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I’ll admit that I’m one of the many NBA fans who didn’t quite realize or appreciate how good of a coach Rick Carlisle was until watching him guide the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA title for the first time in franchise history. That’s not to say I didn’t think Carlisle was a solid coach. I most certainly did. In fact, I have long thought he’s one of the very best guys in the business at keeping teams together and piecing together winning seasons. What I didn’t realize was that he was far more than a great candidate to lead your team to consistent 45-50 win seasons.
But I’m just a fan. Those on the inside have long known how great of a coach Carlisle is. A great article on Wednesday taught me just how well-respected Carlisle is amongst his peers.
Amongst the names who have lined up to praise and offer insight about Carlisle the person and the coach are: Larry Bird, USC head coach Kevin O’Neill, Terry Daly, the widow of the late Chuck Daly who Carlisle got his coaching start under, and of course, Donnie Nelson and Mark Cuban, two men who have worked with quite a few other coaches prior to hiring Carlisle.
Anyway, it’s a good read worth checking out. You may already know how special of a coach Carlisle is and why he was the right hire at the right time for the Mavericks. But it’s still nice to see him get the validation from some big name colleagues and peers around the league and sport.
After 31 years of waiting, the city of Dallas will finally have an NBA championship to celebrate. And if the estimates prove to be even fairly accurate, the city plans to turn out in full force to the championship parade Thursday to show their support and appreciation for the accomplishments of the World Champion Dallas Mavericks. A staggering number — 250,000 — is expected to line the streets of Dallas for the Mark Cuban funded parade.
Speaking of the bill, it’s a classy move by Cuban to pay for the festivities considering the cash-strapped state the city has been in recently. The city probably would have come up with the money had Cuban not offered to pay considering plans were made for a similar parade back in 2006 when the Mavericks took a 2-0 lead against the Miami Heat:
In 2006, the Mavericks won the first two games of the NBA Finals and local officials were so excited that they released the route of a parade in case the team won it all. Their foe — which happened to be the Heat — used it as motivation to win the next four games.
This time the parade is on for good. Scheduled to begin at 10:30 am local time, it will begin at the Dallas Convention Center downtown and wind its way north to the American Airlines Center.
When he finally spoke out after remaining silent for almost all of this year’s NBA Playoffs, Mark Cuban hinted that he was interested in purchasing something other than the traditional championship rings for his Dallas Mavericks players, coaches and staff. Cuban explained:
It’s just like I’m going to sit down and I had some brief conversations with Dirk [Nowitzki], Jay Kidd, and Jason [Terry]. We want to change the game. What I told them was ‘Look everybody wears short shorts until the Fab Five came along and then everybody went to long shorts. Now short shorts look outdated.’ I said we want to do the same thing when it comes to rings and how we represent or how we record the fact that we won a championship. Part of the fact is that it irks the hell out of me that you got into towns where teams have won a ring or won a championship and you know the ball boys, the towel boys, everybody has got a ring. It kind of deflates the value and the impact, so I don’t know exactly what we are going to do, but we are going to try to change the game.”
Sounds very Cuban-esque, and frankly not that bad of an idea. Only problem though is Cuban’s star player, Dirk Nowitzki, wants a ring rather than, say, a bracelet.
“We got to talk to him about that,” Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki said with a big smile. "I don’t think the last word has been spoken yet. You know he always wants to do something different, wants to do something bigger, but I mean, the ring is just so classic.
“I think I would vote for a ring. I mean, I’m a man. I don’t know how I’d feel about a bracelet. I’ve gotta go with a ring.”
He’s not alone. Rick Carlisle, who called Dirk Nowitzki the ‘best basketball player on the planet’ on Monday, also thinks Cuban is probably alone in his sentiment about doing something other than rings:
“It’s got to be rings. I don’t know what he’s thinking,” Carlisle said, laughing. “You win an NBA championship, you gotta have a ring. If he wants to give guys something else (in addition to) a ring, that’s great.”
Ah, the beauty of being World Champs. You get to argue over jewelry.
The Mavericks have confirmed that their NBA championship parade will be held in Dallas Thursday, June 16. The start time and precise route will be announced Tuesday, but it is expected to run from City Hall to Mark Cuban’s dreamed parade destination at Victory Plaza, where fans swarmed late Sunday night to celebrate the Mavericks’ first championship and the city’s first since the Stars won their only Stanley Cup in 1999.
The city and their team had to celebrate the title Sunday night over a thousand miles apart, but the Mavs returned home around noon at Love Field to a crowd of over 2000 cheering fans. After their team plane landed beneath a water cannon salute, players streamed out of the plane looking sleepy but excited.
DeShawn Stevenson wore a t-shirt that said “HEY LEBRON! HOW’S MY DIRK TASTE?” Dirk Nowitzki emerged from the plane with his Bill Russell Finals MVP trophy and took a victory lap, high fiving hundreds of fans through a fence for several minutes. Players posed with the championship trophy and fans for nearly an hour before heading home for some well deserved sleep.
What a great NBA Finals for just about everybody except fans of the Miami Heat. Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd finally win the elusive title; Rick Carlisle finally receives the attention and credit he deserves as one of the game’s best coaches; and Mark Cuban’s innovative and committed approach to ownership is rewarded with hardware. I think there’s plenty of folks who were glad to see Cuban take a back seat to the action in this year’s playoffs rather than at the forefront of the media spotlight. All in all, just seems like a perfect story that was meant to be for the Mavericks.
On Monday morning, Cuban joined 105.3 The Fan in Dallas to field questions about this year’s championship squad, why he opted to stay out of the spotlight, how he’s considering something other than rings to commemorate the title, his head coach Rick Carlisle, and other interesting topics in a candid, lengthy chat.
He may have been the most excited man in Miami last night and I woke up to a tweet that said ‘this might be weird, but I’m laying next to the World Championship trophy.’ I don’t think it sounds that weird at all. Is that a true story Mark?
“It’s true. I haven’t fallen asleep yet. I’m still up from last night. Did someone throw a no-hitter?”
How long before you let someone else take that NBA Championship trophy?
“I grabbed it. I wouldn’t let anyone take it from me. We went out and had to show it off some with some our friends last night and then back to the hotel. I was like ‘It’s mine baby! It ain’t going anywhere!’ Literally I couldn’t fall asleep. I was answering emails. I just set it down on the bed. I was just starring at it. I’m like ‘Is it good for you two?’ “
Let’s talk about Rick Carlisle. What did you see in Carlisle that made you think he could be the guy to lead you to a championship and what did he bring to your organization?
“Well we did a lot of the knowledge because I’m a stat geek and one of the analysis we did was we looked to see when players switched teams which coach helped them create the most improvement and Rick [Carlisle] was at the top of the list and not only was he one at the top of the list, he was available, so we went hard after him and I think the other part of it was any coach in any system takes a little bit of getting use to and a little bit of understanding. It took us a little bit of time. I’m not going to lie and say Rick just immediately walked in and everybody got it and bought in, but over time we got better and better and better. People understood his system better and we started to believe it and started to execute all the better and then once we got into the playoffs where adjustments, where everything, you know you play a team in a game. Miami beat us in the first game and you have to go make adjustments. I think Rick showed he was the best coach in all of these playoffs. He literally kicked everybody’s ass when it came to adjustments and putting us in the position to win.”
You have gone missing from the media the whole 2011 NBA post season. Where have you been?
“I was in Bermuda hanging out having some cocktails. I just didn’t want to put myself in the same position I had in the few previous years with the media. When we realized we were going to play the Lakers I knew I was going to get nothing, but questions about Phil Jackson and Ron Artest and things that have been said over the years. I just don’t want to deal with it, so it’d be more interesting and more fun for me to just to say nothing and then everybody picked up on it and made it even more interesting and then we kept on winning, so there was no reason to mess with the karma. It wasn’t any plan. It wasn’t anything specific. It just worked out the way it did.”
This is a new school type of a show. I think you are a new school type of owner. What is this I’m hearing about when you said ‘No championship rings. That’s outdated.’ What’s going on with the backup plan? What’s the Mark Cuban championship plan?
“It’s not a backup plan. It’s a change the rules plan. It’s just like I’m going to sit down and I had some brief conversations with Dirk [Nowitzki], Jay Kidd, and Jason [Terry]. We want to change the game. What I told them was ‘Look everybody wears short shorts until the Fab Five came along and then everybody went to long shorts. Now short shorts look outdated.’ I said we want to do the same thing when it comes to rings and how we represent or how we record the fact that we won a championship. Part of the fact is that it irks the hell out of me that you got into towns where teams have won a ring or won a championship and you know the ball boys, the towel boys, everybody has got a ring. It kind of deflates the value and the impact, so I don’t know exactly what we are going to do, but we are going to try to change the game.”
Go Mavs! World Champs!
After two weeks of watching ESPN and ABC try to will the Heat to a championship, Mavericks fans were treated to a festival of Heat talk Sunday and Monday as the Mavs eliminated them, culminating with an impromptu Outside The Lines special Monday to analyze what went wrong for their Heat in the Finals. The focal point, though, was the game broadcast, and while Jeff Van Gundy received the brunt of Dallas-based ire, Mark Jackson found himself in the midst of tributes to the Heat in fourth quarter after fourth quarter, just as Dallas mounted winning runs.
My favorite line of the entire series came early in the fourth quarter of the clincher. It was classic Jackson, an unnecessary, dull-minded overgeneralization based on a with-the-percentages guess rather than any actual insight.
I’ve been around this game a long time and you can look at guys and tell when they’re ready to explode. And Dwyane Wade has a look like he’s ready to take over this basketball game.
Jackson began that declaration with the clock stopped at 10:20 and the game at 81-77. By the time he finished it, J.J. Barea was launching a three-pointer that would make the score 84-77.
On the next possession Wade dribbled the ball a few times at the top of the arc and passed to Eddie House who missed a three. Next time up the court while working around a Udonis Haslem screen, Wade fumbled the ball away to Jason Terry. Terry broke away and was fouled by Haslem.
After a timeout, LeBron James re-entered the game and passed to Mario Chalmers, who missed a three. Wade then brought the ball up the court and proceeded to dribble the ball off his foot and out of bounds.
Dirk missed a three, James missed the rim entirely on a drive-and-bank shot, and Barea hit a driving scoop with 8:12 remaining to make the score 89-77. Wade then missed a three with 8:00 remaining, and that was just about that. Wade didn’t score another point or collect another rebound or steal until the 3:30 mark – on which Wade hit a fade-away jumper and was not touched, but Jackson declared “that should be a and-one.” Wade wouldn’t score again or make another productive play.
When I watch Jackson I usually find myself wondering if he ever tires of being wrong, but after years of ESPN featuring his monotone nonsense on their top broadcast, the Warriors have bought in. I guess we’ll see if Jackson possesses a similar level of feel for games on the bench in Oakland.
These mini-movies have been fantastic throughout the NBA finals.
2011 NBA Finals Game 6 Mini Movie (via NBA)
Most of the images of Mavericks off-camera celebrations early Monday morning have come via Twitter feeds of phone cameras, but this site has posted a bunch of high quality pictures of Mark Cuban and his wife, Dirk Nowitzki and his girlfriend/fiancé Jessica Olsson, Brian Cardinal, Shawn Marion, Jason Terry and other Mavs folks partying with Lil Wayne and the Larry O’Brien Trophy at LIV in Miami Beach. Looks like quite a night.
Twelve hours after they won the 2011 NBA Championship, the Dallas Mavericks are finally on a plane headed back to Dallas. They partied through the night and are expected to arrive, Larry O'Brien Trophy in hand, at Love Field between 11:45-12:30. The long awaited Mavericks Parade 2011 is in the works, but at this point all we know is that Dallas and Cuban expect it to be next week, the week of June 20 and that Cuban has said that he will pay for the event.
In the meantime Cuban, Terdema Ussery, Donnie Nelson, Rick Carlisle, Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and the rest of the Mavs veterans can let their accomplishment sink in. After national analyst predictions that they would be swept in the first round by the Blazers, after Charles Barkley shocked everyone by predicting that the Mavericks would beat the Lakers - and then was correct, after Las Vegas favored the Heat to win the Finals even when Dallas had won two straight and led the series 3-2, they're bringing home the first NBA Championship to Dallas.