May 29, 2011, 8:55 AM EDT
For a lot of fans, the image of Dirk Nowitzki kicking exercise equipment as he walked back to the locker room after Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal and the Miami Heat eliminated him and the Mavericks back in 2006 is easy to remember.
For many fans, these 2011 NBA finals are Nowtizki’s chance at redemption.
But the Mavericks are really a team of players looking for redemption.
This is Jason Kidd’s second chance — he went to the finals twice with the Nets, only to run into the Shaq/Kobe Lakers and lose. He is one of the best point guards ever, but he lacks a ring to complete it.
Jason Terry was there next to Nowitzki in 2006 falling short.
Shawn Marion was on a Suns team that was on its way to the finals, maybe more, until Robert Horry’s hip changed it all.
Peja Stojakovic was on a Kings team that that ran into Robert Horry too, with a 3-pointer with the Los Angeles Lakers (those same ones that caused Kidd so much trouble.)
This is a veteran Mavericks team, and with that comes a lot of stories of woe. This is a chance for redemption for a lot of guys.
Nowitzki’s legacy should not depend on a ring. Nowitzki is the GEOAT — greatest European of all time. Name a better one? Make an argument for Pau Gasol. He has a couple of rings and is undoubtedly skilled, but he is not a franchise player like Nowtizki. Ask Memphis. What’s your other argument? Detlef Schrempf? Nobody has been as good as long from Europe as Nowitzki.
Kidd should be remembered as an all time great. Terry, Marion, Stojakovic and Chandler have all had great careers. A ring is not the sole measure of success.
But this could be sweet redemption for many Mavericks. Including Nowitzki.