As a guy with wife and kids, I don’t exactly get to be locked into every second of every NBA playoff game when the Mavericks aren’t involved. Sometimes I have to cede the TV to re-runs of Botched on E! or watch Minions for the seventh time in the last two weeks. I put my authoritative foot down for Saturday night’s Bucks/Raptors matchup with a spot in this year’s NBA Finals within the reach of Drake and Kawhi Leonard.
The game didn’t disappoint me or my marginally-interested wife and daughter as the close finish and the raucous scene at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto gripped all of our interests until Ernie Johnson ended the postgame celebration on the court. My 9-year-old asked me endless questions about all sorts of things and it made me wish I could be answering these questions about a Mavericks game this late into May. Alas, it has now been eight years since the pure elation of Dirk and the Mavs raising the Larry O’Brien trophy on the court of the American Airlines Arena in Miami on June 12th, 2011. Even though Dallas is fresh off a year of acquiring franchise pillars in Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis, the retirement of Nowitzki makes those Finals feel like so long ago.
It feels like so long ago because it was so long ago. Only three Mavericks (not including Nowitzki) were in the NBA at that time.
Of course, J.J. Barea was on the team being a priceless X-factor inserted into the starting lineup by coach Rick Carlisle in the middle of the series.
Devin Harris was 28-years-old and coming off a season in which he averaged 15.2 points per game in 71 games combined between the New Jersey Nets and the Utah Jazz (he was sent there as part of the Deron Williams trade). Yes, the New Jersey Nets were a thing and Deron Williams being an All-Star caliber player was still very much a thing.
Courtney Lee was just finishing his third consecutive season on a different team (Orlando, New Jersey, Houston) to begin his career.
Luka Doncic was just 12-years-old! 12! If his 12-year-old summer was anything like mine was back in 2005, then he was probably getting ready to spend it playing video games at home and jamming out to Green Day. I’m not sure what Slovenians think of Billie Joe Armstrong and company, but it’d be cool if Luka and I shared that common interest.
What else was going on when the 2011 Finals tipped off on May 31st?
This song was in the second week of SEVEN straight weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100:
How many NBA players could Adele even name?
The number one movie in the country was the incredibly unoriginal, but still funny, The Hangover Part II.
And we were only one month removed from this scene warming our hearts while we actually watched a network television program at its live air-time.
I think it’s safe to say that a lot has changed as these eight years have gone by. Hopefully it won’t be another eight years before the Mavericks are making their next NBA Finals appearance. We’ll probably be on our third different actor portraying Spider-Man after Tom Holland by then.
Even though Dallas will be absent from the biggest basketball stage again this year, they’ve made steps in the right direction in the past twelve months and you can’t run towards a championship before you can walk towards it.
With the Mavs in it or not, the 2019 NBA Finals figure to be very entertaining with the health uncertainties surrounding the Warriors and the storylines looming over the uncertainty of Kawhi Leonard’s future in Toronto. Soak up the quality basketball, Mavs fans. Oh, and go appreciate the greatness of 21 by Adele all over again now that you’re thinking of it. Or sure, check out the first or second installments of the Hangover series. Just don’t subject yourself to the third one. You’d be better off watching the final minute of game six of the 2006 Finals on a five-hour loop.
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