From the moment LeBron James made his “Decision” to take his talents to Miami Beach last summer, the Miami Heat have been one big traveling ego show.  The Heat have been all about “me, me, me” (James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh) and the Dallas Mavericks have quietly been about “we” (the team).  While the Heat were conducting an over-the-top introductory press conference that included a laser show while James, Wade and Bosh were lifted skyward by a forklift, the Mavericks were working, trying to become the best team they could be.

“This is a true team,” said Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle after the Mavericks won the 2010-2011 NBA title with a 105-95 win over the Heat in game six of the NBA Finals.  “This is an old bunch. We don’t run fast or jump high. These guys had each other’s backs. We played the right way. We trusted the pass.”

Everything that is right in the world of sports — from the playing field to the owner’s suite — is driven by a collective sense of togetherness; all that’s wrong is driven by ego, whether its greedy owners and self-centered politicians soaking taxpayers to pay for new sports palaces or selfish players putting themselves above the team.

“Not only will the Mavericks be remembered as champions, they’re the team that triumphed over the overdog — the Miami Heat and its luminous trinity of egos,” wrote NBA beat writer Benjamin Hochman in his game six postgame analysis. “The 2011 NBA Finals had a deeper meaning to basketball, for the Mavericks ascension showed that a team can’t just align stars and assume the title is already won.  Dallas reminded all of us about what is right about the game — dedication, teamwork, the importance of role players and class.”

For decades, a favorite saying of coaches at all levels has been “There’s no ‘I’ in team.”  Now the 2010-2011 Dallas Mavericks have given those coaches a new Exhibit 1A.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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