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10 Most Memorable Championship Breakthroughs in NBA History 6

Posted on June 14, 2011 by A.J. Foss

Dirk Nowitzki can now add the words "NBA champion" to his resume.

After 13 years in the NBA, Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is finally a NBA champion.

But he is not the only great player to win a NBA title after years of heartbreak.

Here are the 10 greatest championship breakthroughs in NBA history.

This list is not solely based on the greatness of the player, but how many disappointments that player or players had to go through before getting that elusive championship.

With that said, here is the list:

10. Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce, 2008 Boston Celtics
In the summer of 2007, the Boston Celtics traded for Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to join mainstay Paul Pierce to lead the Boston Celtics back from the doldrums of the NBA.

“The Big Three” lead the Celtics on the greatest single-season turnaround in NBA history, as the Celtics won 66 games during the regular season after winning 24 games the previous season, and then advanced to the NBA Finals, where they defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in six games for the franchise’s first NBA championship in 22 years and the first NBA title for Allen, Garnett, and Pierce.

9. Hakeem Olajuwon, 1994 Houston Rockets
“Hakeem the Dream” took his place among the great centers to play the game as he led the Houston Rockets to the NBA championship in 1994.

In a match-up of All-Star centers who had never won a NBA title, Olajuwon dominated Knicks center Patrick Ewing to win his first NBA title in his tenth NBA season.

“Hakeem the Dream” averaged 26.9 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 3.9 blocks per game in the seven games and made the game-saving play at the end of Game 6 in which he blocked John Starks’ potential game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds, to preserve a Houston victory and force a Game 7, where he scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to clinch the title for the Rockets.

One year later, Olajuwon and the Rockets won the title again, this time giving Clyde Drexler his first NBA title after 12 NBA seasons. Read the rest of this entry →

Big Three is Not Enough as the Dallas Mavericks Rule the NBA 16

Posted on June 12, 2011 by Dean Hybl

Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks claimed their first NBA title.

Though most of the attention and focus was given to the Miami Heat and their “big three”, the Dallas Mavericks and their superstar Dirk Nowitzki stole the show and the Larry O’Brien Trophy as the NBA Champions for the 2010-2011 season.

After losing two of the first three games of the series, the Mavericks won the last three games, including a 105-95 victory in game six on the Heat’s home floor, to win the first title in team history.

Much will be written about the “collapse” of the Heat and disappointing fourth quarter performances of LeBron James in the final three games of the series. However, what is truly deserving of ink is the grit and determination of Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry and the Mavericks.

For the last decade the Mavericks have made a habit of posting a great regular season, only to fold in the playoffs. Over a 10 year span, they lost in the first round of the playoffs four times, the Western Conference semifinals four times, the Western Conference finals once and the NBA finals once. Read the rest of this entry →

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      Tony Oliva

      Cuba is known for producing great baseball talent and there has arguably been no one from the island better than the Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month.

      Before injuries cut short his Hall of Fame worthy career, Tony Oliva was one of the best hitters in baseball and combined with Hall of Famers Rod Carew and Harmen Killebrew to make the Minnesota Twins a perennial American League contender during the late 1960s.

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