I have a soft spot for future Hall of Fame players who never won the big one, the championship, like Charles Barkley. I have a bruised plum soft spot for players who could never even get to the Championship, like George Gervin (poor George: 14-time All-Star, career average of 25.1 ppg, never sniffed a championship). That's why I'm really happy to see Dirk Nowitzki make it to his first Championship.
Dirk is a Hall of Fame player doing everything right in his career. Good guy, good teammate, the 2006-07 MVP is averaging 8.5 boards and 23 ppg on 48 percent shooting for his career.
And like a true great, The Dirk gets better when it matters most—averaging 26 ppg and 10 boards in the playoffs, including 29 ppg this playoff season. Not only that, he is shooting a 52 percent—including a mental 52 percent from three-point land.
No plan jump shooter, Dirk got to the line almost 10 times per game, making 92 percent of his free shots—including a sick 59-for-61 in the Thunder series (hat tip, Pete S.).
And let's not forget Jason Kidd, who has to be, what, 57 years old by now, but has never won the big one. Kidd, at least played in two championships with the Nets. His play was mixed those two years, but with a future HOF in Notwitzki by his side (and not, say, Kenyon Martin), his job should be noticeably easier.
So, does Dirk get his ring? Tough to say. The Heat play much better team defense team than the Thunder do. (Heat, Thunder, what's with the meteorological names?) It should be a heckuva interesting series—pure offense vs. tough defense.
All we at AAPTBNL can say is that Dirk seems right now, to be a man on a mission from Yahweh. He knows that, at 32 years of age, this is his last, best chance. And he's playing like it. He needs to do it now. I hope he does.