Dallas Mavericks–2011 NBA Champs

The Dallas Mavericks are NBA Champs.

Here are some disjointed thoughts.

I always remind myself not to mix politics with sports. This year in the NBA finals was tougher.

From a Jewish standpoint, it is not easy for me to root for a German athlete. Yet Dirk Nowitzki is so incredibly likable that I had to get over it. Dirk Nowitzki had nothing to do with what my dad went through. Heck, Nowitzki’s father was not even born yet.

I rooted against Detlef Schrempf his entire career because he looked sinister to me He had a cold steely eyed gaze. My Jewish friends forced me to admit that it was just his game face. Nowitzki does not even have a cold game face. For a 7 foot German guy, he is just too warm and fuzzy to think anything bad about. Watching him pull his jersey over his eyes to hide his obvious tears was poignant. It is easy to be happy for him.

Rooting for Mark Cuban could also be tough given that he is politically on the left. I met him once, and he insisted that he was not on the left. The only Cuban to the left of Mark might be Fidel Castro, and it is close.

Nevertheless, he is the Al Davis of the NBA and as a huge Al Davis fan, I found the rebel Cuban likable. Cuban is not seen as classy, but his gesture to have the original Mavericks owner hold the trophy first was a great gesture. The media tried to goad Cuban into an “I told you so” moment, and he took the high road.

Although I can’t stand the AARP, I was happy to see Jason Kidd finally win after 17 years.

Yet for many people, Miami was the new Evil Empire of basketball. Not since the 2004 Lakers has a team been so reviled outside of their home city. Like that team, the 2011 Heat seemed like a team trying to buy  championship by stocking up on ringers (Although the Lakers were doing fine before the extra hired guns arrived).

So now that Lebron James has lost again in the finals, the bloodletting and overreacting can begin. This would be a mistake. Dr. Jerry Buss overreacted after the 2004 loss by firing the coach. After a year of misery he brought him back and righted the ship.

So in 2011, will the Heat overreact? Pat Riley is itching to fire coach Erik Spoelstra so he can take the job himself. Will Lebron shove Bosh under the bus? This would be unfair, since Bosh and Wade are not the reason why the Heat lost. LeBron is the King, and it was his job to deliver. He did not.

This was clearly a case of heart overcoming superior talent across the way. Again, similar to 2004, the team with the superstar individuals lost to the players that made a better team.

In 2006 the Mavericks had the Heat all but dead before a monumental collapse. Five years later the roles were reversed, as the Mavericks won four games to two to claim their first title.

By the way, if Dirk Nowitzki marries a Jewish woman the children will be legally Jewish, and hopefully just as tall. Then I can root for his kids bigtime.

Until then, Dirk Nowitzki has a totally scraggly goatee. As an unshaven guy myself, this is a source of pride.

Congratulates Dallas. Enjoy some cigars. They might even be Cubans.


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