LeBron James and the Miami Heat went up against Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals, a series many thought the Heat would easily win since Miami had a lethal Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
However, Nowitzki and the Mavs shockingly won the series in six games, with Dirk capturing his lone title and Finals MVP. Meanwhile, LeBron choked in the series and came up shorter than Mini-Me.
While Dirk Nowitzki played phenomenal in the series against the Heat, it turns out an off-the-court incident involving LeBron James and Dwyane Wade is the real reason the Mavs defeated the Heat.
Dirk Nowitzki outplayed LeBron James on the NBA’s biggest stage
The Mavs defeated the Heat in six games in the 2011 Finals, and Dirk Nowitzki thoroughly outplayed LeBron James. The Wurzburg, Germany native averaged 26.0 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in the series while shooting 41.6% from the field, 36.8% from beyond the arc, and 97.8% from the free-throw line.
James, who was universally recognized as the best player in the world, only put up 17.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 6.8 assists in the six-game series. The King shot 47.8% from the floor and 60.0% from the free-throw line. In Game 4, LeBron had eight points in 45 minutes of action.
After years of struggling to get his hands on the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Dirk Nowitzki finally won his first NBA title. He was very emotional after the final buzzer went off in Miami. Nowitzki ran into the locker room and needed some alone time to reflect on what he had just accomplished.
Meanwhile, LeBron James was the laughingstock of the NBA after losing a series the Heat were favored to win. The Chosen One, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, failed in Year 1 with the Heat, and the entire sports world was cracking jokes left and right about Miami’s Big Three.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade got what they deserved after making fun of Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk Nowitzki was dealing with an illness ahead of Game 4 of the 2011 Finals. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade decided to poke fun at the Mavs star by fake coughing as they entered the arena for Game 4.
The basketball Gods clearly didn’t appreciate James and Wade making fun of Nowitzki, which is why the Mavs won Games 4, 5, and 6 to take home the championship. The Heat blew a 2-1 lead in the series and watched the underdogs Mavs beat them on the NBA’s biggest stage.
The Mavs only had one star on the roster in Nowitzki, while the Heat had three in LeBron, Wade, and Chris Bosh. It was incredible to watch Dallas rally around Dirk and take down the mighty Heat. Nowitzki was playing with an edge no one had seen from him before, and it wasn’t by accident.
Not only did Dirk Nowitzki see LeBron James and Dwyane Wade make fun of his illness, but he took it personally.
Dirk was hurt by LeBron and Wade’s antics
J.J. Barea, who was on the 2010-11 Mavs team, was recently a guest on New Orleans Pelicans shooting guard J.J. Redick’s podcast and revealed that Dirk Nowitzki hated the Heat and was offended by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade’s antics.
Nowitzki was already motivated to defeat the Heat since the Mavs blew a 2-0 series lead to Miami in the 2006 Finals. After LeBron and Wade’s fake coughing bit went viral, Nowitzki took his anger and game to another level.
Since losing the 2011 Finals to Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James has won four titles and four Finals MVP awards. He might have five rings if he wasn’t a jerk to Dirk back in 2011.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.