The 2011 NBA Finals was one of the most satisfying events for people who don't think too highly of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. James and Miami Heat were favourites going into the Finals series against the Dallas Mavericks but were beaten 4-2.
The win was particularly significant for Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, with his teammate JJ Barea claiming he hated the Heat duo James and Dwayne Wade during the 2011 season.
Speaking on the JJ Redick's ‘The Old Man And The Three’ podcast, Barea said, “He was not going to let us lose. The way he prepared the whole year for it. He hated Miami, he hated LeBron, Wade, Bosh.”
“He’s never going to say that, but he couldn’t stand it. He got ready for it, and that year, he don’t talk much. Dirk, if you know him, he leads by example. He don’t lead by talking, but that year in timeouts, and that year before the games, at halftime, he would talk, and he would talk loud, and he’ll point fingers, and he was on one,” Barea added.
Nowitzki reportedly played through a fever, with Barea claiming that James and Wade mocked him for apparently believing he was faking it.
“But when LeBron and Wade started making fun of him by coughing when he got a little sick…that clip really hurt him. He will never say it, but he really saw the tape, and that tape really hurt him, and that gave him a little bit extra that he didn’t need, but it gave him a little extra to finish them off,” Barea said.