Shawn Bradley was one of the most hyped up and talked about players to enter the 1993 NBA Draft. Before entering the draft, the former McDonald’s All-American played at Brigham Young University. Bradley set multiple shot-blocking records while at BYU and brought home some hardware too. Bradley was named the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) Player of the Year after his brilliant freshman season as well as being named to the All-WAC defensive team and an Honorable Mention All-American. After his stellar freshman year, Bradley decided to Read more…
The Dallas Mavericks celebrated their first ever NBA Championship at Liv nightclub in South Beach with some very well-known celebrities. Lil’ Wayne and Trey Songz headlined the star-studded guest list, but a surprising current NBA player also joined in on the celebration. Erick Dampier, the backup center for the Miami Heat was also living it up with the champs. Granted, Dampier played for the Mavs for 6 years before joining the Heat and I’m sure he still has some friends on the team but come on man, really! The Miami Heat, the team under which you are currently employed just lost the NBA Finals and your out partying with the team that just beat you about 2 hours later. Chris Bosh cried after the loss. Dwyane Wade was clearly disappointed and distraught. LeBron James tried to vindicate his horrid Finals and take out his frustration by telling all the ”haters” about his ”glorious” lifestyle, and Erick Dampier shows up at the Mavs nightclub celebration, ridiculous.
Anyway, back to the Mavs. Owner Mark Cuban rented out Liv nightclub for the night to the tune of upwards of 110K, pocket change for Cuban but still that’s a hell of a lot of money to spend on one night of partying. Cuban topped off the lavish expense with a reported 20K tip, nice touch. Mark Cuban is known for being a go-getter, unafraid to spend money and always coming up with unique and innovative ideas. Cuban lived up to his reputation by reportedly offering to pay for the Maverick’s championship parade through Dallas on Wednesday, another 110K expense. It looks like Cuban is definitely willing to bask in the Mavs’ championship glory, and well…he should.
“All the people that were rooting me on to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life they had before.” – LeBron James
I think this quote says it all. And with that, I will not speak of or mention LeBron James again in this article. All of the attention has been on the Miami Heat and their putrid 4th quarter execution and many in the media have spent little time talking about the real story: The Dallas Mavericks winning their first NBA Championship in their history and Dirk Nowitzki engraving his name into NBA greatness.
Obviously, Dirk has the individual stats and accolades that caught every NBA fan’s attention. He’s been named to 4 All-NBA First Teams, has made 10 All-Star appearances, and was the League’s MVP in 2007, but up until yesterday Dirk was missing that one special accomplishment that separates the very good players from the great players, and NBA Championship. Dirk added that NBA Championship to his resume last night, along with the Finals MVP trophy. Dirk was absolutely unconscious throughout the playoffs and especially late in games, shutting the door on the opposition time and time again. We all thought he couldn’t play any better, but once again Dirk stepped his game up to another level in the Finals, averaging 26 points and close to 10 rebounds a game while shooting a ridiculous 98% from the charity stripe. He shot daggers into the hearts of the Heat, averaging 11 points in the 4th quarters alone. Game 6 exemplified just how great Dirk is. He struggled mightily in the first half, going 1 for 12 from the field. But Dirk battled back and kept shooting, kept attacking. He finished the game hitting 9 of 27 shots from the field for a total of 21 points, 8 for 15 in the second half, with 11 of those points coming in the decisive 4th quarter. The great ones know how to close out games, no matter if they’re struggling early on or locked in from the start. The 4th quarter is a different animal, and Dirk definitely showed that he has that killer instinct.
Now that Nowitzki has the ever so coveted NBA CHampionship under his belt we can finally start throwing his name into the conversation for one of the best power forwards in NBA history. I have no doubt in my mind that he stacks right up there with All-Time power forwards such as Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Elvin Hayes, Kevin Garnett, and probably the best of them all, Tim Duncan. Dirk is a transcendent player, and it’s time that he is given the respect and admiration he so strongly deserves.
Amidst all the recent success and the hype that has come with it, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) are still nowhere near a deal. The July 1st deadline is looming and it’s almost inevitable at this point, there will be a lockout in the NBA. The owners and players are talking, they are still world’s apart on very important issues such as a hard or soft salary cap and guaranteed contracts. The owners are adamant in their stance in favor of a hard salary cap and non-guaranteed contracts. Derek Fisher, Los Angeles Lakers point guard and president of the NBPA, said “the owners have informed him that if the players do not accept what has been offered to them thus far then there will be a lockout.” So, although the NBA is on the rise and gaining momentum, due in large part to compelling storylines like the star-studded Miami Heat, the veteran laden Dallas Mavericks, and the up and coming Oklahoma City Thunder, it seems like the NBA will fail to capitalize on their recent success and ultimately follow the same crooked path of the NFL.
Well, I’m sure we’ve all heard this a million times, but once more can’t hurt: the team that wins Game 5 of a 2-2 series in the NBA Finals has gone onto win the Larry O’Brien trophy 73% of the time. So, to say that Game 5 is of the utmost importance to both teams is n understatement. Tonight’s game will more than likely decide who wins the 2011 NBA Finals, especially considering the 2-3-2 format used in the Finals. I think this is a must-win game for Dallas, just like in Game 4. If Dallas loses tonight then they will face the daunting and near impossible task of defeating Dwyane Wade, Lebron James, and the Miami Heat in two consecutive games in Miami. At the same time, Game 5 is also very important for the Miami Heat, especially coming off a Game 4 loss in which Lebron James was absolutely nonexistent. Obviously, the Heat would still feel some comfort even in a loss, knowing that they will be going back home for Games 6 and 7 but that is definitely not the position they want to be in. Lebron James needs to show-up big tonight. He needs to play up to his superstar status and be more aggressive in his decision-making. That’s not to say he has to be selfish and force shots because that is just counterproductive, but he needs to be the facilitator he was in Game 3. If Lebron’s stat line resembles anything close to the 24 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists he had in Game 1 or the 17 points and 9 assists in Game 3, both Miami wins by the way, then the Heat will be on their way to the franchise’s second NBA Championship. Dwyane Wade has been magnificent throughout the series and has clearly taken the role of closer for the Heat down the stretch, but if Lebron can just use his lethal combination of size, speed, strength, and athleticism to facilitate, which he is more than capable of doing, then I think the Heat will be able to win Game 5 in Dallas and close it out at home in Game 6.
The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will meet once again in the 2011 NBA Finals, a rematch of the 2006 Finals. Dwyane Wade, with the help of Shaquille O’Neal, won the first meeting between the two, coming back from a 2-0 series deficit to give the Heat their first NBA Championship. Dirk and veteran Mavs are looking for some revenge this time around. This is going to be a matchup of stars, as Dirk will face-off against the Heat’s BIG 3 of D-Wade, LBJ, and Chris Bosh. I look for this to be a very entertaining series, going at least 6 games and wouldn’t be surprised if either team wins it.
Here’s a breakdown of the matchups and who I think holds the edge in each category:
Coaching – Mavs
Defense – Heat
Offense – Push
Bench – Mavs
Prediction – Personally, I don’t like the Heat or Lebron James, but I respect and enjoy greatness and Lebron and D-Wade certainly exemplify both. Dirk has been the Playoff MVP thus far, in my opinion, and the Mavs definitely have the bench edge over the Heat, but the sheer talent and athletic ability of the Heat will prove to be too much for the Mavs. I have the Heat winning in 7 games.