How Did The Dallas Mavericks Beat The Miami Heat? In A Word – Leadership!

The “failure” or “demise” of the Miami Heat, and specifically LeBron James, have fascinated us more than the brilliance of the Dallas Mavericks and specifically Dirk Nowitzki.  Within 1 hour of the completion of Game 6 of the NBA finals, this website received 119 hits on posts written about James.  During the same time period, posts about Nowitzki received 3 hits.  This is unfortunate.

Leadership by its very definition is influence.  Contrary to current opinion, LeBron and Dwyane Wade are leaders.  They have a tremendous amount of influence.  It’s just that they did not show the quality leadership skills during the NBA finals that they did earlier in the play-offs. 

Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks are being described as a team with one superstar and several good players.  That description is too limited.  The Dallas Mavericks are a team stocked full of GREAT LEADERS.  Let me explain:

  • Owner Mark Cuban – In today’s USA Today, his passion for the game “makes his players unceasingly loyal to him.”  Nowitzki says, “I give Mark a lot of credit.  He’s stuck with me through thick and thin…Always tried to spend money and make this organization better.  Mark’s the best.”
  • Head Coach Rick Carlisle – When two equally talented teams compete, the difference is leadership.  Carlisle clearly outcoached Miami coach Erik Spoelstra.  He made several adjustments throughout the series to give the Mavs an edge.  He began starting J.J Barea in Game 4 to increase the pressure placed on the Heat’s defense.  He moved DeShawn Stevenson to a reserve role where he could be a 3-point shooter off the bench.  He benched Peja Stojakovic and began playing Brian Cardinal.  Carlisle says, “You don’t do this without players.  And you don’t do it without special players.”
  • Assistant Coach Dwayne Casey – Casey was the architect of the Mavs’ zone defense that continually stifled the Heat in the 4th quarter.  The zone allows your team to play to its strengths while minimizing your weaknesses.  Mark Jackson says, “I’m zoning to give myself the best chance to win.  It allows you to play a better offensive team without having to play your best defensive team.”
  • Jason Kidd – Kidd is the oldest starting point guard in NBA finals history at 38.  His experience allows him to call most of the team’s plays during the rhythm and flow of the game.  His experience also limits mistakes and missed opportunities.  Tyson Chandler notes in the June 6th Sports Illustrated, “He’s the one who keeps us under control, who makes sure we keep our head.”  Kidd makes his teammates better.  Chandler adds, “Sometimes Jason hits you in a place where you don’t think you can make a play, but he knows you can.”
  • Tyson Chandler – Chandler, acquired from the Charlotte Bobcats in the off-season, became the team’s emotional leader.
  • Jason Terry – The NBA’s best sixth man shows unselfishness by willingly sacrificing for the good of the team by coming off the bench.
  • And finally Dirk Nowitzki – Strong organizations happen when your best player is also your hardest worker.  To learn more about the leadership of Nowitzki, click The Leadership of Dirk Nowitski: 11 Quotes and Principles All Leaders Can Learn From.

If you are looking to model your team, staff, or company after a successful organization, look at the Dallas Mavericks.  The key is to build a unit stocked full of talented leaders.  LeBron and D-Wade will win their title(s), but only after their leadership skills improve.

To make your voice heard as a leader, click The Leadership Tribe link.

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About Brian Dodd on Leadership

I am a church stewardship and leadership consultant for INJOY Stewardship Solutions. This blog combines my personal passions of church, sports, pop culture and family into a single leadership resource. I trust your time on this site will create conversations and add value to your life.


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