Mia M. Jackson • Sideline Pass • Up close and sporty!
When the Dallas Mavericks swept the Los Angeles Lakers, the basketball world stood still. Stunned, pundits and fans looked for specific reasons that the mighty Lakers left the playoffs so abruptly. Fast forward to the NBA Finals and the Mavericks still hadn’t won over the world with most analysts picking the Heat in 6 or 7. Only two players had been members of the team for five years or more. Who would have thought that this rag tag team with a single superstar could actually win?
The exes and when they joined the Dallas Mavericks.
J.J. Barea 2007. Jason Kidd 2008. Shawn Marion 2009.
No one fully understood how good this team was. Mark Cuban and GM Donn Nelson pulled together a group of exes for Dirk Nowitzki to play with – and not a single one of them owned a ring. Even the coach Rick Carlisle was known more for his stints with the Indiana Pacers and the Detroit Pistons than as a Maverick. The has-beens and wannabes that other teams easily traded or released soon jelled into a cohesive unit with visible chemistry on the floor. The Wall Street Journal published an article on the Mavericks’ high fives and touches, suggesting that they were indicators of the team mentality.
2010: Brian Cardinal. Tyson Chandler. Brendan Haywood. DeShawn Stevenson.
2011: Corey Brewer. Peja Stojakovic.
The recently added players were scrappy and disciplined even if they weren’t well known. Aside from Nowitzki and Jason Kidd, no other player on the active roster had even made the All-Star team since 2007. Shawn Marion was a star with the Phoenix Suns. Peja Stojakovic spent his All-Star years with Sacramento Kings. Fortunately, they didn’t let memories of failed bids with past teams effect their play. The castoffs would ultimately build a playoff run for the ages and go home with the trophy. At the end of the evening on Sunday, Dirk and Jason Terry stood on the podium as only remaining players from the 2006 team that lost to Miami in the Finals. Wedded together by a blissful playoff memory, the crew of exes can now officially change their name to Champion.
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