A single, subtle spotlight shone on superstar Maverick Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas as he held a microphone at his centre court stage like the chairman of the board Frank Sinatra. The good German gunner retiring his way.
At the love in of mid-February in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Basketball mid-season classic of the NBA All-Star Weekend, Dirk was named as a special honorary legendary addition to ‘Team Giannis’ squad. A fellow seven foot unicorn and Greek Freak of nature (but if Antetokounmpo is the most versatile big man of all-time it’s because Nowitzki is the most revolutionary) this European legend helped inspire like teammates Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis (which in that order after Dirk may go down as the three best international basketball players of all-time). A best foreign big-three of all-time unfortunately now we will never see together play in the Texan triangle big-three, holy trinity. After Dirk has battled everyone from Tim Duncan’s in San Antonio to the Houston Rockets James Harden all alone for two decades plus. Alongside the rocking retiring tour chair of Dwyane Wade for his best friend, ‘Team LeBron’. And swapping jerseys in this gift of an exchanged season it’s been quite a show of in harmony, symbolic synchronicity of symmetry for these former final rivals with their own chips they brushed off their shoulders to come together for one photograph finish this year in uniform unity.
And even last night in a flash of lasts for this weeks grand finale of NBA history in this storied season, that has seen the San Fran Warriors to be play in the Golden State of Oakland for the very last time, Dirk scored 30 too (along with collecting 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a block) against a scorched Suns (though Sixth Man super sub legend worthy of his own parade Jamal Crawford had 51 to become the first player in NBA history to hit 50 for four different clubs) like Dwyane against the Sixers. All for a combined Kobe final 60 (although this 40 year old franchise lifer you once free agent cold called did it off 30 shots Bean as he checked your box score) for these Mamba era mentality legends as both called game and it a career for the record book memories of those who changed the association from big threes to bigs who could shoot the three. Superteams to seven foot unicorn stores like Captain Marvels.
And how fitting for the great downtown hope of Larry Bird with the shot to introduce him (along with heroes Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley and Seattle Supersonics legends Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf) at the half for a full tribute that shed tears you simply couldn’t help to wipe away? As after the Wade’s world waltz of the One Last Dance season of number 3 really gave us the 82 game time to savour and celebrate all he’s done on court as we wished him on his way of Wade, after weighing up the love for the game pros and injury riddled cons all stunted season, Dirk put it plainly in a simple sentence as we might have expected, “this is my last home game”. As a big disbelief, disappointed “aww” erupted. Followed by a chorus of cheers that stood in auditorium decibel audible ovation.
One exit last night on a red carpet, the other out the back door. One more celebratory. The other more subtley so. But neither wrong. Both just done with class in their own, unique individual way. Just like the players and professionals they were and remain will always be. And if Dwyane is top three in all-time Shooting Guards, then Dirk is the greatest of all-time when it comes to players shooting from other shores. His lethal fadeaway from deep may as well have been as far back as his home country for your Euro-step, let alone the three point line. It belongs right next to Kareem’s hook or M.J.’s fade as one of the greatest, most unstoppable shots in L history. The most beautiful parquet perfect sight to behold from the elbow to the nosebleeds.
But how this man changed the game is in more than this blonde bombers shaggy shot and the one he had and now others do in this league, with that ingrained in the surface of the Spalding will to never give up as you fingertip spin the ball on your palms by the seams of beyond the arc.
All you have to do is look to the future to see what this monumental man has built like the statue that will one day reside outside a Dallas, Texas who once thought, “who the hell is this kid”?
A Hall of Famer people.
So whilst they clink Budweiser’s for Dwyane out in the talented Wade County of South Beach bringing and saying goodbye to the Heat, it’s time to light a Cuban for this stogies last cigar now his career is endgame ash.
The west will never be this wild again without this long range gun. But at least after this last home-stand one of our generations greats will have one last run at the Alamo in San Antonio for a Texas derby ride this Thursday.
After 21 seasons number 41 is done after one last game, for just one team, after all this time. And now it’s all on to the double 7.
Danke Dirk. Let’s look for Luka.
Long live the Maverick.
But please not you too Vince. Not just yet.
Lakers Finally Get Anthony Davis. But At What Cost?
Like a rat crawling over some controls and releasing Scott Lang from the Quantum Realm in this Endgame, just like that the Lakers have their Ant-Man. And it’s an avenging, giant, levelling up move.
Anthony Davis is finally a Los Angeles Laker.
Still I hate to piss on this parade and sound like Morgan Freeman in ‘The Dark Knight’, but at what cost?
Well to be specific here’s the receipt.
Lonzo Ball (bad move).
Brandon Ingram (okay we expected that, but still).
Josh Hart (what?!).
The fourth pick in this weekends draft (or should we say Cam Reddish).
And a load of other picks over the next few seasons. Or should we say a couple of Jordan Clarkson’s and Larry Nance Jr.’s.
Well at least they got to keep Kyle Kuzma for a formidable frontcourt that might be the new, next big three.
But the young core and that keep the hash-tag campaign is officially the casualty of this trade bait like the jobs of Magic and Dell Demps, that’s been fish on the line dangling for longer than that Kawhi Leonard rim rattling shot against the Sixers.
Rob Pelinka’s a beast…and not in a good way.
We will say it again. That clip of Rob Pelinka claiming he set up a meet between Kobe Bryant ans Heath Ledger after Mamba watched ‘The Dark Knight’ is beyond messed up. We all know Heath passed away before the film even came out. Don’t disrespect the dead. Can’t buy character. But can sell your integrity.
That’s who you are dealing with Lake Show.
Hollywood’s Rob Lowe would have been better.
Let’s see who you’re not dealing with anymore.
D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr., Ivica Zubac, Thomas Bryant, Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart.
Is that everyone?
What you wanted more?
All the years all the young guns with plenty more calenders left in their clips. All gone.
And they didn’t even ask for Julius Randle back as part of the trade kicker.
But look to him staying in New Orleans now with Ball, Ingram, Hart and whoever else would have ended up in Los Angeles with that luck of the lottery fourth ball. And the Pelicans about to fly with the road to Zion looking like the closest thing to what would have been the young Lake Show for the future Mardi Gras in Crescent City.
Don’t write off NOLA it’s all about to go down smooth in the Big Easy.
But after months of speculation, social media tweets and articles I rest my case, I’ll say no more. But you know how it is.
On the bright side in sunny California…Anthony f##### Davis.
The Lakers finally have their man. And next to LeBron the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe…sorry Pau. It could be Finals…it’s at least playoffs.
Now it’s time to put another great core together.
Kemba? Three Kings?
Kyrie? Kevin? Kawhi?
Cue that laugh…hey we all have dreams in Hollywood.
Free agents will be more likely to join the ‘Space Jam’ show now too, but whoever LeBronland casts like throwing up movies off your phone on to your T.V. it’s a whole new world in L.A. now the Genie (or Jeanie) has finally granted their wish.
But how about two more Aladdin? On the spirit of Robin Williams help us Will Smith!
Then that will make up for all the young princes they’ve lost for one King.
As of right now like Swiss, this team has more holes than “fashionable” hipster t-shirts on Rodeo. There’s no starting point for one. And not having Lonzo ball out on the tutoring of both legendary super sub Rajon Rondo and the fellow pure point Basketball I.Q. of new assistant coach Jason Kidd is a real shame. Like losing a pure scorer like Ingram (or *clears throat* D-Lo). Or the best role player the Lakers have ever had since the days of Horry, Fox and Fisher in Josh Hart. Not to mention whoever would have come next starting this weekend.
All for a guy who was going to come to us next Summer anyway and in these changing player power times could still walk away next season anyway.
All for nothing?
I guess the Lakers looked at Leonard winning it all with Toronto and thought it was all worth it.
But at least it’s all done. It’s over now. And for now Anthony Davis in that Glen Rice 41 is the next big man great in the legendary Laker lineage of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem, Shaq and Pau.
Just don’t Andrew Bynum or Dwight Howard this up.
Rich Paul for MVP.
That’s all folks!
The Six In 6. Toronto Become First Canadian NBA Champions
They the North did it.
Last night in the Bay the 6 got turned upside down with no need for a seven right now. As Drake’s really big team got some really big rings.
And with a 114-110 win in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. After almost a quarter century the Toronto Raptors became the first franchise outside of the United States to win the National Basketball Association finals to make history and become Canadian champions.
And in their Canuck colours pointing to the North from California with the gold, these red and whites flying the flag in the U.S. did it for all of us as they truly changed the game.
It started with an expansion 24 years ago in Toronto. Alongside the Vancouver Grizzlies. It ended with them being the sole franchise outside of America in the NBA as former Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol joined another former gritted Grizz in the form of his big brother Pau Gasol to be the first siblings in hoops history to be NBA champions.
It started with throwback cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady in Dino unis, throwing it up and putting it down. Bringing the Air to the Air Canada Center. It ended like Vinsanity in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest for a new millennium. Looking at the camera after honey dipping and putting it through the legs, telling us emphatically with cutting hand gestures, “it’s over”.
This is for him. Mac. Mighty Mouse. The Camby Man. The Junkyard Dog. Iron Man, Mo Pete. Chris Bosh.
You know it’s for DeMar DeRozan too especially.
Kyle Lowry (what more can you say with 26, 7 and 10 leading the way?). Gasol. Siakam (G-League to big league champ). VanVleet. Ibaka. Lin. And of course quite possibly now the greatest player in the world right now and Finals MVP (joining Kareem and the King as the only Most Valuable Finals Player with multiple teams), sinking that last free throw as epic as his around the world and a day buzzer beater against the Sixers in the six, Kawhi Leonard.
Nick Nurse the architect. And of course another one, James Naismith. This game was invented by Canadians, played by Canadians and like the first ever game in NBA history, this victory belongs to Canadians.
Drake. Real superfan Nav Bhatia and the Canadian coffee house company Tim Hortons raising a cup to him commercial tribute. Everyone in Jurassic Park roaring like T-Rexes for these Raptors and of course all of you. Truly bringing the buzz to basketball.
This if for the real Warriors too. Five straight finals for the first time in a half century, 50 years (love Commish Adam Silver’s lining tribute). The dynasty that is nowhere near dead as they fought to the end for their last look in the Oracle in those Town across the chest jerseys before moving from Golden State across the Golden Gate to a new era of dominance in the hilly streets of San Francisco (the next time we’ll see Toronto is in Tokyo, October for our very own NBA Japan), where that digitally developing skyline from those tram peak points is the limit. No matter who stays or goes in this Curry, Durant, Draymond and Klay juggernaut with guys like Igudola and Cousins relating too. This is for Kevin Durant (who we apologize to for every Canadian fan who cheered his injury in Game 5. Although Warrior fans cheered for an injured Kawhi back in the day too) who played to the pain as all heart he proved everyone wrong and did it all for his team. And true Warrior mode Klay Thompson who went down with a crippling injury too in this final game and came right back to the right kind of cheers. This superteam and one of the greatest in history is far from extinct.
But right now for the Toronto Raptors it’s Jurassic World and the Golden State Warriors for the last time, fallen kingdom.
And as the final horn called for the last game of the season all hands were kept high for the North who overcame all the cold to break the ice for the first championship. And the champagne no longer on ice tasted as good as these underdogs proving everyone wrong as they bit back.
I’m not crying…we’re all crying.
We the champions my friends and Canadian countrymen.
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