What if Dirk Nowitzki (White Guy from Germany) was Derrick Nelson (Black Guy from Anyhood, USA). Let me start by saying this is not a referendum on unfair treatment of a white German. With that said what more can you say about Dirks performance in this years playoffs? He has hailed more praise and respect in one playoff than analysts much older than me can remember last. All this acclaim earned over a body of work that has flown under the radar simply because the media would not acknowledge its greatness due to playoff shortcoming after shortcoming. Their was a trust issue there. A trust issue that both had Mavs fan skeptical to buy in to a playoff run this April and kept analysts from singing his praises the past few years regardless of his efficiency and talent. So, what if? What if Dirk Nowitzki from Germany was Derrik Nelson from say Georgetown(fictional black guy alter ego). I caution you again, this is NOT a racist filled rant but simply a scenario of how things could have gone different for Dirk with a more familiar NBA background. Derrick Nelson from Georgetown would not have had half as much ridicule as Dirk did being taken so high in the draft over formerly with us Tractor Traylor for starters. I assume Derrick Nelson would have had automatic "street cred" within "the community" (see italics, think exclusive). This would have meant stronger relationships with the majority of what the NBA is, young black males. Maybe Nelson would have been with Chris Paul at his birthday this year. Or Lebron may have taken his talents to South Dallas instead of South Beach. Regardless because of being an introverted white foreign raised player I believe Dirk has excluded the Mavericks from a possible higher chance at sweepstakes for major free agency due to lack of relatability. Current stars with the Mavs are second chance seat fillers here by trade or lack of demand. Ask any NBA player if on paper they wouldn't want to play with someone who has Dirks stats. Insane that Dallas has never landed a major free agent considering the city, no state tax, lower cost of living, loyal franchise fans and facilities and the fact that it is major market. I know Cuban doesn't help but really guys have not truly even bat an eye at coming to Dallas. And this is what hurts Dirk, his lack of "fitting in" (remember italics). When he hosted the All Star weekend in Dallas he came off as a rich kid who supplied the party and sat isolated while everyone else enjoyed his party for him being that none of his guests were his actual friends. That's the kindve left out I'm talking about. The questions that begged to be asked are: Would analysts be so quick to call him soft or so fundamentally sound over purely talented? This is not a Chris Bosh apples to apples comparison. Dirk is head and shoulders a more valuable player and look what Chris Bosh got recruited into 2011! Would Derrick Nelson have the work ethic like Dirk Nowitzki has? (Racist?) Could Derrick Nelson have recruited a Robin similar to the way others have recently (ie.Melo LeBron Bosh Paul Boozer) earlier in his career? Have these things hurt Dirk? I propose that at the same timethis has possibly made it harder for him it has made his pilgrimage to win a ring that much more impressive.
As "hood' as Dirk gets
So what is the upside to Dirk? The upside is Dirk Nowitzki is a white foreign born introvert with a work ethic I believe we still fully don't comprehend. He has limited distractions in his life, and short of being a black guy, could not be more positive for his team and community. Despite the fact that the current Mavs have such a large group a veterans I do not find it to be of coincidence that the Mavericks may be the only team in this playoffs that were not mentioned as having "trust" issues on the floor or anywhere else for that matter (see Pau Gasol Lakers). I attribute so much of that to the fact that Dirk never talks about "getting his" or "shine" or anything of the sort, he is about solely winning. His teammates know that and I don't know of another NBA playoff run team with more cooperative role players with more trust and focus from former #1 options like Marion, Peja and Kidd all together unwavering in their contribution towards the team goal. That's just one major intangible contribution to the franchise from Dirk. Not to mention the fact that Dirk is the furthest thing from a distraction for his franchise. He's old school in the way that the ONLY dividends he's interested night in and night out is getting better and winning an NBA Championship ring.
The 'Heatles' courtesy of @TheBlackAriGold
So in this Finals I am more than ever rooting for Dirk to beat the "The Heatles". The Overdue crew vs. The Entitled Big 3. Good vs. Evil as my favorite local radio calls it. I have been watching the Mavs long before The Big 4 Blow Up (number four being Toni Braxton). I've been around long enough to KNOW this is a special run for the Mavs, with a special superstar with a blueprint and background that favors an unorthodox approach to the game and hopefully the rare outcome of the first to four wins in these NBA Finals. Enjoy.
NOT Finished Yet...