On Sunday (June 12), the NBA crowned a new champion — the Dallas Mavericks, who triumphed over the Miami Heat in six games to hoist up the Larry O’Brien Trophy for the first time in franchise history.
For the team’s stars, it was another chapter in their storied histories in the league. Dirk Nowitzki finally becomes an NBA champion, cementing his place in history; and LeBron James, his agonizing wait to taste what Dirk just did continues for at least one more year.
The Mavs won four of the series’ last five games, ending with a 105-95 win on Sunday night.
“I really still can’t believe it,” said Nowitzki, who finished with 21 points and took home Finals MVP honors.
The “Player of the Game” on Sunday, however, was Jason Terry, who led the Mavs to victory while Dirk had an off-night. He finished with 27 points. Terry and Dirk were the two remaining players from the Dallas team that lost to Miami in the 2006 Finals.
“Tonight,” Terry said, “we got vindication.”
“We worked so hard and so long for it,” Nowitzki added. “The team has had an unbelievable ride.”
For the Heat, it was a heartbreaking to get that close and come up short. The South Beach team’s season began with the celebration of the signings of James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and they promised championships. They just couldn’t deliver.
“It goes without saying,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “You’re never really prepared for a moment like this. … Neither team deserved this championship more than the other, but Dallas earned it.”
Mavs coach Rick Carlisle joined an elite group with his Finals win, those with NBA titles as both a player and a head coach. Only 10 other men are on that list — including Phil Jackson, and Heat President Pat Riley, among others.
Carlisle recognized that team-work prevailed over physical ability or how many superstars they had.
“This is a true team,” Carlisle said. “This is an old bunch. We don’t run fast or jump high. These guys had each other’s backs. We played the right way. We trusted the pass. This is a phenomenal thing for the city of Dallas.”
For Miami, the coach said their time would come.
“Their time will come,” Carlisle said. “But now, it’s our time.”
Another player to finally taste a championship is 17-year NBA great, Jason Kidd, who wins his first title at 38 years old. He previously made it to the big game as a member of the Nets, only to lose. Now, he can finally go down as a champion.
The team are already back in Texas on Monday (June 13), and now, the city is planning a parade, with details to be announced later. Mayor Dwaine Caraway said the city is in a budget crunch, but still plans a parade, though Cuban repeated Monday that he will personally pay for the celebration.
“We’ll do it,” Cuban said early Monday morning. “All I told them was — Terdema Ussery, our president — you plan the parade. I’ll pay for it because I don’t think it’s right for the city to have to pay for it. And let’s just have some fun.”