There are three things I will remember about the 2011 NBA Finals.
• Dwayne Wade and LeBron James celebrating like they won the Finals, then coughing up Game 2.
• Wade and LeBron acting like punks again in making fun of Dirk Nowitzki’s sick game.
• And finally, my favorite, Dirk pulling a Herb Brooks and walking off the court to have a moment to himself while the rest of the team celebrated the championship.
I won’t be stupid and dare say Dallas beating Miami on Sunday night was anywhere near a moment as big for this country as the USA hockey squad beating the USSR in the 1980 Olympic Games. That was, and may always be, the biggest sports moment for our country.
However, there were some interesting similarities.
The Heat were practically crowned champs last July, long before they ever stepped on the court. The USSR winning the gold medal in 1980 was pretty much a given.
Throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Heat looked dominant, rolling through opponents like people predicted. The USSR always beat the brains out of its opponents.
With the exception of Dirk, the rest of the Mavs were a bunch of no-names (JJ Barea?) and castoffs (Shawn Marion). Kind of like the USA squad that winter.
Now there are some major differences.
Unlike the Heat, the USSR had actually won something. Actually, a lot of somethings. They were nearly unbeatable in international play for more than 25 years.
The USSR was also hated by probably 99.9-percent of the country. The Heat were certainly not well liked, but there was nowhere near the hatred of that Soviet hockey squad.
That said, the Heat could very well be the biggest villains this country has seen since it squared off against the USSR.
Sure, the Yankees, Red Sox, Steelers, Cowboys and Lakers have had a lot of haters over the years. But they also have huge, loyal fan bases. They are also disliked because they are consistent winners.
It was different with the Heat.
For starters, Miami may be the worst group of sports fans in the country — though Atlanta tries to give them a run for their money. There were bandwagoners that jumped on board with Miami during the summer simply because LeBron took his “talents” to South Beach.
The ridiculous “Decision” was followed by the even more ridiculous signing celebration. I predicted bad things for LeBron back then, figuring The Pawn was about to become villain No. 1.
Then, when they really noticed the public had turned on them, the Big
3 2 ½ started throwing pity parties for themselves. Someone call the wah police.
The crazy thing is those bozos never learned as the season went on. They couldn’t understand why they were villains, even after celebrating their
NBA Finals second-round victory or gloating halfway through Game 2.
I used to like LeBron. He seemed like a genuinely good guy. Sure he acted a childish with a lot of his pregame routines, but I just chalked that up to his wanting to be an entertainer along with a star basketball players.
Everyone saw his true colors during the summer, though. Along with The Decision was this article that was posted on ESPN.com, but removed a few hours later with no good explanation.
Quite simply, LeBron was exposed as an idiot and a punk.
What is really sad is that Wade wasn’t before LeBron arrived. He was a likeable guy who won over the NBA’s heart with his performance in 2006. He was a modest star, which is something people in this country like.
With LeBron at his side, though, Wade changed. He looked like just as big an ass as LeBron at the signing celebration. Then his whole, “The world is better now because the Heat is losing,” spiel.
He showed his transformation was truly complete with the whole Dirk mocking before Game 5.
The Mavs were the anti-Heat, which is why they became America’s team for the past two weeks. For the most part, they acted like a classy group (I’m not counting DeShawn Stevenson) and were out to show that a team was great than
three two-and-a-half stars.
It all culminated on Sunday with the slaying of the villains, a feat no one figured was possible as the series began. You could almost hear the cheers from across the entire country.
That’s why I thought it was fitting for Dirk to pull the Herb Brooks and leave to go celebration in private, while the Heat stood there in shock at what had just occurred. Somewhere, Chris Bosh is still crying.
It wasn’t anywhere as big as the “Miracle on Ice,” but the “Miracle in South Beach,” will still have a place in American sports lore for years to come.
And in one final attempt to seal his fate as America’s biggest sports villain, LeBron offered up this little sound bite in his post game presser.
“At the end of the day, all the people that was rooting on me to fail, they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today,” he said. “They have the same personal problems they had today … They have to get back to the real world at some point.”
You are right LeBron. I woke up Monday morning and I was still an unemployed, single dad. But you know what, I still had a smile on my face for you receiving a big dose of karma.
Some punks will never learn.
• I applied for a public relations job on Monday night that would require me to get a security clearance. I would tell you where it is, but then I would have to kill you.
• During Game 6, they were advertising “Mr. Poppers Penguins” as a perfect gift for Father’s Day. If my kid took me to that stupid movie on Father’s Day, she would be grounded.
• I made a fantasy baseball trade with Cuddles on Saturday that involved me getting Ichiro. What can I say, I have a thing for Asians these days…
• I have tickets to the Gold Cup semifinals next Wednesday. If Team USA isn’t playing in it, I am not going to be happy.
• I tweeted Sunday that for a 48-year-old woman, Hannah Storm was pretty hot. Yeh-Peu-Dah disagreed.
“She’s not an ugly person, but she’s not a pretty person, either,” she said. “I mean, a dog wouldn’t pee on her, but it may hump her leg.”
Bear Down and Keep the Faith!