The Dallas Mavericks earned a spot in the NBA Finals Wednesday night with their 100-96 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, which means once the Heat finally put the Chicago Bulls out of their misery tonight, all that stands between Miami and a national title is a shaggy, horse-toothed German and his band of merry pranksters.
While plenty is going to be written about the intricacies of the 2006 rematch, Riptide feels a broader analysis is in order: Both sides can make informed arguments for the superiority of their squad, but there is almost no evidence to suggest that Dallas, as a city, does not suck. We humbly present the evidence forthwith.
1. Dallas is fat. One of the fattest cities in America, according to the annual (and surprisingly scientific) Men's Health ranking of 100 American cities. Dallas is one of eight cities that got a failing grade. (Miami got a B+.) At least all that Texas barbecue gives Tony Romo an excuse for that choking problem of his.
2. The second-most famous Heatle is Dwyane Wade. The second-most famous Maverick is John McCain. Does anyone care about a Mavs player who isn't Dirk Nowitzki? The only time we hear about anyone else on that team is when they do something good by accident, and even then they get 8 seconds on SportsCenter before another three months of setting picks and watching Dirk do all the work. Jason Kidd is celebrating his 400th birthday next year; maybe then he'll get some press. (And yes, I know Shawn Marion finally gets to go to the finals. But if Google is to be trusted, he doesn't even get close to Dirk's notoriety.)
3. Dallas is in Texas. There's no need to go too deeply into why this is a terrible state in which to situate your city, but, in this month alone, Rep.
Paul Ryan Ron Paul said he wouldn't have supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the state legislature passed a bill many feel disenfranchises poor people, and the state was so itchy to execute a guy that when they ran out of a lethal injection drug, they just swapped in a different one usually used to euthanize dogs.
4. In Miami, standing in sand indicates you're near the ocean, attractive people and a good time. In Dallas, standing in sand indicates you're near a vast, unforgiving desert with murderous Mexican drug lords on one side and Wichita, Kansas on the other. Oh, and don't forget the sledgehammer murderers.
5. The music doesn't lie. There doesn't appear to have ever been a positive song written about Dallas, though slide guitar dynamo Johnny Winter painted an exquisite portrait of the place in his 1969 self-titled album: "Goin' back to Dallas, bring my razor and my gun ... There's so much shit in Texas, I'm bound to step in some." There are plenty of other songs, but you get the idea. Plus, the good ones talk about JFK, which seems a bit rude to cite in an article about some people playing a ball game on television. (Though nobody's ever killed a sitting president in Miami. Bonus.) Meanwhile, Miami is universally adored by musicians -- even the professionally mopey Counting Crows seem to have a certain nostalgia for the area, to say nothing of Big Willie Style.
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It's going to be a great series, and it gives the Heat a chance to win a ring untarnished by the controversy surrounding game 5 of the 2006 finals, in which Mavs fans and owner Mark Cuban pitched a fit over a (shitty) call in overtime and then acted like it was a couple of Dwyane Wade foul shots that cost them the title instead of the fact that they dropped four consecutive games to the Heat. The smart money, though, gets put on the chronically myopic Bennett Salvatore not being allowed anywhere near this one.
Regardless of what happens over the next few weeks and who brings home that weird, clunky Larry O'Brien Trophy, the Heat will come home to a richly cultural metropolis, while the Mavericks go home to... well, somewhere else.
Now all we have to do is beat the Bulls.