Dirk Nowitzki finally broke through and got the ring he worked 13 years in the NBA for. Avenging a 2006 loss to the Miami Heat, Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Heat in six games to take the NBA title.
Nowitzki was named the NBA Finals MVP for his superb performance throughout the finals and the playoff. Nowitzki averaged 26 points per game in the finals and missed only one of 44 free throw attempts.
It was a clutch performance to go along with the six games he had in the in the playoffs with 30 or more points in the game.
In winning the Maverick's first ever NBA title, Nowitzki showed he wouldn't quit despite the criticism he received for not performing in the playoffs.
Indeed, Nowitzki received the most criticism after losing to a 2006 Heat team led by Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.
After the 2011 NBA Finals, even Heat head coach Eric Spoelstra conceded, Dirk Nowitzki is simply one of the all time greats. And he was when we played him in 2006.
Spoelstra even praised Nowitzki for improving since the last series.
His game has continued to elevate in his 30s. That's a remarkable thing. I think that's a great lesson for NBA players.
You can still improve as you get older and add more skills and dimensions to your game. He is probably one of the most indefensible players in this league, because of his skill set, his shooting and his size. And now he's seen every single coverage he can possibly see.
In Game 4, Nowitzki's played while ill, harking back to Jordan's Game 5 in 1998 against the Utah Jazz. Though Nowitzki didn't have as great a game as Jordan, he did show that he didn't have quit inside of him.
On the flip side, Lebron James did not shed his label as a perennial quitter.
James failed to deliver in the fourth quarter of the series, scoring only 11 points through the first five games in the quarter. In the final Game 6, James did not do much better scoring only 7 points in the fourth quarter. In addition, James was a paltry -24 in +/- in game, which leads to the conclusion that James was the primary reason why the Heat lost the game.
James' demeanor in the final minutes of the game was no better. After Game 4, DeShawn Stevenson claimed that James appeared checked out.
Not only was James a quitter on the court, but James is famously known for being a quitter of his former team.
James left the Cleveland Cavaliers organization a year ago, quitting an organization that drafted him. His reasons, presumably, was a lack of supporting cast around him needed to win an NBA title.
The Cavaliers organization and its fans still have animosity towards James who announced his decision an infamous ESPN broadcast known as The Decision.
Following the loss, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert took a shot at James saying, Congrats to Mark C.&entire Mavs org. Mavs NEVER stopped & now entire franchise gets rings. Old Lesson for all:There are NO SHORTCUTS. NONE.
The jab contributed to James being known as a player who quits in pressure situations and takes shortcuts, rather than work hard as a player much like Nowitzki and the Mavericks did.
Nowitzki waited and worked thirteen years to win his first NBA Title. Will James put in the same kind of dedication and effort that Nowitzki did to win his first NBA title? Or will James simply quit again?