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Dirk Nowitizki Doesn't Hate Much, but Says Miami Heat 'As Close as It Gets'

Dec 25, 2011; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Mavericks power forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) reacts after being called for fouling Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) during the fourth quarter at the American Airlines Center. The Heat defeated the Mavericks 105-94. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistJune 28, 2013

Dirk Nowitzki is a pretty mellow guy, which makes his recent admission that he's not especially fond of the Miami Heat worth noting. But given the history between Nowitzki and the Heat, his feelings aren't particularly surprising.

According to Tim McMahon of ESPN, the Dallas Mavericks' future Hall of Famer told "Fitzsimmons and Durrett" of ESPN 103.3 about his feelings on the Heat: "In life, I don't really hate much...I'm an easygoing guy, but that's probably about as close as it gets."

McMahon points out that Nowitzki's ire (if it's even fair to call it that) could have been sparked by the fact that both Erik Spoelstra and Dwyane Wade called the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs "the toughest series that we've ever been in."

Apparently, D-Wade and his coach forgot about the 2011 NBA Finals, in which Nowitzki's Mavs beat the Heat to win the title.

You'll recall that Miami players ribbed Nowitzki for complaining of a cold during those 2011 finals, a sleight that the big man avenged by winning a ring, but perhaps one that he hasn't forgotten.

Dirk got even in more ways than one in the aftermath of "Coldgate," though, as he personally took it to the Heat in the last playoff series in which these two teams met.

It's easy to forget how dominant he was in the 2011 finals, but consider this: When Roy Hibbert was wearing out Miami in the Eastern Conference Finals this past season, he was merely playing up to the elite level that Nowitzki had already established.

With a summer to recover after a relatively poor season and the possibility of adding Dwight Howard to the mix, Nowitzki could have a good chance to act on his feelings next year in the finals. After falling to the Heat in 2006 and dealing with them again in 2011, another championship clash would represent the rubber match between Miami and Dallas.

Maybe another finals victory over the Heat would help Dirk to chill out.

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