Sportsquota: Dirk,D-Rose-MVPs



One is a no.1 draft pick barely shy of adolescence from the south side of Chicago who led his team to an impressive 62-20 record to become a no.1 seed in the 2011 NBA playoffs before losing to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. The other is a German import from a small town in Germany called Wurzburg who has represented his country on an international level before being drafted 9th overall in the 1998 NBA draft and after 13 seasons in the league led his team to their first NBA Championship title. The one thing these two have in common? Derrick Rose and Dirk Norwitzki are both 2011 NBA MVPs.

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Derrick Rose, 2011 NBA MVP
Derrick Rose is something like a phenomenon. The now 22 year old superstar first splashed onto the scene fresh from a 2008 NCAA Finals appearance as the top draft pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. Since beginning his career with the Chicago Bulls just three short seasons ago, he has managed to guide his team to securing to not only the best record in the league this past season at 62-20 but the first Eastern Conference Finals appearance since the Michael Jordan era. Blessed with speed, agility and the ability to create a shot not only for himself but for his teammates, Rose has already garnered Jordan comparisons. While there is only one Jordan, D-Rose, as he has so endearingly been labeled, stands poised to be mentioned in the conversation of NBA greats when his career is all said and done.

At the end of the 2010-11 season, the Derrick Rose led Bulls was riding on a wave of high hopes as the favorite to beat the hated Lebron led Miami Heat. Coming close to a genuine shot at an NBA Championship title and walking away empty handed was both mentally and physically draining for the league MVP. Playing off an injured wrist and back in conjunction with a left ankle sprain he suffered at the hands of battling the Indiana Pacers during the first round of the playoffs, the Chicago Bulls superstar was never at 100%. That is all behind him now. As the cumbersome NBA Lockout looms on, Rose’s popularity and determination to improve doesn’t seem to be waning. He racked up two ESPY nominations as Best NBA Player and Best Record Breaking Performance (Youngest Player to Win NBA MVP) and continues to condition in anticipation of donning his Bulls jersey for the 2011-12 season.

The Adidas spokesman averaged approximately 25 points, 4.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for the regular season and 27.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.7 assists in the post season.

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Dirk Norwitzki, 2011 NBA Finals MVP
His career began in a country 4,850 miles away in a region of the world that has become a breeding ground for Olympic medalists and NBA elite players. The then tall, lanky Dirk Norwitzki turned from handball and tennis to play basketball at his local DJK where he caught the attention of German international basketball player Holger Geschwindner. Geschwinder took young Dirk under his wing, helping him transform from a “freak” into a local “hero” yet he saw past his raw natural abilities and poised a question — “Do you want to play against the best in the world or remain a local hero in Germany.” Norwitzki chose the former and a future NBA champion was born.

It’s been a long road for the seven footer since he stood all smiles next to former Dallas Mavericks owner Donnie Nelson holding up his no.41 jersey on draft day.  Thirteen seasons, ten All-Star game appearances, eleven All-NBA nominations, seven European Player of the Year awards later, Dirk has finally claimed the ultimate prize many of his peers aspire to – the ever elusive and highly coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.  It did not come without hardship and heartache though. The Dallas Mavericks were so close they could taste victory back in 2006 when they made their first NBA Finals appearance only to be dismissed by their arch nemesis the Miami Heat after six grueling games.

Plagued with injuries and illness over the years including a torn tendon in his finger and the flu during the 2011 NBA Finals, one thing has remained consistent and that is Dirk’s stats.  Surrounded by a motley crew of aging superstars (Jason Kidd, 38; Jason Terry, 34; Tyson Chandler, 29) that have bailed him out on more than occasion when he couldn’t carry them on his broad shoulders.  Critics called him “soft”, a “finesse player” with no balls and questioned his leadership skills yet against all odds Norwitzki has taken on a trio of NBA superstars, a barrage of media naysayers in addition to mockery by peers and triumphed. Now with an NBA championship ring and a NBA Finals MVP (Dirk is the only European born player to clinch both accomplishments) his legacy has finally come full circle and that list of NBA MVPs without championships that includes Lebron – Dirk is off that.

The newly crowned NBA champion averaged 23 points, 7 rebounds and 2.6 assists this season and 26 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the post season.

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For more on Derrick Rose and Dirk Norwitzki, visit their official websites (Derrick Rose) (Dirk Norwitzki)

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