Dallas Mavericks: Ranking the top-10 players of the decade

Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Dirk Nowitzki #41 of the Dallas Mavericks (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – JUNE 12: DeShawn Stevenson #92 of the Dallas Mavericks looks on against LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat in Game Six of the 2011 NBA Finals at American Airlines Arena on June 12, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

7. DeShawn Stevenson

DeShawn Stevenson’s defense against LeBron James in the 2011 finals was instrumental in the Mavericks winning the championship. It was Stevenson’s toughness throughout the playoffs that set the tone for the rest of the team.

Stevenson was always a hard-nosed defender that played with a chip on his shoulder. The fact that the Mavericks were playing LeBron in the finals might have added extra fuel to Stevenson’s fire.

The Deshawn- LeBron beef was carried over from a 2008 matchup. LeBron a Cleveland Cavalier at the time missed what would’ve been a game winning shot on Stevenson, giving his Washington Wizards the regular season win. After that game Stevenson would say that James was overrated. LeBron when asked for a response said ” It’s kinda funny, It’s almost like Jay Z responding to Soulja boy. There’s no comparison. Enough said.” This would lead to an appearance by Soulja Boy on the sidelines during their 2008 playoff matchup. A series LeBron would go on to win.

Deshawn would have to wait three years to get his revenge. In the 2011 finals Stevenson’s defense on James was integral to the Mavericks success. Stevenson would help hold James to just 17.8 points per game during the series. Deshawn’s play during the finals earned him the respect of Mavs fans, and the “hey LeBron how’s my Dirk taste tee-shirt he wore after the series made him a legend.