Of all the big storylines heading into this year's NBA Finals, the biggest boils down to the superstars. Which player needs to win a ring more, LeBron or Dirk?
I say it's Nowitzki. He turns 33 in a few weeks and this will likely be his final chance at leading a team to a title. If Dirk's career ended today, he would be a top 30 player all-time, in the same class as greats such as Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley. Since none of those guys won any rings during their careers, a championship would propel Nowitzki into legendary status — perhaps into one of the top 20 players of all time.
Don't get me wrong, it's championship or bust for King James and the Heat this season. Anything less will be considered a disappointment. James has lost a lot of fans since joining Miami, and those people will be looking for any excuse to criticize him. But remember, LeBron is just 26, and he'll have plenty of chances to win in the future. His legacy won't depend on whether or not he wins the championship this season.
So which team will win? I'm going with Dallas. Not only is Nowitzki playing at an incredible level, but he will be looking for payback since the Heat defeated the Mavs in the 2006 Finals. Dallas also has a stronger supporting cast — Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and JJ Barea are all capable of making big plays. Miami has two of the NBA's best players, is jelling at the right time, and has homecourt advantage, but Dallas is a terrific road team and should be able to steal a game or two in South Beach.
Prediction: Mavs in 6.
What do you think? Which team will win the championship? Which superstar needs it more? Tell us what you think in the comments!