Here are some of the post-game reactions following Sunday night's 105-95 victory by the Dallas Mavericks over the Miami Heat in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, giving Dallas its first-ever NBA title.
Series MVP Dirk Nowitzki
Q. Dirk, you can be honest with us now, is this any sweeter because you got it done in Miami?
DIRK NOWITZKI: Oh, man, I don't know. I mean, obviously that was one of my most disappointing losses in my career, to lose the Final series after being up 2-0. It took so long just to get here. I don't really know if it would have made a difference. Just this feeling to be on the best team of the world is just undescribable.
Q. Dirk, you know that the greatest players are defined by championships. Do you feel like that monkey is finally off your back?
DIRK NOWITZKI: I don't really think that way right now. If you're in this league for 13 years of just battling and playoffs last basically ten years, 11 years, and always coming up a little short. That's why this is extra special.
If I would have won one early in my career, maybe I would have never put all the work and the time in that I have over the last 13 years. So this feels amazing.
I'm happy for Kidd. What a warrior he is at 38, chasing the most athletic players in this league out there and doing a great job on him, and also leading our squad. He's been in this league forever and had two chances. Just an unbelievable team. I said it all season long. We had great chemistry with the guys. We had fun in the locker room, on the buses and stuff. So this is a special group. We're world champions. It sounds unbelievable.
Q. Mr. Kidd, you've been on a few teams for a few years in this league. What set this one apart and enabled it to win a championship?
JASON KIDD: I think adversity. We got off to a great start at the beginning of the season. Dirk was playing, if not at an MVP-type season, and then we lose Caron and Dirk. And so everybody wrote us off but ourselves. I think going through that period where we lost six in a row and looked at each other and said we got to find a way, because those two aren't coming back anytime soon. Guys stepped up, and we turned it around.
I think just going through the journey of those injuries made us a better team, because we had to do a lineup change, and then we did the lineup change during The Finals. And we didn't skip a beat. We just kept playing. That just shows the character of this team. No matter how old you are, we understood how to play the game, by passing the ball and making sure that we didn't take shots where three or four guys are on you. We just made the extra pass. We didn't care who put the ball in the basket.
Q. You've accomplished so much in your career. Talk about finally adding that championship to all of the great individual things that you've done.
JASON KIDD: Man, it's a dream come true. It's not real right now, because just the battles against the Heat and understanding the journey, it's been a long journey for 17 years. I thought I had an opportunity in '03 to win a championship, and I was on the other end; we lost to the Spurs.
My teammates, their character and their will to come every day and work to get better, they deserve all the credit. And so I'm just happy to be at the right place at the right time.
Q. Considering all that you went through this past summer and all the effort you made to get here to specifically win a championship, what are your emotions losing The Finals now?
LeBRON JAMES: It hurts of course. I'm not going to hang my head low. I know how much work as a team we put into it. I know how much work individually that I've put into it, when you guys are not around. That's something people don't see. I think you can never hang your head low when you know how much work, how much dedication you put into the game of basketball when the lights are off and the cameras are not on.
Q. Does it bother you that so many people are happy to see you fail?
LeBRON JAMES: Absolutely not. Because at the end of the day, 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. 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.
Dallas coach Rick Carlisle
This is a special team. This is the most special team that I've ever been around, because it's not about what you can't do; it's about what you can do. It's not about what your potential short-comings are; it's what we could accomplish as a group together. And it was just phenomenal to be around them. In my third year, I've learned so much from these guys. Especially Jason Kidd. His view of the game is so different, and he's savant-like. He's just been a thrill and a privilege to spend time with him.
I don't think there's any doubt after this series that Dirk has certainly earned the clout of being one of the all-time great players. His versatility, how he's done it in the clutch. He goes 1-for-12 in the first half, and then in the second half he was just absolute money.
Q. Do you think you set an example maybe that other teams can follow or are the attributes and adjectives you described this team so rare that maybe we won't see another Dallas Mavericks?
COACH RICK CARLISLE: This is one of the really unique teams. This is my opinion now. This is one of the unique teams in NBA history. Because it wasn't about high-flying star power. Come on, how often do we have to hear about the LeBron James reality show and what he is or isn't doing? When are people going to talk about the purity of our game and what these guys accomplished? That's what's special. And I played with Larry Bird, I played with Bill Walton, I played with Robert Parish, I played with Dennis Johnson. I played with the all-time greats. And Dirk is up there with that upper, upper echelon of great players.
He's arguably the most unique players in the history of the game. Because there's never been a seven-foot player that has developed his skill and his resourcefulness for being able to find ways to score. And he's also a very underrated defensive player. When he wasn't on the floor, our defense suffered as well.
I'm so proud of what our team stood for. I kept having people come up to me the last three or four days, "Hey, there's billions of people rooting for you guys. There's billions of people rooting for you guys." And we could feel it. We could feel it. We knew it was very important that we won this series for those reasons. Because of what the game is about, and what the game should stand for. And I'm so, so proud to be a small part of that.