2011 NBA Finals | Dirk Nowitzki Named Most Valuable PlayerCategory: Basketball
After his team’s collapse in the 2006 NBA Finals, the criticisms for Dirk Nowitzki started coming.
He is not a leader, he is a choker, he is soft, he lacks killer instinct, he is not a winner.
His teams have no difficulty making the NBA Playoffs, yet always crash suffering from early First Round exits three out of the next four seasons after their first Finals appearance.
He is the best European player in NBA history having won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in 2007, yet, he has no title to validate that.
Coming into this NBA Playoffs, the so-called “experts” are quick to claim another First Round exit for the Mavericks. But Nowitzki and his teammates proved their mettle by winning Game 6 on the road to take the series against the Portland Trailblazers.
Their second round opponent was eliminated with swift precision with a sweep of the defending champions LA Lakers.
The German Bomber was even more cold-blooded in Game 1 of the next round against the OKC Thunder setting an NBA postseason record for most foul shots made without a miss as he scored 48 points, leading the Mavericks to a 121-112 victory.
Despite losing Game 2 at home against the OKC Thunder, Nowitzki proved he is a leader and clutch player with a series of comeback wins in Games 3, 4 and 5 to eliminate the young Thunder.
And in this 2011 NBA Finals series with the Miami Heat, he had shed off his “soft” label even playing through a sinus infection that left him coughing and wheezing and his temperature spiking to 101 degrees in Game 4, drawing comparison to Michael Jordan’s epic playoff performance in the 1997 NBA Finals.
He was no question the best player in this series as Dallas broke even with Miami after their 2006 defeat, winning the series 4 games to 2.
You can’t blame him for shedding tears seconds before the final buzzer ended in Game 6.
For sticking with the Dallas Mavericks all these years, Dirk Nowitzki is now a winner. He was also given the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player trophy as a bonus.
Yes, you can now tick off Dirk from that infamous list of NBA greats without a championship ring.