Hey, What Do I Know?
If the Miami Heat are Jesus, just call me Judas.
How many times did I deny the Heat? Let me count the ways:
1) When Pat Riley acquired noted goofballs Antoine Walker and Jason Williams, I openly wondered if he was hittting senility early. I was certain this was two steps backward for the franchise.
2) After Ron Jeremy "resigned," I deemed Riley to be a back-stabbing control freak and reveled in the idea that he would be forced to deal with the aforementioned goofball-infiltrated roster all by himself. Karma was working, I concluded.
3) It was in this very blog that I picked the Bulls to beat the Heat in the first round. Granted, that was largely a homer pick guided by emotions, hope, and faith, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't legitimately consider it a possibility.
4) When the Bulls and Heat were tide 2-2, I labeled Riley as a guy who was extremely overrated and couldn't win a title unless he had a stable of future Hall of Famers in Tinseltown.
5) Just last week after the Mavs went up 2-0, I said I would be shocked if the series made it back to Dallas.
So in other words, I'm an idiot. But I'm sure you knew this already.
All that said, I can't say I'm not happy. As I've mentioned before, I love me some Shaq and Dwyane Wade. It was very gratifying to see Shaq's giant, smiling mug last night knowing that Kobe Bryant was somewhere banging his head into a wall or madly text messaging someone, most likely Jerry Buss, who probably responded with, "WTF am I paying you for?" That makes me smile. Even better, Wade's ascension from the streets of the South Side to the top of the basketball world is now complete. It was fast and it was furious and it couldn't happen to a classier guy. I wonder what will be going on in the halls of Richards High today. (Wait, they'd be on summer break at the moment, right? Nevermind.)
It still breaks my heart that Wade isn't a Bull. Sometimes I squint at the television to blur the Heat's red and black uniforms just enough to pretend I'm watching Wade in the Bulls' duds. How ironic is it that, for all the incessant talk about the "next MJ," a kid from Chicago who grew up watching his Airness up close and personal has made the most viable claim to the title?
It's also nice to see Alonzo Mourning finally get a ring. I had to chuckle during his postgame press conference last night when he took the podium and immediately began a seemingly endless speech about his journey from kidney transplant patient to NBA champion. No questions were asked, really; it was just Zo rambling on and on until ESPN eventually cut away. But you had to allow him that. And after I was done chuckling, I examined the weird moisture accumulating in my eyes. (Should I be worried about this? Am I diseased?)
If you're Dallas, I guess the best you can do is find some satisfaction in knowing that you took the next step, finally escaping the rugged Western Conference and getting a taste of what the Finals are about. Where Miami isn't far at all from having to deal with the advancing age of Shaq, Zo, and Gary Payton, the Mavs are a relatively young team that should enter next season on the short list of favorites for the crown. They'll be back and this time Dirk Nowitzki will know better than to give the ball to Erik Dampier in the dying seconds with the game on the line.
Of course, the Mavs will always wonder about Game Three when they blew a 13-point fourth quarter lead with a chance to go up 3-0. The speed with which the series did a complete U-turn from that moment on is simply astounding. You can rest assured that will eat away at Mark Cuban, Avery Johnson and Co. during the summer months.