Dirk Nowitzki will enter retirement as the greatest Dallas Mavericks player of all time, but a performance in the 2011 NBA Finals goes down as his greatest moment.
The Dallas Mavericks enjoyed an amazing 21 seasons with power forward Dirk Nowitzki towering above his teammates and competition on the basketball court. In a career as accomplished as his was, it’s tough to pick just one game or performance when trying to nail down the best of all.
But let’s give it a shot, and I believe you’ll agree.
Many Dallas Mavericks fans can remember the complete shaft the franchise took in the 2006 NBA Finals. I’m not wasting time on that, but if you’re not aware of how that joke played out, you can investigate here.
Otherwise, let’s a take a quick look at Dirk Nowitzki’s finest moment in a Dallas Mavericks uniform.
It was Game 5 of the 2011 NBA Finals an unexpected rematch against the Miami Heat, the very team which used the charity stripe to erase a two-game Mavs lead in that ’06 debacle. The Mavericks were a bit of a surprise out of the Western Conference, but it’s not like anybody was standing up to them very well in the playoffs. Dallas swept the back-to-back world champion Los Angeles Lakers just a couple of rounds prior and was now standing toe-to-toe with the Heat, the Eastern Conference beasts who might have felt the Larry O’Brian Trophy should have been given to them before the season ever started.
More from Dallas Mavericks
- The Dallas Mavericks accomplished a lot on Draft Day
- Mavericks pairing Luka Doncic and Draymond Green a technical (foul) disaster
- Can the Mavericks steal Deandre Ayton from cap-strapped Suns?
- Dallas Mavericks: Top-5 options for the Mavs to explore in the NBA Draft
- Dallas Mavericks can’t keep pick No. 10 in the NBA Draft
After all, the trio of Dwyane Wade and new buddies LeBron James and Chris Bosh weren’t supposed to be beaten by anybody. But Dirk Nowitzki changed that idea in a big way. Some think the Dallas Mavericks pulled the same caliber of upset Joe Namath and the New York Jets recorded over the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. Others felt it was like the U.S. Olympic hockey team’s ‘Miracle on Ice’ back in 1980.
This was actually domination on the part of the Mavericks, who only needed six games to end the series against a favored opponent.
But first game Game 4 of the series at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
The Heat had actually taken two of the first three games of the series, with a huge comeback and stolen victory at Miami in Game 2 being the only bright spot for the Mavs, to that point. A second straight loss at home would create a 3-1 lead for the Heat and likely secure that franchise’s second title.
But then Dirk Nowitzki got sick, and that was that.
I’m not going to recite stats just to do it. The video below will tell everything I can’t .
But I will say that Dirk Nowitzki turned LeBron James and Dwyane Wade into a couple silly kids on the playground, what with their mocking of the seven-foot sharpshooter after the game. The Heat’s triple-threat weren’t as much amused by Nowitzki’s illness as they were frustrated and embarrassed. This Finals loss was completely unexpected and these guys never recovered, at home or on the road.
Dirk Nowitzki’s performance inspired the country and a whole generation of basketball fans who’d grown tired of seeing just a handful of different teams winning NBA championships over more than two decades.
The NBA’s greatest player ever, Michael Jordan, also won an NBA Finals game with the flu and a substantial fever. It led him and the Chicago Bulls to their fifth championship in seven seasons.
Nowitzki obviously didn’t have quite the career that Jordan had, especially where the post season’s concerned, but in Dallas, Texas, Dirk is Jordan, the author championship success and an inspiration to all, especially given his completely selfless demeanor on the court.
Dirk, you will be missed.
- Published on 04/11/2019 at 12:00 PM
- Last updated at 04/11/2019 at 08:35 AM