The potential subplots are plentiful leading up to Game 1 of the NBA Finals Tuesday night pitting Dallas against Miami. LeBron James vs. Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade vs. Jason Kidd, the league’s best postseason offense vs. what’s been its best defense… Jay-Z vs. Soulja Boy.
Prospects of the latter faceoff come courtesy of the long running feud between Heat star James and the Mavs’ DeShawn Stevenson. Back in ‘08 when James was still playing with Cleveland and Stevenson was lacing up for the Washington Wizards, the two bumped heads during a first-round playoff matchup eventually won by the Cavs that was ignited when Stevenson labeled James was “overrated.”
Push soon came to shove, and before long both men were bringing in the heavy artillery. LeBron answered by retorting “responding to Stevenson would be like Jay Z responding to Soulja Boy” and soon Jay was confirming that way of thinking in song. “When you talkin to a don, please have respect like you talkin to your mom,” Jay waxed in his diss recording ‘Blow The Whistle.’
It was enough to prompt Stevenson to do the only thing any self-respecting baller would do… reach out to Soulja Boy. Before Game 3 in D.C., Stevenson was introduced to Soulja Boy’s “Crank Dat,” and ended the night with his best game of the series (five three pointers) under his belt.
“I don’t think he forgot,” says Stevenson. “It’s still there, but it was with my old team. I think it’s pretty much over. It’s a different team, different type of situation. But sometimes people don’t forget things and it can spur them on to new actions.”
With an NBA championship so close and on the line this time around, one would think no such added motivation will be needed.
“I think he already is fired up,” says Stevenson. “I think he’s worried about winning a championship, and so are we. It’s not about me and him. It’s about going out there and playing and bringing home a ring.”
And yet, Stevenson couldn’t resist the urge to take at least one more shot: “He’s an MVP-type of player, but I’m not worried about that,” he said. Alluding to Nowitzki, he added, “I’d rather have my teammate.”
Let the games begin. ---Glenn Minnis