Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Promised Land?

Here in Dallas, Texas, there is a sense of inevitability settling in after last night's astonishing come–from–behind triumph over Oklahoma City in the NBA Western Conference finals.

The Christian Science Monitor called it "one of the most jaw–dropping comebacks in NBA history."

That may be true. I've seen some pretty amazing comebacks in my life, but nothing to compare with what happened about 200 miles north of here last night.

I'm not an NBA fan, but I will admit that I have been watching more lately. However, I had given the game up for lost. I left my TV on and went about some other things in my apartment. I could monitor the game, but, having conceded defeat, I didn't feel I needed to sit and watch it.

I changed my mind a few minutes later.

Down by 15 points with about five minutes to play, the Mavericks doggedly chipped away at the upstarts from OKC, forced the game into overtime and, as Eddie Sefko writes in the Dallas Morning News, never trailed in overtime (after never leading during regulation).

When the Mavericks returned to Dallas early this morning, a couple hundred people were on hand to meet them.

Today the giddiness and disbelief from last night seems to be morphing into supreme confidence, even cockiness. Sure, I heard one man say, there have been teams that have come back from a 3–1 deficit but not many.

Not many, but some. To pull that one off, it seems to me that a team has to be loaded with playoff veterans with the discipline and the concentration to remain focused on the task at hand.

I have my doubts that Oklahoma City can do that.

But as my friend who used to cover horse racing during our mutual Arkansas Gazette days like to say, there is no such thing as a sure thing.

It could happen. It isn't likely, but it could happen.

However, I will assume that the Mavericks — who would have to lose at home not once but twice for the Thunder to leapfrog them into the NBA Finals — will face either Miami or Chicago for the NBA title.

That would mean that the Dallas area will have hosted
  • the World Series

  • the Super Bowl and

  • the NBA Finals
within a single calendar year.

As far as I know, that would be a first.

Mind you, I'm not talking about cities that had teams that participated in three major professional sports championships within a calendar year.

(I think New York came close to that when the Jets played in the Super Bowl in January 1969, the Mets played in the World Series that autumn and the Knicks played in the NBA Finals in the spring of 1970. Technically, that exceeded a calendar year, but New York did win all three.)

The site of the Super Bowl is decided years ahead of time. It has been played annually for 45 years, and, while it is not the NFL's explicit policy to prohibit cities without NFL teams from hosting Super Bowls, no city without an NFL franchise has ever hosted one.

And no host city's team has ever played in one.

For awhile, folks around here figured the Cowboys would be the team to change that. It didn't happen. Instead, two of the Cowboys' old postseason rivals met in the Super Bowl in February.

But it was played here in Dallas. In October, the Texas Rangers brought the World Series here for the first time — and now it appears the NBA Finals will be played here, too.

I think that's a first.

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