As much as I love Dirk and Cuban -- yes, both of those guys are awesome, and I simply do not see how anyone that is a huge basketball fan can disagree -- we're going to pretend this didn't happen, right?
Or are we going to say, "Well yeah, but, um, we have TWO!" ? I think that's the route I'm going to go. The Rockets are one of 9 teams (doing this from memory) to have won more than one championship (Celtics, Lakers, Bulls, Spurs, Pistons, Nationals/76ers, Warriors, Knicks, Rockets). Only 18** of the 30 (I had to look that up) teams have won a championship at all with the Celtics at 17 and the Lakers at 16 hogging all of the glory. So, winning two is pretty impressive, though winning 1 put you in pretty rare territory. If you look at when basketball as we know it started (1979 with Magic coming into the league) it shrinks to only 10 teams winning a ring. Of those 10 teams, 7 won more than once.
There are two big questions that come from this Finals:
1. Where does this put Dirk on the all time PF list? And yes, he's a PF, there is no point arguing it, you're wrong if you don't think so.
My top 7, because I can't narrow it from that:
1. Tim Duncan - He's a PF, as much as I fought that all these years. He played one with Robinson and he's played one most of the time since.
2. Karl Malone** - Hate him, and I will till the end of time, but he was an incredible basketball player. That's the last nice thing I can say about him though
3. Charles Barkley - Not sure why people keep forgetting him (on lists, no one forgets him in general), but I've seen him as low as 7, which is lol funny. His prime was 26 and 12 and he could destroy the opposing team on either side of the ball. When he wanted he could go out and grab 30 rebounds or put up 50 points. And he was traded by the Clippers before he even played college ball. From basketball reference: October 12, 1978: Traded by the San Diego Clippers (as a 1984 1st round draft pick) to the Philadelphia 76ers for World B. Free.
4. Kevin Garnett - Yes, he's a douche now, but his scoring has always been All Star good, but his defense was MVP, all time great good.
5. Dirk Nowitzki - He took his game to another plane in these playoffs, has an MVP and is at 23 and 8 for his career. He's a much better rebounder than he gets credit for as well. And quite frankly, he really has won two rings, there is no way I give the Bennett Salvatores... um I mean 2006 Miami Heat, credit for that championship.
6. Bob Pettit - I couldn't do this list without him. If Bill Russell is listed in the top 5 of everyones center list (even though that's idiotic in my opinion for a guy 6'8 that never scored and played with 5 other hall of famers at a time, but I digress) then Pettit needs at least a mention here. He was a force in the league back in the olden days. Looking at his numbers makes me want to put him even higher 26 and 16 in his career and he was an all star all 11 years he was in the league
7. Kevin McHale - Not quite as good as everyone remembers him, but top 7 all time is pretty impressive. 17 and 7 over his career with his prime being in the 22 and 8 area, just not the same level as the other guys
2. Does this make Lebron A) Shrink back and never recover Nick Anderson style? Or B) Absolutely destroy the league next year, average a triple double to go along with 32 points per game?
I say B, so watch out. He's way too vain to not work hard to slaughter everyone.
While I had a hard time cheering for the Mavericks, they are from Texas, and that made it a bit easier. So, congratulations to our friends from Dallas, what you've done is pretty impressive, but come and talk to me when you do what most great teams in the modern basketball era have done, win at least twice.
* Do the Heat in 2006 really count? Had that series been officiated 70% correctly and not 100% BS the Mavericks would have won, right?
** Karl Malone is one of the biggest pieces of crap on the planet. He's the same guy that statutorily raped a 13 year old girl when he was 20 and then did nothing for the kid. When Demetrius Bell was 17 Malone basically told him to F off, too much time has gone for him to be his father. LINK Oh really Karl? And whose fault is that? Oh, yours? Okay, as long as we have that straight. And yes, I'll put that link in everything I write about Karl Malone for the rest of my life.