Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The long wait is over.

The Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat in convincing fashion to become this year's NBA champions. While it is not one of the greatest upsets in sports history, the Heat definitely looked better on paper. Their three stars, LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, are all in their seventh seasons playing, which would put them in their prime. The stars of the Mavericks were all at least ten year veterans and their starting point guard and playmaker Jason Kidd was in his 16th season and 38 years old, making him one of the oldest players in the league currently.

By winning, this gives Kidd his first championship in his long career, almost all of it as a starter, ten times on the NBA All-Star team. By an odd coincidence, if the Heat had won it would have been the first championship ring for Juwan Howard, also in his 16th year and also 38, but Howard is now a bench warmer and not considered a major factor.

Another famous All-Star in his sport who waited a very long time for his first championship was John Elway. He had been in the league 15 years before his Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl, and just to show it wasn't a fluke, they repeated the next year in his 16th season, after which he retired.

Unlike the other players on this list, Elway played for the same team his entire career.

But the longest wait for a championship I've heard of, and a tip of the hat to my friend Art Velasquez for remembering it, is hockey's Ray Borque. Widely recognized as one of the greatest defensemen ever to play the game, Borque played twenty one seasons for the Boston Bruins, was traded to the Colorado Avalanche late in the 2000 season, then helped the Avalanche win the cup in 2001, the culmination of his 22nd and final season.

Congratulations to Jason Kidd, who is a Northern California product by the way (St. Joseph's High School in Alameda, college at Cal), for joining this remarkable list of persistent and talented athletes.

1 comment:

dguzman said...

Just a tad disappointed not to see the FINALLY! tag on Brett Hull's Cup win with the Stars, sir. But then, you're not a Dallas homer like I am....