NBA Playoffs – Where Legends Are Made

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.

Related: Miami Heat Get the Easy Route

Agree? Disagree? If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, please feel free to reply in the comments section below. Or you can e-mail me at Also, follow me on twitter @paintstheblack and I will gladly return the favour.

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7 Responses to NBA Playoffs – Where Legends Are Made

  1. isaiah75 says:

    Your blog has a great deal of good content. In addition, your blog makes some very significant points that makes people think. The thing that will take away from your writing though is grammar. While it may seem like a small thing, many times it is something small that draws readers in or makes a reader just pass you by. I probably edit something like 20 to 30 times before posting it, and most of the time I am fixing minor grammar issues here and there. Keep writing and improving, the more you write the better you will become at your craft. Hope this helps, Have an awesome day!

  2. HighSchoolBasketballNerd says:

    I agree. Rarely has anyone who has been anointed a star, then a choker, and then a star has been so successful as Dirk. Although I hate Miami to the core, I have to admit LeBron has been proving wrong and the Finals series should be one hell of a show. Go Mavs!

  3. Bobby Charts says:

    great read, cant add anything….perfect!

  4. DenHeen says:

    Great article. Dirk has been legendary in these Playoffs, just incredible to watch. He has hit clutch shot after clutch shot. This is the Year of the Dirk. He is getting that ring this year, as good as the Heat may be. Love that Dirk is so humble in all his success. Even though Lebron closed out my Bulls last night, I still have to say he has been pretty incredible this year. However, Dirk is on another level right now. Not only is he making a statement for himself, he is making those around him better. Looking forward to a great Finals!

  5. Looking forward to a great NBA Finals. As much as I would like to see the Heat lose, you cannot say anything negative about them these playoffs. Same goes for the Mavs. Wow, I can’t pick this one. Going to say Heat in 6.

  6. Red says:

    Dirk is one of 4 players to average at least 25 points and 10 boards in their playoff careers. The other 3: Elgin Baylor, Bob Pettit and Hakeem Olajuwon.

    And Dirk averages 28 and 12 in elimination games, when the pressure is highest.

    Sounds pretty damn legendary to me.

  7. Pingback: Lebron’s Championship Asterisk

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