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Mark Jackson Does Not Think Brendan Haywood Is Worth a Home Recruiting Visit

The Dallas Mavericks have reached the Finals of the NBA Playoffs, and their depth has been a big reason why they’ve had so much success. Though they only have one superstar in Dirk Nowitzki, their strength is that they have eight other solid-to-good players on their roster. One of whom is backup center Brendan Haywood, who despite playing only 18 minutes per game is extremely valuable because he gives Dallas another sturdy defensive presence in the middle. Apparently ESPN analyst Mark Jackson doesn’t see it that way.

When starting center Tyson Chandler committed his third foul early in the third quarter of Game 1 against the Heat, Haywood checked into the game. Play-by-play man Mike Breen said it’s been a nice benefit to have a guy like Haywood available off the bench. He then related a story about how Heat exec Pat Riley made a recruiting visit over the summer to Haywood at his home in North Carolina. Haywood signed with the Mavs instead, thinking he was going to be their starter until they locked down Chandler.

Upon hearing the story, Jackson was incensed.

“What has this League come to?” Jackson opined. “I’m not going to see Brendan Haywood at his house to recruit him. Come back to me, Coach Riley.”

Jeff Van Gundy asked in surprise, “You don’t think he deserves a visit?” Jackson responded by saying Haywood should have to meet them halfway.

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Larry Bird Honored to be Compared to Dirk Nowitzki

Entering Game 1 of the NBA Finals, most observers agreed that Dirk Nowitzki had been the best player in the playoffs. During his games, announcers frequently debated his place in history. Coach Rick Carlisle stated he felt Dirk was a Top 30 player all time. Former coach and current analyst Jeff Van Gundy proclaimed during Dirk’s brilliant Game 1 against the Thunder that Nowitzki was a Top 10 player all time.

Inevitably, people began comparing Dirk to Larry Bird, suggesting Nowitzki may be the greatest white player ever. Even though their style of play is different, people thought the comparison was fair because of their skin color. By that logic, we should assume limes and broccoli taste the same because they’re both green. It’s a stupid debate, but it’s resulted in a response from Larry Legend.

“I’ve always admired the guy,” Bird told Marc Stein. “He’s had a great run (in the playoffs), but I’ve always been very impressed with him. His work ethic, his loyalty to his country. It’s really an honor for me to have people compare us.”

Bird added that “I understand (the comparisons). I’ve always felt it’s an honor when they compare anyone to me, because I haven’t played ball for 20 years.”

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Shawn Marion on Mavericks as Underdogs: ‘I Don’t Give a F***’

If Shawn Marion has hopped on LBS yet today (since we know he does every day), he would probably have a few things to say about our man Patrick’s guide for picking the winner of the NBA Finals.  While the guide is terrific and certainly worth a read, it would appear Marion couldn’t care less about what sports bloggers or anyone in the media has to say about the Mavericks chances against the Heat.

Dallas is currently listed at +155 on the sports betting website Bodog.com, so the consensus in the gambling world is obviously that the Heat should win the seven-game series.  A lot of people aren’t giving the Mavericks the respect they deserve after coming out of the West, but according to Marion the team doesn’t care.

“We really don’t care,” Marion said as told by Hoopsworld.com. “At the end of the day, this about what we’re able to do and what we’ve done. Are all of these people giving us credit? I don’t give a f***. It’s just that simple. We don’t care. What does it matter? We’ve shown what we can do and what we’re capable of, but we’re not finished yet. We made the Finals, but this not what we came here to do. We came here to take the trophy home with us.”

While Marion said the right thing (aside from the f-bomb), he is completely lying.  Do the Mavs think they’re going to lose because everyone is picking the Heat? Of course not.  Do they care that everyone is picking the Heat? Absolutely.  Everyone wants to be the underdog.  With the way he’s been playing, I’m not sure Dirk should be a part of the underdog squad.

Your Guide to Picking a Team in the NBA Finals: Miami Heat or Dallas Mavericks

Tuesday marks the beginning of one of the most anticipated NBA Finals matchups in recent memory. Miami vs. Dallas. The Heatles vs Dirk and The Boys. Pat Riley vs Mark Cuban. The Rematch Series (even though it’s really not much of a rematch considering how much the teams have changed since 2006).

Rarely are championship contenders as easily differentiated as the Heat and the Mavericks. They are complete opposites. Like tofu and steak.

Yes, the Lakers and Celtics had the whole bitter rivalry thing going on last season. But at their core they were more similar than they were different: two talented, versatile teams filled with veterans. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom against Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Pretty even, right?

The same can’t be said for Miami and Dallas. They are different in almost every discernible way, from the way their talent is distributed to the styles of their offenses to their general world views.

This makes it difficult to pick a favorite in this series (personally, I’m going with Dallas in 6) but easy to choose a team to root for. If you’re not from Miami or Dallas and have yet to decide on a rooting interest, here’s your guide to picking a side:

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Most Media Members Don’t Deserve to Praise LeBron if Miami Heat Win it All

The Heat open up their series against the Dallas Mavericks at home, and they’re in a place many doubters did not expect them to be: the NBA Finals. People prayed, dreamed, wished, and hoped that the Heat would fail this season, and they took pride in ridiculing them at every downturn. But now Miami has reached the Finals and they are four victories away from proving their critics to be absolute fools. The unjustified and hypocritical hatred spewed to them by media professionals gets us to the point where most media members do not deserve to congratulate the Heat, and specifically LeBron, if they win the title. And it’s all because a silly notion regarding a few ounces of molded metal.

In our sports society, we judge athletes based on one thing: rings. We don’t measure NBA players based on point totals, All-Star seasons, or even MVP awards. Nope, the media has trained us to believe that NBA players are only worth their weight in 20 karat gold rings.

It doesn’t matter that Darko Milicic has a ring and that LeBron James does not. It doesn’t matter that Robert Horry has seven championships while Michael Jordan has six. Nope, nope, nope. All that matters is our star players must have rings in order to validate their careers. I’ve said for a long time that’s garbage, but I’ve been mostly alone in my beliefs.

Here’s why the “rings to validate a career” is pure idiocy.

Most NBA observers can agree that Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the greatest players of all time. Anyone watching basketball from his college days to 1993 could have told you that The Dream was supremely talented and one of the best players in the game. But consider this for a moment: Had Michael Jordan not walked away from the game for two years, Olajuwon’s Rockets may never have won a title. If Hakeem had never won a title, would he be considered as great as he is now? Definitely not. But was Hakeem’s game, talent, and skill any different from 1993-1995, or did Jordan’s absence allow Olajuwon a chance to win the (gasp!) elusive championship ring?

My point is that winning championships is based on several factors, many of which are circumstantial. How good are your teammates? How good (or stacked) are your opponents? These factors should be taken into account when we measure the greatness of a player. Rings shouldn’t be the end all discussion.

And that leads me to the predicament of LeBron James.

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Steve Nash Says Gay NBA Player Would Not Be an Issue

The issue of homosexuality in sports has recently become a hot topic.  Homophobic slurs by players and coaches like Joakim Noah, Kobe Bryant, and Roger McDowell have been accompanied by a load of negative publicity and almost sparked a rallying cry in support of the gay community.  While many will argue the aforementioned people did not intend for the terms to be hateful toward gay people, their actions show a lack of awareness toward a sensitive issue.

On the flip side, we have had athletes like Sean Avery speak out in support of the gay community while teams like the San Francisco Giants joined the “It Gets Better” gay movement with a support video.  Former Villanova star Will Sheridan also recently revealed he is gay. He also revealed that his homosexuality was not an issue for any of his Wildcat teammates or coaches.  According to Steve Nash, NBA players would react to a gay teammate in the same way Sheridan’s teammates reacted.

“If a player in the locker room came out, it would come and go quickly, too,” Nash told the NY Times via CBSSports.com. “I really don’t think it’s a big issue anymore. I think it would be surprisingly accepted, and a shorter shelf life than maybe we would imagine. I think the time has come when it should happen soon. I think it will be something that won’t take on this life of its own. It won’t be the O. J. trial.”

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Jason Terry Will Get Championship Tattoo Removed if Mavericks Don’t Win

On Thursday we passed along the story of Mavericks guard Jason Terry who got a tattoo of the Larry O’Brien Trophy before the season began. Terry got the tat in October despite his team being lower in the preseason odds to win it all than a handful of teams. Even his teammates thought he was somewhat crazy for getting the tattoo despite never having won a championship. Now he’s saying he’ll reverse course if the Mavs don’t win it all.

Before the Mavericks left Dallas for Miami Sunday, Terry told reporters he’ll get the tattoo removed if they don’t win it all. His reasoning? “It means it was bad luck. I’m very superstitious.” Terry also said “I definitely know it’s going to hurt worse if I have to take this thing off.”

I don’t know about you, but the whole thing sounds a bit wacky to me. Why get a tattoo if you plan to have it removed a year later? Aren’t there simpler ways of generating motivation? What about putting placards in the bathroom, won’t that suffice? Sorry to say it Jet, but I think you’ll have to start looking for a tattoo remover sooner than later.