Every once in a while a team comes along -- the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and the Oakland Raiders of every year come to mind -- whom you're just happy to see beaten, almost no matter who does it.
Thus it was that most of the nation was cheering for the Dallas Mavericks last night as they won their first NBA Championship, beating the Miami Heat (in Miami no less) to take the series in six games.
Hating the Heat has become a national pastime after Lebron James' unceremonious departure from Cleveland. They're a team with great individual talent, and one would have to bet that they'll win a championship any year now.
But with too much Heat swagger and the Maverick's team of 30-somethings, most basketball fans (including me) wanted to see the Mavs win, despite the odious personality of their owner, Mark Cuban. In particular, I'm happy to see Jason Kidd win a championship at the age of 38. He's always struck me as a class act, as does the 32-year old Dirk Nowitski. (It's unlike me to cheer for a German, but I guess there's a first time for everything.)
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle becomes the 11th man ever to win an NBA championship as both a player and a coach. (He was part of the 1986 Boston Celtics team.)
One other thought: As a long-suffering Washington Redskins fan, I'm well aware that teams whose rosters read almost like all-star teams often have trouble putting it all together because the individuals' personalities and egos get in the way. Miami didn't have that problem to the degree that the Redskins have had for a decade; after all, the Heat did get to the championship. But still, getting so many big names to play together is not an easy thing to do; Heat coach Erik Spoelstra deserves commendation for getting his team as far as he did.
Again, congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks, in part for winning and in part for not losing to the Miami Heat.
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