After this past season’s Finals were over, the story went that the Mavericks won because they were a veteran team that had been together for years, who had grown as a team, and who knew how to win a title because they’d gone through everything they could possibly encounter on their way to a championship. Led by a bunch of 30-somethings, the Mavs won because of their experience.
That’s all well and good for the games, but when it came time to bask in the glory of their first title, the Mavericks had no idea what they were doing. From the Oakland Tribune:
In his moment of ultimate professional glory, after a lifetime of dedication, the man with all the basketball answers was uncharacteristically indecisive.
Always knowing precisely where the ball should go, who should get it and when it should arrive, Jason Kidd, newly crowned NBA champion, was utterly flummoxed.
The kid who grew up on East Bay basketball courts didn’t know where to turn or what to do. He had no clue about protocol. His teammates had no idea, either, and for once, Kidd, the oldest and most accomplished among them, could not assist.
“(It was) surreal in the sense that we won a championship, and we really didn’t know how to celebrate in the locker room,” is the way Kidd describes it now, still digesting the evening his Dallas Mavericks ousted the Miami Heat in six games to win it all.
Fun scene to imagine. A bunch of giddy basketball players are just standing around trying to figure out what to do, just looking at each other with giant bottles of champagne in their hands, asking each other, “So spray this on your face, I guess?” Meanwhile, DeShawn Stevenson’s in the corner getting new tattoos on body parts that shouldn’t be tattooed because that’s what he does when he’s happy. And Corey Brewer is just smiling through everything, since that’s his default facial setting. Sounds like a wild time.
It’s understandable that the Mavs would be totally clueless about this sort of thing, considering it was their first title. Besides, their best player was in the middle of an identity crisis when the final buzzer went off. From Spiegel:
SPIEGEL: The game was still going on when you fled. There were still a couple of seconds on the clock.
Dirk Nowitzki: I only know that many of our PR people ran after me. They yelled: “Stay here. You can’t do that. The trophy is going to be presented.” I said: “I don’t want it.” I got into the shower, pressed my face into a towel and began to cry. Then I heard them yelling again. “Dirk!” I said: “They should give it to someone else.” Not exactly worthy of a champion, is it?
Strangest celebration ever? Probably. Here’s a team that is at the top of the NBA mountain, only none of them know what to do and their star is bawling and refusing an MVP trophy for which he was the obvious choice. Such a mess.
Luckily for them, they quickly figured out that all you have to do to celebrate an NBA title is order the biggest bottles of alcohol that you can find, grab some hipster glasses and hit the club. It’s pretty simple. Glad they cracked the code.