What matters is, at the close of this season, DeShawn Stevenson has one NBA championship ring, and LeBron has none. And this fact is one of the many reasons why sports are awesome.
One of the craziest players in the NBA (so therefore, one of the craziest people on the planet) joined a whole bunch of "guys who couldn't win" and took down the big, bad bully. This isn't a Disnified movie, this is real life, and it is much more entertaining. It has heroes, villians, foreshadowing and plot twists. Yes, the big story is about Dirk's rise, the Big 3's fall, but often times the most interesting characters are those is the supporting role, and DeShawn's improbable victory over LeBron was the most compelling to me (of course I'm fucking crazy).
We forget, now that everyone in America has spent the last year shitting on LeBron (truthfully, the Mavs were better supported than any team in the history of sports, more so than even the Miracle on Ice US hockey team that was playing the Goddamn Commies) that he wasn't always hated, as back in 2008 Bron was the savior of Ohio and we were all WITNESSES.
Only a select group of people had any beef with LeBron; the fine folks of Washington D.C., whose Wizards were defeated by LeBron two previous times in the playoff series that included controversial circumstances (an uncalled travel on Bron and LBJ shit-talking Gilbert before free throws), and destined to be eliminated by the Brons for the third straight season. They needed a voice for their frustration, and they found one, in DeShawn.
Mr. Stevenson had the audacity to say that he didn't like LeBron and found him "Overrated," you know, because he still hadn't won shit. This opinion, at the time, caused much controversy and ridicule for DeShawn. The popular opinion was "Who the fuck is this idiot talking shit to LeBron, question the patron Saint of Basketball?"
And on paper, that is how this "rivalry" appeared, King James vs. The Bust. DeShawn and LeBron had both followed similar paths to the NBA, as high school phenoms plunged straight to the league. Then, their paths diverged: DeShawn was drafted by Utah, forced to toil under the curmudgeon Jerry Sloan, dealt with a number of legal issues and injuries, never reaching his potential to be a star. But a surprsing thing happened, instead of flaming out like almost every other troubled phenom, DeShawn evolved, becoming a strong defender and long-range specialist.
So it is natural that he might feel some bitterness towards Bron due to his success and hype, especially after some crushing defeats.
Instead of letting the storm from DeShawn's comments blow over, LeBron's hubris got the best of him, as he alluded to DeShawn as Soulja Boy and himself as Jay-Z. This sparked off a series of silly media battles, that resulted in Soulja Boy attending a game during the 2008 series and then Jay-Z recording a diss specifically aimed at DeShawn.
High comedy and entertainment ensued. The Wizards lost and Bron got what appeared to be the last laugh, as sadly, it appeared that the rivalry would die an early death. The Wizards imploded due to Gilbert Arenas' gimpy knee and gunplay, shipping Caron Butler, Brended Haywood to the Mavs, tossing an injured DeShawn in more for contract reasons. Then LeBron eviscerated Cleveland with the decision, and the odds of another D-Steve/Bron playoff battle seemed impossible.
While we breathlessly followed every movement of LeBron's scripted life and if he could fit in with the other superstars, only passing interest was paid to the real Dos Eqius man of the NBA; DeShawn.
Somehow, the man that has multiple facial tattoos (including the Pirates logo backwards so that it looks correct in the mirror), that has an Abe Lincoln tattoo on his neck that is pierced, that has a neck piercing that also goes through the neck of Lincoln (naturally), that celebrated every 3-pointer with an homage to doing massive amounts of cocaine, that nicknamed himself the Locksmith, Poppa Smurf and Mr. 50, that once bet Gilbert Arenas $20,000 on a shooting contest, that once etc. etc. etc...
Somehow, that man had little trouble earning the respect of his teammates in Dallas and fitting into a winning team. Meanwhile, the greatest weapon in basketball history never quite figured how to coexist with a couple of other great players.
When the two met in the finals, both tried to downplay the rivalry, but it came out again, after Stevenson outscored Bron-Bron in game 4 and then said LBJ "checked out."
In the Finals it was obvious King James failed to live up to his potential. DeShawn was a clutch, with his multiple personalities merging perfectly. "The Locksmith" getting in people's grill, contesting shots and generally creating mischief; and "Mr. 50" hitting over 50% of his shots from 3-point range (13-23) and gesturing wildly.
On a team full of nice guys (Dirk, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry), DeShawn was the wild card, bringing the toughness (along with Tyson Chandler, Brenden Haywood and ironically Brian Cardinal) that was missing from the 2006 Mavericks squad.
While he may not be the conventional good guy, this picture makes it pretty clear where he ranks in the Mavericks organization.
*I can only assume Cubes is yelling "The Nuggets fucking blow," since those were the word he used while grabbing Arab Money's and my shoulders in a similar fashion.
**DeShawn and I are basically bros now, since I hang with Cuban and he does too, right?