As Dallas improves to 68-18 with their two best players (Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler) in the lineup, and the country is forced to ponder the question, who is the more unlikely champion, J.J. Barea or DeShawn Stevenson, I thought I'd briefly trace the history of the various parts of this Mavs juggernaut, as it is a "who's who" of teams that fell just short of a championship, or were notable in some other way. If an NBA championship is supposed to bring "redemption", than this team redeemed a lot of people.
Nine years after the 2002 WCF, Peja Stojakovic is an NBA champion.
Eight years after the 2003 Finals, and ten after being traded for Stephon Marbury, its own type of infamy, Jason Kidd is an NBA champion.
Six years after the Malice At The Palace, Rick Carlisle is an NBA champion.
Five years after the 2006 Finals, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Terry are NBA champions.
Four years after Amar'e got suspended for leaving the bench, Shawn Marion is an NBA champion.
Four years after being swept out of the playoffs by the Cleveland Cavaliers in Arenas' last good year, DeShawn Stevenson and Brendan Haywood (and Caron Butler) are NBA champions.
One year after being dumped by the Charlotte Bobcats* for cap relief, Tyson Chandler is the second best player on an NBA champion.
And somehow, someway, amazingly, Brian Cardinal is an NBA champion.
Cardinal jokes aside, this Mavs team has so many players who have been a part of so many interesting, fun, and important teams over the past decade, it's great to see so many of them finally win a championship.
It's been a fantastic 2011 for the NBA, here's to a great 2012. Hopefully, we'll get one.