal is, even when he draws charge after charge or commits prescient foul after prescient foul, and earns a sweet reputation, they stick him with a proper nickname. Why not just call him “The Porter?”
Ian Mahinmi – Pronounced “Yahn Mahini.” Yawn. Wait, I take that yawn back (which gave me the hiccups after doing so) – Mahini did have a sweet scream in the pre-game huddle.
Brendan Haywood / DeShawn Stevenson – Cavs – 1, Wizards
Peja Stojakovic – If I thought Peja had any idea why he was still in the league, I’d say he could peacefully retire now. But I don’t, so I won’t.
Tyson Chandler – Remember last season when Bobcat G.M. Michael Jordan nixed a deal that would send Chandler to Toronto? His nixin’ (Nixon?) allowed perhaps Dallas’ final piece to fit on the roster in the offseason. M.J. – 7, LeBron – 0.
J.J. Barea – He had the second-most assists on the team throughout the playoffs. Seventy-one dimes, one dime for every inch of his height.
Jason Kidd – The narrative for this championship has belonged to Nowitzki, but Kidd is probably more vindicated than Dirk here. He’s been to the Finals one more time than Dirk, been surrounded by a worse cast than Dirk and is six years older than Dirk. He’s well past his prime and not as likeable, but he’s in the conversation as a top 3 point guard of all-time. You want to see guys like that win one. You just do.
Shawn Marion – If you pointed to the roster of the 2005 Suns and told me that one, but only one, of these guys would win a ring in the next six seasons, Marion would have been my fifth choice.
Jason Terry – Find a picture of Jason Terry’s head. Measure the space from his eyes up. Then measure the space from his eyes down to his chin. The top half is way bigger. From this point henceforth, you’ll never NOT think about that when you look at Jason Terry.
Dirk Nowitzki – From my girlfriend last night, “From his knees down, Dirk has legs like an old ‘80s player. All pale, with thick socks and big white shoes.” And if that alone doesn’t make you love the NBA Finals MVP and solidify him in your mind as one of the 30 greatest players of all-time, nothing will. Nothing. Nichts. Ninety-nine dreams Dallas has had / They dream of Dirk and let ’em goooooo