Dirk Nowitzki sings at championship parade [video]

Dirk did David Hasselhoff proud with his rendition of Queen’s “We Are the Champions.”

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Top 10 Plays & Dunks of NBA Finals

The top 10 plays…

…and the top 10 dunks…

LeBron clarifies post-Finals comments

Miami Heat’s LeBron James speaks during a media conference for the NBA Finals basketball series against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Texas June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL HEADSHOT)

After Game 6, LeBron had this to say about the people that were rooting against the Heat:

“All the people that was rooting on me to fail, at the end of the day they have to wake up tomorrow and have the same life that they had before they woke up today,” James said Sunday.

“They have the same personal problems they had today. I’m going to continue to live the way I want to live and continue to do the things that I want to do with me and my family and be happy with that. They can get a few days or a few months or whatever the case may be on being happy about not only myself, but the Miami Heat not accomplishing their goal, but they have to get back to the real world at some point.”

To many, that sounded like LeBron was playing the “I’m richer/better than you” card, so at the end of the day, if you found any joy in the Heat’s struggles, you still have to go on with your day-to-day life while LeBron goes back to being a multi-millionaire. It was a clear shot at the “haters,” and it’s somewhat understandable that LeBron would want to lash out after all the criticism he has taken over the past couple of weeks.

On Tuesday, LeBron clarified his statements.

“Basically I was saying at the end of the day this season is over and — with all hatred — everyone else has to move on with their lives, good or bad. I do too,” James said.

“It wasn’t saying I’m superior or better than anyone else, any man or woman on this planet, I’m not. I would never ever look at myself bigger than anyone who watched our game. It may have come off wrong but that wasn’t my intent.”

Of course he thinks he’s better than the average American, but I’d suspect that, deep down, most professional athletes feel that way.

What LeBron needs to understand is that he brought most of this criticism on himself. Had he announced his decision to sign with the Heat in the same way Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did, he wouldn’t have been under nearly as much scrutiny as he was this summer. We still hold “The Decision” against him because it was an ego trip that tore the heart out of the city of Cleveland on national television. He may have had good intentions, but those intentions don’t matter.

LeBron isn’t going to be able to move on until he accepts some responsibility for the hatred that is aimed his way. If he had come out and said that “The Decision” was a well-intentioned mistake and apologized to the city of Cleveland for the way he handled his announcement, it would go a long way in repairing his image.

Top 10 Assists of 2011 Finals [video]

There are some pretty sweet assists in this collection:

LeBron and Wade’s post-Game 6 press conference [video]

I had to laugh when LeBron said that he works hard on his game in the offseason because I sure can’t see the results on the court. Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant are notorious for going away in the offseason and coming back with a new killer move in their offensive arsenal — what move has LeBron developed over the last eight years? How is his game significantly different than when he entered the league at age 18? To me, this is his biggest issue as a player.

Anyway, the relationship between these Wade and LeBron has been one of the more interesting stories this season. Bill Simmons went so far as to suggest that the duo’s interaction towards the end of Game 3 may have sent LeBron into a tailspin.

Remember when Wade tore into LeBron with three-plus minutes remaining in Game 3? When he yelled at him for eight solid seconds? When there was genuine anger in his eyes? When he did it right on the court, right in front of the other players, right in front of 20,000 fans and 10 million TV viewers?

LeBron was never the same after that.

When was the last time anyone ever really yelled at LeBron James? You’d have to go back to high school, right? He just spent the past 10 years being coddled by everyone (teammates, coaches, agents, entourage members, yes-men, general managers, owners, media members, etc.). Imagine he was a little kid (which really, he might be to some degree), and imagine you were his father and didn’t believe in yelling at your kids. Now, imagine your kid screwed up in his second-grade play and, for whatever reason, you broke character, snapped, and berated him for eight seconds in front of everyone. How would he handle that? Poorly, right? He’d pretend it didn’t affect him, but the more he thought about it, it would gnaw away at him (especially once his buddies said, “I can’t believe your dad yelled at you like that”).

Could that have been what happened to LeBron? Did those eight seconds shake his confidence beyond repair? Did he resent Wade for embarrassing him? Did he think to himself, “Fine, you want to act like this is your team, then YOU win this title?”

Wade was angry that LeBron threw the ball to Chalmers in the corner and after Chalmers eventually turned the ball over, Wade let LeBron hear about it. This is not how most of us would react if a friend lit into us, but LeBron’s expression was telling. He was frustrated with the situation and didn’t seem like he appreciated getting chewed out by Wade in the middle of the game.

Only he knows how much that exchange affected his game.

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