(This column first appeared on sheridanhoops.com)
By Jan Hubbard
Although Greed holds a prominent position among the Seven Deadly Sins, there are times when it is a virtuous endeavor. Take the desire for multiple championships, for instance.
The Celtics have 17. The Lakers franchise has 16.
They want more.
In those cases, no one can argue – Greed is good.
Last year, the Dallas Mavericks played the 31st season in franchise history. They were a little more than a decade removed from residing in the inferno of the ’90s – a period when they never managed a .500 record and had seasons of 11, 13, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 28 victories.
They got their first title and it was a joyous affair – a resurrection of sorts, particularly for Dirk Nowitzki, who made fools of all those who stupidly claimed he was soft. Nowitzki and the Mavericks entered the playoffs with as poor of a reputation as any team that had won 50 or more games for 11 consecutive seasons could possibly have. It was popular to predict they would lose in the first round to Portland.
Then they were supposed to lose in the second round to the two-time defending champions. Instead, they swept the Lakers in four games, sending Kobe Bryant into a funk and Phil Jackson into, presumably, the nearest monastery to meditate.
A young Oklahoma City team lasted five games and then the Mavericks became Cleveland’s (and most of the rest of North America’s) Team by defeating the Evil Empire known as LeBron James and the Miami Heat.
So now they are defending champions, an achievement chronicled nicely in a new e-book by Eddie Sefko, the Mavericks beat writer for the Dallas Morning News. One title, of course, is wonderful. Guarantee any team that hasn’t won a championship one trophy and owners, executives, coaches and players alike will sell their souls to get it.
But now, one more is not enough. They want many. Call it Greed if you must, but it’s all-consuming – and it creates a dilemma.