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Nowitzki crowns career with NBA championship

The Local · 13 Jun 2011, 10:43

Published: 13 Jun 2011 10:43 GMT+02:00

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Nowitzki battled injury and illness during the best-of-seven series, but still managed to average 27 points and 9.4 rebounds to help the Mavericks win 4–2. To top things off, the 33-year-old German became only the second European to be named NBA Finals MVP.

"I can't believe it," Nowitzki said after the game. "I'm just so proud of the team, and what we went through this season."

Miami led 56 – 55 as the third quarter began, but Dallas countered by scoring eight points in a row, and then never relinquished the lead.

Nowitzki disappeared into the dressing room when the game finished. "I just needed a minute to myself," he told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper. "I was a bit emotional. I cried a little. I wanted to be alone and get hold of myself."

The win was a particularly satisfying act of revenge for Dallas, who lost the Finals to Miami in 2006, after leading the series 2–0. Following that debacle, US media labelled Nowitzki as "too soft" and many pundits decided he lacked the necessary leadership qualities.

But he has since established himself as one of the NBA's best-ever players, and his peers poured accolades on him in the post-match press conferences.

"All the critics only ever talked about what he can't do," Mavericks' shooting guard Jason Terry said after the game. "But all the last years were nothing compared to this one. The way he carried the team this year was just phenomenal."

"Dirk Nowitzki is simply one of the all time greats. And he was when we played him in 2006," said Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. "His game has continued to elevate in his 30s. That's a remarkable thing. He is probably one of the most indefensible players in this league, because of his skill set, his shooting and his size."

Story continues below…

The Local/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:54 June 13, 2011 by hanskarl
It is satisfying and a great story to see Dirk rise up and come out of Germany to become one of the best players in the American NBA. He had the size and Herr Geschwinder saw the possibilities and built up the foundation correctly. The rest is history and the makings of another great story of persistence and perseverance.

Congratulations to Dirk for not giving up and working hard and consistently for five more years to prove everybody wrong after the 2006 NBA championships that Dallas lost to Miami. This is the type of story that builds dreams in the younger generation and in time aspires some of them to become the future marquee players and leaders of sports. It makes me think of Martin Kaymer and Steve Stricker in golf and so many other great athletes.
15:23 June 13, 2011 by auniquecorn
Now if only the Cowboys could pull one off.
17:43 June 13, 2011 by marktshark
Dirk deserves this and more. For years he has been a wonderful leader of the Mavs and a generally nice person.

Congratulations to Dirk and his original coach from his boyhood days in Germany.
21:09 June 13, 2011 by HJ Marseille
Nowitzki Uber Alles!!!!!
17:03 June 14, 2011 by tonilton
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
17:04 June 14, 2011 by T.J. Morton
@aniquecorn - I think that Jerry Jones is destined to become the next Al Davis - perhaps he is actually some cloning experiment already gone awry! Jones will keep running off coaches who know what they're doing and bringing in men who will do what he wants instead of building, and maintaining, a championship caliber team. However, we will always be left with memories of Tony Dorsett, Roger Staubach, Emmitt Smith, and Troy Aikman (and don't forget Daryl Johnston)!
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