The picture says it all. OK, not all. I’ll say something more. I love Michael Finley. And I’m so happy today to know that he now owns an NBA Championship ring. More than Dirk and Nash, I’ve always liked Fin. I’ve always admired his humility and his attitude and his hustle. Nobody worked harder, nobody practiced longer, and nobody took it more personally when they lost than Finley. For as long as he was in Dallas, the Mavericks were his team. Maybe it’s because he was the best player during those years when the Mavs were the Tampa Bay DevilRays of the NBA. Maybe it’s his maturity and leadership skills. Maybe it’s that it was so obvious he was the only one for so long with any talent on that squad. He was just so intense. Dedicated. Passionate. He could score a double-double, but if the Mavs lost, he’d blame himself for not doing more. He could also go 2-20 with 10 turnovers and he’d still be one of the first ones in the lockerroom to answer questions and talk with us about his performance. I was calling for the Mavericks to cut him or trade him a year before they did. He was becoming more frequently injured, his injuries were taking longer to heal, and it was taking him longer and longer each time to find his shot. They needed to get younger and more athletic. And they did. And I’m glad. But I’ll always love Michael Finley. And I was so glad last night to see him get the ring. And he got it before Dirk and Nash.
I didn’t watch hardly any of the series. It’s been way too busy at church and at the house. But we all sat down and watched the 4th quarter of last night’s clincher. Whitney’s my sports buddy. She watches it all and eats it up. Valerie and Carley will only watch when they can sense it’s something important, when a “big trophy” is involved. At one point last night, when the Cavaliers’ crowd was chanting “Deee-fense! Deee-fense!” Carley asked me, “Are they saying Cheetos?” That’s what it’s like watching a game at our place.
Four titles in nine years. The Spurs are the oldest team in the NBA. How do they keep doing it? And why can’t the younger, more athletic, more talented Mavs do it? Concentration. Intensity. Passion. With 30-seconds to play and the game virtually over, there’s Manu Ginobili diving into the bench to save a ball off the baseline. Tim Duncan had done the same thing on the sideline a couple of possessions earlier when they had an eight-point lead. It was just the opposite of watching the Mavericks get outhustled and outefforted (I just made that word up) against Nellie’s Warriors. The Spurs are not my favorite team. I’m not a big Duncan or Popovich fan. But they play ball the right way.
Dad loves talking about the weather and gas prices. He’s the one who taught me the importance of having a rain gage in the backyard. He taught me how to throw a spiral, how to shoot a free throw, and how to hold a tennis racket. He taught me how to drive and how to change the oil in the car and the filter in the air conditioner. My dad taught me how to lead singing and how to pray. He showed me how to love my wife and how to care for my children by the selfless way he loved my mom and showered us kids with blessings. He faithfully studied the Bible with us every morning and night. I’m so thankful for my Father and for the legacy of his name and his faith that I diligently strive to uphold. I love you, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!
There are 76 days until football season. And #76 is Lou “The Toe” Groza, the best kicker to ever wear double-digits on his uni. He played for the Cleveland Browns from 1946 – 1967—a 21 year career during the time pro football was in the formative stages. He played in nine NFL championship games and won three. He’s still the all-time leading scorer in Browns history. He’s a pro football Hall of Famer. And it’s the Lou Groza Award that every year goes to the best kicker in college football. The Toe was the NFL’s first great kicker. And he’s our #76.
Finally, our coyote is still at-large. I saw her at 7:15 this morning crossing Mid-Cities Blvd coming onto church property near our sign. She likes to hang out in the amphitheater area on the west side of the building. I don’t think she’s there to pray.