Tag:Dirk Dallas Miami 2011 Finals all-time greats
Posted on: June 14, 2011 6:35 am

Dirking Off

Dirk just gave us the single greatest legacy-building performance in NBA history. He could retire next year or come back with a pot belly and wearing one of those beer can with crazy straws hats and he will still go down as one of the 15 greatest players of all time. He has to. He beat a deeply talented Blazers, SWEPT the defending champion Lakers juggernaut, stabbed two of the best young players in the NBA in the heart and smacked around their OKC playmates with some of the greatest clutch performances in the last 15 years . . . and then beat the  biggest NBA juggernaut team since the Shaq/Kobe Lakers on their own court in the finals with amongst some of the greatest clutch performances ever. Like with boxers, it's as much about WHO you beat as it is what you win, when it comes to legacies. Dirk had to beat the best in the game to get here (Kobe, Durant/Westbrook, Lebron/Wade/Bosh).

I've never seen one player solidify his place in history in such a fashion. Hakeem Olajuwon came close with his 2 titles, but neither came against Jordan and I'm not sure everyone can remember which teams he beat in those playoffs. No one will forget the Lakers and the Heat teams Dirk diggled in 2011. Congrats Dirk. You've always been a class player and unjustly maligned. You deserved the 2006 series that Stern took from you and Cuban, and you did it this year in a way I've never seen before. At this point, I take Dirk behind only Tim Duncan all-time as a PF, and ahead of KG, Barkley and Malone. I even take him ahead of Reggie Miller as a pure scoring ninja assasin.

(Ironically, on the all-time list, I put Dirk one spot behind Hakeem, who is the most underrated legend out there. If he played today, Hakeem would be classified as a PF due to his size and athleticism, but as a center, he has too much historical competition with Wilt, Russell, Kareem, and Shaq (and Ewing to some degree) to get his just due. But he was just slightly below if not on the same par as Bird/Magic/MJ considering the impact of his defense and reboudning along with his unstoppable offensive game).

And as a p.s. I'm glad that Kidd got in on this. His legacy deserved it just as much. People might have forgotten just how amazing he was in his physical prime without this series, in which he was spectacular in his role. I would take Magic and probably Stockton and maybe Isiah over him all-time at pure PG, but no one else in the post-ABA game.
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