The pressure seems higher for LeBron James at first glance. That much is obvious. When it comes to the 2011 NBA Finals, there are two primary superstars in the center ring and yet Dirk Nowitzki actually stands more to lose if the Dallas Mavericks do not defeat the Miami Heat and take the title
You might think that’s a misnomer, and that much is understandable. After all, it’s the super-group known as the Miami Heat who were called the team to beat and were constructed to such a degree than many called it unfair just to put such players together like Dwyane Wade, LeBron and Chris Bosh. Such talent is simply expected to win. Pure and simple.
LeBron’s “Decision” also comes into play here for those fans who believe in any karma resulting from his public dissing of the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron has fate to conquer since the gods of what is right and fair in the world should be set against him succeeding in South Beach. Love or hate him, everyone has an opinion so even more of a spotlight rests on him than any one of the Mavs.
But look at Nowitzki and you realize he’s a man who will turn 33 just after the NBA Finals are finished. He’s played a lot of games on that 7-foot frame, since most don’t realize that Nowitzki came into the league at the age of 20. In all, Dirk has logged nearly 1,000 games and over 36 thousand minutes played in his career. The simple assumption is that Dirk doesn’t have many more chances for a championship ring like this.
At the same time, the players around him are equally long in the tooth. Jason Terry is 33. So is Shawn Marion and Peja Stojakovic. Jason Kidd is 38. Dallas isn’t exactly primed for a long window of opportunity, and even this season was a nice surprise for NBA fans. This might be the one shot Enimen so famously sang about not blowing.
Dirk Nowitzki already has an incredible legacy in the NBA, but it’s not clear just how elite of a player he is when placed in a proper historical context. An NBA Championship would certainly boost that stock considerably.