The worst kept secret in the sports became official today as a dapper-looking Dirk Nowitzki received the MVP award at a packed press conference inside AAC. NBA commissioner David Stern presented the trophy, along with coach Avery Johnson and owner Mark Cuban.
Still hurting and disappointed from the early playoff exit, the ever-humble Dirk did allow himself a chance to enjoy the event. He flashed his smile, cracked us up with a couple one-liners and really seemed proud to be recognized as the best in the league this season.
“Dirk, you were the best player in the NBA this year,” Avery said. “Congratulations.”
Cuban’s eyes welled up as he talked about Dirk’s work ethic and commitment, and how far he’s come to be the player he is today. The two shared a hug before Dirk took the stand.
For the first time that I can remember, Dirk referred to himself as the franchise player. We all know he is the franchise and it’s been that way for several years, but to hear him say that really puts into perspective the sense of responsibility he has for the Mavericks.
“I want to be the one to take this franchise to the championship,” Dirk said.
He’s the first Maverick and first European so recognized, which can’t be overlooked. He’s the embodiment of the dream to make the NBA a global game. Stern called Dirk the “iconic elite athlete from Europe.”
He said it may take 20 or 30 years to fully appreciate being named MVP. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take that long. That’s just the hurt talking.
Dirk isn’t the first MVP to lose in the first round. He’s also not the first MVP without a title on his résumé. Just ask Charles Barkley and Karl Malone about that.
But unlike those guys, Dirk still has time.
The MVP voting results are as follows:
Player, Team 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th Total Points
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavs 83 39 7 -- -- 1138
Steve Nash, Suns 44 74 11 -- -- 1013
Kobe Bryant, Lakers 2 11 65 30 9 521
Tim Duncan, Spurs -- 3 25 39 23 286
LeBron James, Cavs -- -- 11 31 35 183
Tracy McGrady, Rockets -- 2 6 16 18 110