Picking Dirk, Picking On LeBron
In early mid-April (the 12th to be exact), when asked as part of an ESPN.com 5-on-5 roundtable which NBA star would have his legacy enhanced the most in the 2011 Playoffs, I wrote:
“The health of Andrew Bynum won’t affect Dirk Nowitzki’s hunger, but Nowitzki’s stomach did just growl. One could argue that Dirk’s legacy has the deepest hole from which to climb. Since blowing a 2-0 series lead on Miami in the 2006 Finals, the Mavericks have been bounced in the first round of the playoffs in three of the past four seasons. A championship isn’t wholly necessary to repair Dirk’s playoff legacy, but if Dallas fails to make the Finals, he may have to live with the label of a regular-season MVP who can’t come through in the postseason.”
Now, I’m not here to exactly toot my own horn as a prognosticator of all things basketball — seeing as I predicted last year’s Wizards to achieve 34 wins (only off by 11 wins), and the bastardly 2009-10 Wizards to achieve 55 wins (yes, I was off by a whole 29 wins here… like I said, “bastardly”) — however, in the same ESPN poll, in reponse to a query on the most surprising thing that would happen in the Western Conference playoffs, I wrote:
“It won’t be surprising when each of the top four seeds in the West move into the second round with relative ease. Nor will it be surprising when the conference semifinals and finals all get pushed to seven games. What will be surprising is when the Dallas Mavericks come out on top in the West and Mark Cuban holds a party for all his friends in the media.”
OK, so I was wrong about the top four seeds advancing to the second round (thanks to the San Antonio Spurs), and about each of the conference finals going seven games (both went five), but hey, Dallas, right? I am still, however, wondering if Mark Cuban will hold a media party. At least he shut his mouth during the latter stages of Dallas’ run, thanks to Nowitzki suggesting that he do so.
None of this is to exactly say that I “picked” Dallas to win it all, although I do have a $20 ticket on the Mavs to do so at 25-1 odds that I got in Vegas during the NBA Summer League last July (I also put money on the Spurs and Nuggets, FWIW). So there’s that:
But what about the Heat? In regard to potential surprising Eastern Conference events, I wrote:
“Miami will handle Boston with relative ease in the second round — we’re talking sweep or a 4-1 series win. Sure, the Celtics were 3-1 versus the SuperFriends during the regular season, but two of those wins came within Miami’s first nine games and the third came with Kendrick Perkins still a Celtic. Perhaps more surprising is that Boston won’t be as affected by wear-and-tear old tires, but rather by the inability to produce points.”
Yep, sorry Boston, but I’ve never been fond of you. But enough of my semi-lucky, semi-basketball semi-predictions, where does LeBron leave us after this NBA Finals loss? Well, pretty much right where we started…
This is what he said after the game (as you’ve likely read):
“At the end of the day, all the people that were rooting for me to fail … at the end of the day, tomorrow they have to wake up and have the same life that [they had] before they woke up today. They got the same personal problems they had today. And I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things I want to do.”
Disregarding LeBron’s assumption that everyone who dislikes him leads much shittier lives than him because he’s rich and good at basketball, he is at the same time giving himself too much credit, yet not enough. People are happy to see him lose. Well, let’s get this straight, it’s not all about LeBron, as his Highness the Oblivious One seems to believe.
Dallas’ win over Miami was also a victory over instant gratification, over-abundance, and non-humble, self-absorbed obnoxiousness (not about who on which team celebrates when). And that is more than enough reason for many of various demographics to rejoice, LeBron’s snobbish assumption of regular-people problems be damned.
Sorry dude, it’s not totally about you, but it is. Thanks for being involved and everything. Thanks for making rooting against you go down so smoothly, but if not you, likely someone else. We all need our villains, especially those of legenday proportions. You’ll be back LeBron, don’t worry… And we’ll be waiting.
All of this begs the question, is anybody today thinking about poor Mike Bibby and the $6.2 million he gave back to the Wizards so he could chase a title with Miami (the same Bibby who was replaced by Mario Chalmers and Eddie House in the lineup for game 6)?