Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki spent the entirety of his career with one NBA team. For 21 seasons, Nowitzki suited up for the Mavericks. He never left the franchise, joined up with other prime free agents and formed a super team.
Because of that, it should come as no surprise that Nowitzki couldn’t stand LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. That tidbit comes courtesy of Nowitzki’s longtime teammates J.J. Barea, who revealed Nowitzki’s hatred for the Heat on JJ Redick’s podcast.
Barea made the following comments about Nowitzki around the 35 minute mark of the podcast:
“[Nowitzki] was not going to let us lose. The way he prepared the whole year for it. He hated Miami. He hated LeBron, Wade, Bosh. He’s never going to say that, but he couldn’t stand it.”
It’s unclear whether Nowitzki hated those three players or if he hated what they had done. Either way, playing against the Heat brought out the best in Nowitzki.
Video of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade angered Dirk Nowitzki
That wasn’t a hard task for Nowitzki, especially after James and Wade made fun of Nowitzki getting sick during the Finals. Video of James and Wade mocking Nowitzki — who played through a high fever in Game 4 — made Nowitzki even more motivated to finish off the Heat, according to Barea.
“When LeBron and Wade started making fun of him by coughing when he got a little sick ... that clip really hurt him. He will never say it, but he really saw the tape and that tape really hurt him. That gave him a little bit extra that he didn’t need, but it gave him a little extra to finish them off.”
All that hatred paid off. Despite being the underdogs, the Mavericks defeated the Heat in six games. Nowitzki got his ring, and was named the MVP of the series.
The Heat would eventually go on to win two championships with Bosh, James and Wade, but only after Nowitzki got the best of them.
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