It would be impossible to completely sum up all the emotions that have churned through me over the entirety of the NBA Finals. This was easily one of the greatest Finals that we have been witness to in the history of the league. Just about everything happened that could and therefore it was emotionally draining for those of us with vested interests in the series.
The Kobe Beef is based in Dallas, Texas. I have lived here for the vast majority of my life. The Dallas Mavericks have always been my favorite professional sports team. Always. Sure, growing up when the Cowboys were winning Super Bowls and partying like it was going out of style was great. Still love the Cowboys too, but they are not the Mavericks.
I have been a fan of the Mavericks for roughly 21 years now and watched them stumble through the 1990s without giving up on them. I cannot say that I expected them to win much during that decade but watching the Three J’s always brought me joy. It never bothered me that they were competing with the Milwaukee Bucks for the worst record in the league. They are my team. Just because they were terrible, and they were, did not mean that I did not care. I am not Chris Bosh.
Unfortunately, I never got to see the Mavericks play in person at Reunion Arena. I would have liked to but that is of little concern now. The first time I actually had a chance to see the Mavs play was when I was in college. They came to UNT to hold their training camp and had a scrimmage in the Super Pit in which students were encouraged to attend. It was wonderful, especially because no matter the outcome of the game the mavericks would win. I can still remember my friends asking me who the short white guy was. I told them that he is not white, he is Puerto Rican and his name is J.J. Barea.
That was a number of years ago. Since then I have seen the Mavericks be dragged through the mud by the media and their critics. They certainly did not help themselves with their various playoff disappointments but all of that is moot now.
Whatever anyone thought of the Mavericks has been shattered. They have climbed to the top. For a while the treacherous seasons of the ’90s did not seem that far gone. Now, they are a distant memory banished to a far away land. The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions for the first time in franchise history. Writing that line gives me great joy. I like many other fans, have been through it all with the club. Every high and every low. However, we had never experienced the greatest thrill until now. No team is more deserving.
This group of veterans who cannot jump high or run fast deserve this. They played as a team and won as a team. Throughout the playoffs their celebrations have been muted. They were focused. Rick Carlisle kept their opponents guessing. They were the better team and they were without some key players.
It does not seem real yet, it has not sunk in yet. It will though and it will be perfect.
No pundit expected anything of the Mavericks as they entered the playoffs this year. The only expectations came from their fans and from themselves. In every series they were considered the underdog with the exception of the Western Conference Finals. Yet, they persevered as a team and kept finding miraculous ways to win and overcome adversity. When they lost the 23 point lead in game four against Portland, they were written off. When they had to face the Lakers in the Conference Semi’s they were brushed aside. There were even those who dismissed them against the young and inexperienced Thunder. Dallas overcame them all but the critics remained, however, they were shrinking in number and overdue praise for Dirk Nowitzki was beginning to surface.
In the Finals Dallas faced the Miami Heat. The Heat are everything that the Mavericks are not. They are flashy, boastful, young, cocky, arrogant, and childish. They were anointed, by themselves, to be the next dynasty. How many rings will this team win? I guess we will still have to wait for that question to be answered.
These teams met before in the Finals. The end result left a bad taste in my mouth for years. However, it seemed to effect Nowitzki and Jason Terry more as they are the only two hold overs from 2006. They played will determination and guts. They knew that nothing was written in stone and that you have to create your own destiny. They did and what they accomplished can never be taken away.
The emotions of the championship will never fade, they will just be stored away until they are needed once the celebration dies down. I know that I will always hold onto them. It has been a long time coming.
J.J. Berea, Rodrigue Beaubois, Corey Brewer, Caron Butler, Brian Cardinal, Tyson Chandler, Brendan Haywood, Dominique Jones, Jason Kidd, Ian Mahinmi, Shawn Marion, Dirk Nowitzki, DeShawn Stevenson, Peja Stojakovic, Jason Terry, and the Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champions. I can die happy.