American Airlines Center

Blaine Clamon took this picture outside the American Airlines Center after the parade and championship celebration on June 16, 2011 when the Dallas Mavericks won their first NBA title over the Miami Heat in six games, avenging their 2006 NBA Finals loss.

I can’t believe it’s been eight years now since the Dallas Mavericks ended DFW’s twelve-year championship drought.

It is the seventh professional championship in the Metroplex, joining the Cowboys’ five Super Bowls and the Stars’ Stanley Cup.

In their first NBA Finals appearance in 2006, the Mavs had a 2-0 series lead before the Miami Heat rallied back to win four straight to win their first championship as Dwayne Wade took Finals MVP honors and hall-of-famer Shaquille O’Neal played by his side.

It only took half a decade for Dallas to get their revenge as they took on the Heat in a rematch of ‘06 and won it in six games on the Heat’s home court, much like they did to us.

This was the first season of the “Big 3” era in Miami where Wade was joined by Chris Bosh and LeBron James and they won two championships in four years.

It was the summer before my senior year of high school and it was one of the happiest memories of my life. This was eight months after the Rangers won their first American League pennant and four months before they clinched their second straight trip to the World Series.

To finally watch and remember a championship is something I will never forget. I was a toddler when the Cowboys won their last two Super Bowls and was five when the Stars hoisted the Stanley Cup.

The Mavs were led by their dynamic trio of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd and Jason “Jet” Terry.

It was a team of role-players that included Shawn Marion, JJ Barea, Peja Stojakovic, Ian Mahinmi, DeShawn Stevenson, Corey Brewer, Brendan Haywood and Tyson Chandler.

When the final buzzer sounded in Game 6 with the final score being 105-95, me and my family were in the living room and I hugged my brothers as we watched Dirk hoist the trophy.

The pictures of him and owner Mark Cuban smoking cigars on the flight home with the Larry O’Brien Trophy is still iconic.

After the parade, thousands of the Maverick faithful showed up at the American Airlines Center as Dirk and the entire team belted out Queen’s “We Are  the Champions.”

Me and my family attended the post-parade celebration inside the arena where there was not a single empty seat as the entire team and coaching staff were all introduced one-by-one.

With Dirk’s birthday being a few days away, the entire venue sang “Happy Birthday” to the Big German, who is now retired and just celebrated his 41st birthday.

2011 still remains an unforgetable sports year with the Mavs’ championship and the Rangers’ two AL pennants. But being part of the Mavs’ title run as a fan was truly magical.

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