Why do I want to be like this 7-Foot Basketball Playing German?
Last night, I watched the NBA Finals and saw the underdog Dallas Mavericks and it’s humble superstar, Dirk Nowtizki (yes those reading this who does not follow basketball, Dirk is German) finish off the hated Miami Heat and it’s vaunted big 3 consisting of megastars LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh to win the NBA title.
The most striking thing to me was what happened when the game ended and Dallas became champions. Dirk immediately left the court without celebrating with his teammates. The TV camera cut to Dirk in the hallway looking like he was about to cry going into the Dallas locker room.
Dirk Nowitzki has been quite an amazing player since coming from overseas to the NBA and becoming a Top 30 NBA Player of all-time, the face of the Dallas Mavericks and the franchise’s best player.
Dirk is an egoless, fun-loving German who always jokes with his teammates, is accessible to the fans and is not afraid to laugh at himself. While he’s a fun-loving guy off the court, he is an assassin on the court with his arsenal of insane jumpshots and post moves.
In 2006, Dirk had his best chance at his first NBA title when the Mavericks faced the Miami Heat, who had Dwayne Wade and Shaq for the NBA title. Dallas took a 2-0 lead in a Best of 7 (You have to be the first team to win 4 games in as many as 7 games to win the title) but lost 4 straight to Miami despite questionable bad calls by the referees that gave Miami, the edge to win the title. Dirk in Game 3 missed two key free throws and faced a lot of flack for losing the title.
In 2007, Dallas rebounded from the lost and had it’s best season in Franchise History winning 67 games and a long deserved MVP for Dirk but they ended up getting upset by the 8th seed Golden State Warriors in the first round. Dirk also received a lot of flack again for losing in the first round.
Then came the NBA Finals, this year. Miami had a loaded team with 2 of the top 5 players in the NBA in LeBron James and Dwayne Wade and a top 20 player in Chris Bosh. Everyone seemed to lean Miami to win because of it’s starpower despite what Dirk and his teammates have accomplished as a team as opposed to Miami who won because of a collection of 3 mega-talented individuals and people didn’t trust Dirk’s ability to win because of his past.
Dirk Nowitzki while nothing “extraordinary” in terms of his stats in the Finals proceeded to come through in the clutch in the 4th quarter in all 4 Dallas games outplaying Wade and LeBron (who mocked him during the series) hitting the “Winning Baskets” in 3 of the 4 wins despite a broken left middle finger on his non-shooting hand and playing one game with a 102 degree fever.
After the win, When asked by a reporter what ask why Dirk ran into the locker room after the game instead of celebrating on the court. He admitted that he was lost in the moment and needed to reflect on his own while crying.
Dirk had the weight of the world on his shoulders, going into the Finals with people doubting him. He probably doubted himself, given the past steeped in failure and heartbreak. This time around, he proved everyone wrong. This time, he was the best for that one moment. Nothing was handed to him, he went out busted his ass and took it and all he wanted.
All Dirk wanted to do last night after winning was take a moment of clarity, reflect on all what has happened to that point, let out those tears of joy and take it in alone because he’s the only one who knows how that feels.
I so badly want that moment of clarity. I feel like I went through my own hardships,failures and heartbreaks in my life with people including myself doubting me hoping that “one day”, that “one day” I will get my shot to prove to myself I can do it. I know I am capable of being special, I just need my shot.
If that happens, I will probably make a beeline to the bathroom or some quiet place myself. Look back at everything, and just let it all out. I live for that moment. I will trade anything for that moment. I would offer my soul for that moment.
Seeing what happened last night, I firmly believe that moment is coming and when it presents itself I want to take advantage of it.
Enjoy your moments people and never let them go.
-V. for Vinnie