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Bill Russell: Basketball's greatest ambassador

bill_russell1Sport is all about reaching pinnacles following a long, arduous journey peppered with moments of glory. Its artists are filled with innocence as they embark on their careers, with a simplistic view of enjoying their beloved game rather than collecting trophies. But then every sport is also blessed with compulsive winners (players partaking in the trophy collection business). The likes of Pele, Muhammad Ali, Jack Nicklaus, Wayne Gretzky and Pete Sampras all stand as irreplaceable pillars in their respective sport, leaving indelible marks during long illustrious careers. Basketball has its share of giants too, from Wilt Chamberlain to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson to Michael Jordan. Jordan was clearly the game's biggest showman, elevating the sport to unimaginable levels. But when it comes down to trophy collection, there is no one in the same strata as Bill Russell.

The most successful athlete in a North American League accumulated a mind-boggling 11 NBA titles in a span of 13 years with the Boston Celtics. Russell was the star of Red Auerbach 's Boston Celtics reign in the 60s and eventually went on to win two titles as a player-manager. Russell's life began in inauspicious surroundings as he grew up in the midst of black poverty at the height of the segregation in America in the 50s. He began his professional career in San Francisco after moving from the American South due to rabid racism. He was never possessed with natural ability and was always derided for his unorthodox technique. He was ignored by most colleges until the University of San Francisco (USF) gave him an unlikely scholarship. He thus became a part of the 1st major college team to play three African-American players as he accompanied K.C.Jones & Hal Perry through two glorious seasons.

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Dallas Mavericks crowned NBA Champions

dirk_kiddFirst Title. First NBA champion. History was created Sunday night and the Mavs and the city of Dallas can now finally feel like conquerors. Avenging what happened five years ago in perfect turnabout style, the Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA title by winning Game 6 of these finals in Miami 105-95 on Sunday night - celebrating on the Heat's home floor, just as Dwyane Wade and his team did to them in the 2006 title series. The Mavericks won four of the series' last five games, a turnabout that could not have been sweeter.

For Dirk Nowitzki, the resume is complete. He's an NBA champion. "It took so long for us to get here. I don't really know if it would have made a difference [winning in Miami]. Just this feeling to be on the best team of the world is just undescribable."

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NBA Finals: Dallas win Game 5 to seize control with 3 - 2 series lead

dirk_nowitzki3The NBA Finals just gave us another twist in the plot as the Dallas Mavericks took the lead in the best of seven series for the first time. The Mavs hosted Game 5 at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas and managed to trump Miami 112 – 103 thanks to all round performances from the starters as well as the bench. It was a rare offensively strong performance from both teams in this series with the teams scoring over 50% from the field. The Mavs go up 3 – 2 in this excruciatingly close series between two teams battling like their life depended on it.

Dallas were led by the German Giant Dirk Nowitzki who shot 29 points on the night with Jason Terry having a mammoth 21 point game from the bench to add potency to the team's offense. The hosts were stronger from the field as well as from the arc 56% and 68% in comparison to Miami's 52% and 40% respectively. The visitors were led by Dwayne Wade who is having an unusually awesome series in this year's playoffs. Wade shot 23 points on the night despite missing a chunk of the game with sore hip thanks to a nasty first quarter collision.

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