I’m very happy for the Dallas Mavericks. As a fan of most teams based in Chicago, I find it very easily to project hope onto any team that has struggled to win the big one. Such teams make excellent surrogate Cubs. On the other hand, the team that these Mavericks most reminded me was of their NFL city-mates, the Dallas Cowboys. In the late 60s the Cowboys were the team that always lost to either the Bart Starr/Vince Lombardi Packers or the Paul Warfield/Leroy Kelly Browns. Then in 1970 season, they lost the Super Bowl after a late game interception by the Colts. By the time they finally won the big one after the 1971 season, it kind of surprised everyone. The Cowboys were clearly a title contender but everyone had become accustomed to them losing before hoisting the big trophy. The Mavericks fit that profile to a T this year. Remember the smart money was on Portland to beat them in the first round.
We’re busy comparing LeBron James to the wrong NBA legend. While his multi-talents suggest that he’s the new Michael Jordan, his playoff record and the intense scrutiny of his performances and their inability to meet expectations suggest he’s the new Wilt Chamberlain. He’s a Goliath at the small forward position.
Dirk’s title should be a sweet cure for the Mavericks disappointing loss in the ’06 Finals, but it shouldn’t be a validation of his greatness. The playoffs are at most 28 games; regular seasons are 82. What happens in 28 shouldn’t offset what happens in one third the space. Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Steve Nash, John Stockton, among others are all time greats and their lack of a title ring doesn’t significantly diminish their accomplishments.