Whenever big moments happen in the NBA, there are two writers I typically go to perspective: Bill Simmons and Adrian Wojnarowski. It is far too early for Simmons to have written one of his 10,000 word tomes on what we nowitznessed last night, but Woj’s, of course, was in the can long before I even woke up.
And it’s predictably spectacular.
Perseverence pays off for Nowitzki, Mavs — Adrian Wojnarowski
And I’m serious when I say I teared up a little bit. Dirk Nowitzki’s career is an inspiration and is everything that sports should be and represent. That he and the Mavericks won the first title in this The Era of the Heat is so fitting it’s almost absurd.
How could a storybook end so perfectly and appropriately, right?
As the buzzer sounded on a 105-95 victory, Nowitzki didn’t run to the middle of the floor, into the throbbing mob of teammates and coaches, cameras and flickering lights. He wanted to get out of there, wanted to be alone in the visiting locker room. The tears had started to come, and he just thought that he ought to be alone with them.
Eventually, the Mavericks had to drag him back out to take his Finals MVP trophy, and take his bow on the podium for national television. In the culminating moment of his career, Nowitzki was sheepish, deferring and humbled. He seemed so at peace, so contented. He had taken everything the basketball world could throw his way, and there was no Bleep You moment on Sunday night. There was no I Told You So.
Dirk doesn’t do endorsements and doesn’t do self-promotion. He doesn’t care. He never wanted to be a brand. He wanted to be an NBA champion.
Oh, and Woj keeps the LeBron bashing to a minimum. But what he says is measured, powerful, illuminating, and perfectly relevant in the moment. Essentially, that LeBron will win his rings, but he’ll never experience the purity of what Dirk experienced last night.