Was there anything cooler in sports this year than watching Dirk Nowitzki stick those two silky shots from the wing to nail the Miami Heat into their coffins?
In my mind, no. Nothing beat that for greatest sports moments of 2011. The Heat got embarrassed by Dirk and Mavs in the NBA Title Series. They deserved to be. Any guys who get together and start predicting they're going to win seven championships, before lacing up their sneakers even once for an NBA game, deserve to be pushed back down.
Bron brought all of this on himself with his "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" ESPN self-centered fiasco. In the Finals, he got his comeuppance. He was vilified and rightly so for being a $100 million overpaid flop and failure.
Dirk and the Mavs took it to the Heat in every which way. Jason "The Jet" Terry stuck big shot after big shot. Unlike Bron, The Jet played well when it mattered most. And I don't remember Jet predicting the Mavs would win 7 NBA championships. Bron melted into oblivion like the Wicked Witch of the West at the climactic moment.
Jason Kidd, who if you know anything about basketball understand what a great all around hoops genius he is, didn't run his mouth either. He just played. After losing in the Finals twice in earlier in this career, Kidd achieved every basketball kid's dream, an NBA championship. I don't remember Kidd holding a Fourth of July-like preseason dorkathon predicting how many championships the Mavs would win. Never happened. I root for players who just play--and win.
Above them all, Dirk surged. A likable guy, loyal teammate, and hard worker, Dirk snared the Golden Crown and we were all thrilled for him. He has been around the NBA for many years and lost his share of playoff games, fell short of the mountaintop time and time again. Finally, he got there. It was Dirk on center stage, stealing the show.
He was the Sportsman of the Year and the Mavs were the Sports Story of the Year.