Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks for winning their first title in 31 years, or simply put, franchise history. Congratulations to Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jason Kidd, and the rest of the Mavericks team and organization. After years of criticism, you all finally decided to take none of it, and simply gutted everything out. All the emotion of losing for so many years came out and all the criticism from years past came out. But, if there's one thing that people are missing through all this "MIAMI LOST WOOOOO" and "A Mavs win is a win for the NBA" is that the Mavs winning solidifies one truth: Winning validates all. This post will be dealing with more recent history, because I simply do not recall much from the past as I was not there to live it.
Winning validates all. A statement that seems rather cliche, but it still makes sense. For years, Dirk Nowitzki has been criticized for being a regular season guy. It's not like Dirk just got his Larry Bird comparisons, for it started many years ago. What finally validated it? Winning. Skill is one thing. Skill gets those conversations going. But it's proving that one can win that gives truth to those conversations. Think about it this way. If Larry Bird hadn't won rings, would we say he's one of the best of all time? Karl Malone is considered one of the greatest ever to play his position, but his no-ring status now puts him behind Dirk Nowitzki in the tier of greatest power forwards of all time. Why? Winning. It's one thing to win in the regular season. Dirk himself proved that. In 2007, Dirk was the lead on a 67-win team that seemed poised to win it all after coming two wins close the season before. Six games into the postseason, they were eliminated by a 42-win team who was not in the playoffs until the last day of the regular season. In fact, when he was needed most, Dirk had a 2-13 game with 8 points. No one remembers this? Why's that? Dirk proved himself by winning this year.
Dirk is not the only example. Look at our Lakers. We have the guy who was suspended the whole season for going into the stands and creating one of the biggest scares in NBA history. Do a lot of people remember that now about Ron Artest? Yeah, maybe only people who live in the past. Kobe Bryant has had personal problems all his NBA career. Not meeting his parents for years, having his teammates skip his wedding, and even having affairs with others while married. Do people remember that about him? Yeah, once again, only haters. People who can't find anything wrong with his game, so they attack his character. Even more so, the part that is now long behind him. The past is the past, but it is easily forgotten with winning. Without winning, who knows where Kobe would be? I mean, think about Tiger Woods. Similar situation to Kobe, except dealing with a divorce as well. He's only won one tournament in more than 20 months. Had he been winning anyway, we'd be hearing the story "Tiger Woods, despite his personal life, has been on his game! Look at him win!" Instead, we now deal with hearing "Tiger Woods had lost his game. Could his personal life issues be the reason why?"
No matter what the situation is, winning cures most problems, especially when one has personal life problems. You feel good when you hear these stories about how athletes overcome adversity to reach the pinnacle. Jason Kidd played 17 seasons before he finally won his first championship. However, he wasn't put under the same light as say LeBron even though he was knocked out of two previous Finals appearances. I like to believe it is because of his two gold medals from the 2000 and 2008 Olympic games, which is winning yet again. So LeBron does not have to worry much. Just win a few championships, and the Decision, these disappearances early, being swept out of the Finals, all of it will be forgotten. I mean, if people forgot because of Kobe's 5 rings, both he and LeBron now have the same amount of series losses in the Finals. And one of the two for each came with an embarrassment, whether it was a 39 point demolition, or being broomed out the playoffs on the biggest stage.
(Note: Please feel free to object. I would like to hear what you all think.)