When you think of Dirk Nowitzki you think of loyalty. In an era where players request a trade for slightest of turmoil, finding that kind of loyalty is rare. He never tested the market. 21 years punched in and out of the same place. The 2011 Dallas Mavericks were criminally underrated.
After12 years of resilience, hard work, and struggle Dallas Mavericks finally won their first-ever NBA championship under Dirk Nowitzki’s leadership. Many experts had written off the Mavericks as a team that would always do well in the regular season but fall short in playoffs. Not only were they the underdogs throughout the series, but they also swept the defending champions Los Angeles Lakers in WCF.
The finals against Miami Heat was the final part of Dirk’s redemption. After losing to them in 2006, which was considered poorly officiated, his hunger for the championship was visible. He was a changed man after that. There used to be stories of Dirk chilling in clubs interacting with fans in Dallas. He was never to be seen in those clubs again after the 2006 championship loss.
Dirk Nowitzki’s sweet revenge on Miami Heat
Dallas Mavericks beat a team that was supposed to win “ not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, not 5, not 6, not 7″ but 8 championships. Lebron James‘ Miami Heat looked perfect on paper and had the best odds to take it home that season, yet they couldn’t.
The Mavs fell behind in game 2 but clawed their way back and won on the road, beating the team who stole their ’06 title in their own house. They were the absolute underdogs, so much so that Lebron James and Dwyane Wade went on to mock Dirk after his famous ‘flu game’. Mavs had lost their second best player to an injury that year. Dirk played through an injury on his left finger and even scored a game-winning shot with it.
Although Dirk Nowitzki struggled in game 6. He went 1/12 in the first half, and 4/21 before the late fourth-quarter scoring burst. He still led all players with 11 rebounds and provided spacing to allow Terry and JJ to score. The game was at 81-77 with 8 minutes left, Dirk then proceeded to score 10 points in the final 7:22 and shot 5/6 from the field. He destroyed the “not clutch” narrative with that.
In game 7, there was a Miami possession with about 4 minutes left on the clock in the 4th quarter where they passed the ball 8 times and Chalmers ended up turning the ball over. That was a team that didn’t want to win a championship. That was a team that didn’t have a leader on the court who wanted to take that big shot in that situation.
Dirk Nowitzki truly was a generational player who stuck by his team throughout. Now he has passed the torch to young Luka Doncic