Celebrate The Mavs Championship, Not The Heats Loss

Celebrate The Mavs Championship, Not The Heats Lose

The bittersweet irony of Jason Kidd coming back to the Dallas Mavericks after all these years and winning a championship is probably lost on many NBA fans. Shawn Marion, for a brief time, was arguably one of the best all-around players in the game who likely was traded away hastily from a desperate Phoenix Suns team. Jason Terry has been one of the most durable, underrated and consistent players in the NBA over the last dozen years. And after scoring over 22,000 points and leading the Mavs to 11 straight playoff appearances, Dirk Nowitzki finally earned a long-awaited championship and much-deserved Finals MVP.

Unfortunately for these four veterans — some of the best players of their generation — they couldn’t have won a title during a more cynical and sadistic time in sports media coverage and sports fandom.

The 2010-11 NBA Finals will not be remembered for what the Mavericks accomplished; it will go down as the year LeBron James proved he isn’t the greatest of all-time. Oh and he isn’t a closer; he isn’t a champion; he isn’t Michael Jordan; he isn’t the next Michael Jordan; he isn’t tough; he doesn’t show up in the fourth quarter; he’s Scottie Pippen; he’s not-even-Scottie-Pippen; he defers; he isn’t a leader; he doesn’t make his teammates better and the list goes on. Enough already.
Look, everybody knows that an integral part of being a sports fan is hating on your opponent. It’s all in good fun, usually.

You build up your rivals’ negative traits. You make a villain out of the star player. You trash talk. There is always a certain gamesmanship to it. But the full-blown national hysteria that has overtaken the sports media and its’ fans that has challenged LeBron’s every shot, every miss, every pass and every nitpicking decision and “Decision” has gone way too far.
Never has any sport seen, in such a condensed and concentrated amount of time, a player drawn and quartered with such ruthless glee as LeBron this summer.

Now to be fair to the situation, he played like crap and as a team, the Miami Heat played poorly. Chris Bosh couldn’t defend or get a defensive rebound to save his life. But credit also goes to guys like the Mavs’ Tyson Chandler, Brian Cardinal and Ian Mahinmi for pushing him around. For all that Dwyane Wade did to secure wins with clutch shots, he averaged more turnovers per 48 minutes (3.7) than LeBron (3.4). He made a careless ball-handling mistake in the closing seconds of Game 5. He missed that late free throw and mishandled the final inbounds play in Game 4. He dribbled the ball off of his foot late in Game 6. He had his own fair share of blown plays. The bench was non-existent. And of course, LeBron could have and should have done more with the basketball. There is no argument against the fact that he was passive with the ball in his hands and too rarely attacked the hoop. He didn’t draw enough fouls or shoot enough free throws. He disappeared in the fourth but who didn’t for the Heat in the fourth except for Wade?

Criticism absolutely should be doled out, more or less evenly against the Heat’s “Big Three.” But, the irrational sensationalism by the media has thrown too much fuel to the “F*ck LeBron” fire and incited a NBA fan base that has reveled in his failure far more than it has celebrated the Mavs’ success. At that point, it has gone too far. Never should a game become more a celebration of failure than success.

On Sunday night, Twitter and Facebook were deluged with jubilant celebrations that LeBron had lost and nary a word against Wade or Bosh. For every half-hearted congratulatory “Go Mavs” or “I’m happy for Dirk”, there were a half-dozen negative comments made about LeBron. Even when he posted a triple-double in Game 5, since he didn’t close out a win in the fourth quarter, he was still the goat and not the G.O.A.T. It was never about how the Mavs won, it was about how LeBron gave it away.

The same media that broadcasted his “Decision” is the same media to question the grandiose arrogance of it all. The same media that wants to compare LeBron to Jordan with every breath they can muster is the same media that slams him for not being Jordan. The hypocrisy has gone too far. Sports fans must wise up and stop buying into every stupid plotline spoon-fed to them by the media. The only indisputable argument against Miami is that they should have put up a better fight. It’s simply not LeBron’s burden to bear alone.

Knee-jerk reactions and spiteful emotions have become too common in sports and this series made that all too clear. There’s no harm in rooting against a player or a team. As stated before, gamesmanship is and always should be a part of the game. But today’s fan has became a sore loser and a sore winner.

LeBron isn’t perfect and he is not the greatest of all-time, but this is a team sport. And while Jordan did so much to win his six NBA titles, he didn’t do it alone either. The Heat lost as a team, simple as that. The Mavs were the better team this year and they have the trophy to prove it.

But this is a logical and fair position which doesn’t sell newspapers or hold people’s attention. The celebration of what Nowitzki, Kidd, Marion, Terry and the rest of the Mavs accomplished has become a trivial footnote in the collective thrashing of LeBron and it’s a disgrace to both teams’ legacies in a hard-fought, highly entertaining NBA Finals.

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Matt De Lima is that obnoxious know-it-all friend that we all have who is way too into sports. Between writing articles about touchdowns and home runs, he enjoys watching “Mad Men” and eating cereal because it’s easier than cooking.

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  1. Jeff says:

    This article is great, one of the best I’ve read. I can’t tell you how long I’ve felt this way. LeBron takes WAY too much flack for taking less money to try and win a title. The negativity is ridiculous…

  2. Matt says:

    The reason for all the negativity is because seriously, fuck Lebron James. No one cares about basket ball, we only want to watch this egotistical douchecock lose and then cry because we hate him and everyone loves to hate someone. Lebron James makes it really easy because he’s such an asshole.

  3. John says:

    You are right about one thing. We trash talk. The Mavericks were not my team. They are great, but not my team. I don’t care that they won, only that they beat that Douche. So telling me or any other fan of basketball to celebrate Dallas’ win is just plain silly. They have their fans for that. I don’t see them asking for anyone to champion their cause either. They can celebrate their win. I will be celebrating The Heat’s loss.

    • Robby says:

      Well, I tend to agree with the author on this one. Sports aren’t about celebrating failures. If that’s what you’ve turned them into, then I feel sorry that you take so much pleasure out of it. It’s not justifiable in any other context in life, why is it suddenly ok in sports? If it really does make you happy to see others fail, you are sadistic by the definition of the word. That’s not right.

  4. Shelisa says:

    I really appreciate this article, and I echo the viewpoints of the author. The Heat did not play to their potential; therefore, they lost. This is what happens in any game. To the people who have extreme dislike for LeBron, please avoid statements like “everyone” wants to see him fail or no one cares about basketball. The gross generalizations simply deflect from insightful comments. The advent of immediate posting allows people to share irrational comments and unfortunatley, those people think they have contributed valuable dialogue. Think before your write.

  5. Devyn H. says:

    im 10(girl) but i know that the heats suck. lebron is so selfish and all dwayne wade does is dunk all the time what else could he ever do except dunk. my dallas mavericks will allways win after the championship. but heats should be colds now they always will lose. who even votes for the heats now. at the mavs parade a citizen/person had a poster that said dewine wade (crying and whining) ledone james (done with basketball and his life Mad) and chris bust (busted from winning). i really thought it was a good poster.Mavs !win! Dirk Jason T Jason K JJ Barea Shawn M all good players !Champions!!!!!!!!!

  6. Evan says:

    Amen to celebrating success. I am a Maverick fan, but at the beginning of this season I was also hoping the Heat would win a couple championships in the next few years just to shut the haters up. When it became apparent that the Mavs had the stuff to win it all I was 100% behind them and hoped for an entertaining run. DONE DEAL… The Heat have a great team and the Mavs just plain outplayed them when it was time to deliver. The Mavs are notorious for having fizzled out in the past and they finally got the “swerve” they needed (and fair refereeing) to cash in on thier talents. (Which they took to South Beach)

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