NBA Playoffs – Where Legends Are Made
May 25, 2011 7 Comments
Muhammad Ali once said “Champions aren’t made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them — a desire, a dream, a vision.”
Dirk Nowitzki and, as hard as it is for me to say it, Lebron James are proving themselves to be champions.
Dirk Nowitzki though has carried the weight of the world on his own shoulders year in and year out trying to get his Dallas Mavericks a championship. That weight will stay with him until he gets that ring to put on his finger but no matter what happens Dirk is finally receiving the accolades that he deserves.
This isn’t your everyday run-of-the-mill NBA star. Not to say that guys like Jordan, Magic, Bird and Kobe are. However, Dirk Nowitzki is a once in a lifetime player. Not once in an era or generation but lifetime.
We have almost taken Dirk for granted throughout his career. This is in large part because of his inability to win the big one. No one is taking him for granted anymore. What the big German is showing the world right now in these NBA playoffs is something to tell the grandchildren. He is moving towards legendary status.
The ridiculous shots are one thing. The ridiculous shots under the immense pressure that Nowitzki carries is quite another.
When the Mavericks needed him most, Nowitzki has done what all legends do. Against Oklahoma City he shot an incredible 56% from the field while missing only 2 free throws in 61 attempts. Oh yeah, 2 of those free throw makes came in game 4 to tie the game with 6.4 seconds left in regulation. Did I mention that he swished them both?
Regular season dominance means greatness but post-season dominance creates a legend.
I can say with an immense amount of confidence that there won’t be another player that can do the special things that Dirk Nowitzki does 7 feet off of the ground. He’s not considered one of the top 10 best players of all-time but his truly unique abilities are 1 in 7 billion special. Those 1 legged rainbow jumpers may get all the attention but it is just a microscopic sample of the extraordinary things Dirk does.
This is not coming from the euphoric passion of riding the Dirk Nowitzki 2011 playoff MVP bandwagon. This is popping the cork of that bottle of champagne that has been shaking for the last decade.
If anyone deserves a ring it’s Dirk Nowitzki. He doesn’t need it though and there is a good chance that he won’t get one against his likely opponents, the Miami Heat.
If the Mavericks come up short it won’t be Dirk’s fault and I think he has established that. Like many big market sports, basketball is a team one and playoff underachieving has been a theme among Dirk Nowitzki led Maverick teams.
Should that mean anything for a guy who has averaged 3.0 points a game better in his entire playoff career than his regular season career? Should playoff underachieving mean anything for someone who hasn’t had a legitimate center to clog the lane until his 13th season in the NBA?
For one reason, Dan Marino’s achievements are still belittled to this day. It’s unfair that Marino is punished for something that was out of his control to such a large extent.
Championship or not, Dirk Nowitzki should be considered a legend in his own right. It is wrong that people have considered him a failure, to a certain degree, simply because he lacks the infamous ring.
Lebron James is showing signs that he is clutch like a champion. However, unlike Dirk, his legendary status will have an extended stay in purgatory while the basketball Gods attempt to figure out what could have been for the self-proclaimed King.
Unlike Lebron, Dirk Nowitzki didn’t have to sell his soul for a championship and in the end that will make all the difference.
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