Posted by Matt Moore
This story is beyond idiotic. Wade did make fun of Nowitzki, Wade didn't make fun of Nowitzki, its shelf life has reached absurd levels. But no. Here we are, three days after it happened, still talking about it, still asking reporters about it, still being stunningly daft about what it means in a bigger context. There's no high horse here. Obviously trash talk is a fun concept. But this has just gotten absurd and its things like this which are overshadowing actually good basketball.
With that said, here's your obligatory update to what was said after practice Saturday about Sniffle-gate. Trust me, check our numbers or anyone else's, this is what people want to read about.
Dwyane Wade told reporters Saturday that the entire episode wasn't meant to make fun of Dirk, it started as a legitimate cough, which then turned into he and LeBron James joking about how reporters would blow it up. Which, naturally, the media did.
"I wasn't fake coughing," Wade said. "I actually did cough. And with the cameras being right there, we made a joke out of it because we knew you guys were going to blow it up. You did exactly what we knew."
I'm going to pause here and let everyone get out their "Ha! Yeah, right!" 's and their "A likely story!"'s. I'm going to let you guffaw and shake your head (or "SMH" if you're the Twittering type). Get it all out of your system. And I'm not saying that because I think Wade's being honest. He could be. He very well could not be. But the one thing he's right about is that we, the media, and oh, yes, you the fans (don't think you're not culpable here) took this ten seconds of interaction and made it into a huge deal. We blew it up, Wade's right about that. Whether he's covering or not, it became a story, during the NBA Finals, one that is rife with quality storylines. This became the story for three days.
The Mavericks for the most part would not take the bait before practice Saturday, with Shawn Marion saying "I hadn't even heard about it until I saw it on CNN this morning." Jason Terry said he had not seen the video and didn't care about it. Dirk Nowitzki was really the only Maverick to say anything about the whole thing.
"I just thought it was a little childish, a little ignorant," Nowitzki said. "I've been in this league for 13 years. I've never faked an injury or an illness before. But it happened. It's over to me. It's not going to add anything extra to me. This is the NBA Finals. If you need an extra motivation, you have a problem."
What you have is a situation where what Wade and James did probably irked Nowitzki. It's not that it was that bad or it was anything terrible. It's not what's going to drive Nowitzki Sunday, or any of the Mavericks. It's just another example of the Heat not only knowing how to avoid media scrutiny, but swerving directly onto the tracks, then blaming other people for driving them into the train. The Heat are obviously under more scrutiny than any team in history, but it doesn't change the fact that they do something seemingly every game to keep that white hot spotlight there. Maybe it's about attention. Maybe it's about immaturity. Maybe it's just a series of unfortunate events. But every other superstar in the league manages to avoid getting in trouble 9 out of 10 times, while the Heat bat about .400. And this time, they insulted Nowitzki, intentionally or not.
So Nowitzki jabbed back, obviously offended on a professional level, but he's not going to let it get to him. If the Mavericks close this thing out in six, it won't be because of Wade and James acting like idiots on camera. It'll be because the Mavericks have proved they're the better team and won four out of six. This Mavericks team is made up of experienced veterans. They're not caught up in trash talk, though they dish a lot of it. They want the title, they want the glory, they want to make up for 2006. This is about legacy, not the sniffles.