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Tuesday, June 28, 2011
How will we remember June 2011?

ESPN.com

LeBron James
When remembering June 2011, LeBron James falling short in the Finals will always be a big storyline.

On Monday, we put the 2010-11 season in proper perspective. Today, we focus only on this month's events. Between the Finals, the draft, the ongoing labor talks and one man's name change, how will we remember June 2011? Let's go 5-on-5:


1. How should June 2011 be remembered?


A. Mavs win first NBA title
B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals
C. 2011 NBA draft class arrives
D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement
E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace
F. Write your own five-word headline

Beckley Mason, Hoopspeak: F. LeBron crumbles. Haters, doubters rejoice. It's too bad for Dallas that its accomplishment won't receive its due admiration, but there's an NBA champion every year. When was the last time a single athlete who has never cheated or committed a crime elicited this much vitriol? Say his race isn't a factor, but no athlete has been so reviled.

Rashad Mobley, Truth About It: A. Mavs win first NBA title. June 2011 should mostly be remembered for the Mavericks' title, which led to Dirk Nowitzki's emergence after five years of Dwyane Wade and Miami Heat-influenced misery. I prefer to be naive and focus on that feel-good story rather than Miami's malaise, the dreadful draft and the looming lockout.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: A. Mavs win first NBA title. The triumph of the Mavericks should be this month's calling card, highlighted by Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd's first title. There's no way a subpar draft class (Jan Vesely notwithstanding), an unsettling work stoppage, more buffoonery by Ron Artest or contempt for the Heat should unseat that as the marquee memory.

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold: A. Mavs win first NBA title. The crowned champions deserve our praise and to live on as the top story of the season. The Mavs went through the toughest path imaginable and were considered underdogs in three of their four postseason matchups. By the end of each of their series, their opponent looked confused and utterly defeated. Their run was simply spectacular.

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: A. Mavs win first NBA title. I don't see how you can dispute this. A franchise bags its first championship with people such as Mark Cuban, Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd all having "NBA champion" attached to their names. If you don't remember June 2011 as the month the Mavs took the title, well, you must be named LeBron James.


2. How will June 2011 be remembered?


A. Mavs win first NBA title
B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals
C. 2011 NBA draft class arrives
D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement
E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace
F. Write your own five-word headline

Beckley Mason, Hoopspeak F. LeBron proves he isn't Jordan. And we found out without a DNA test! Doubters had long suspected LeBron James was in fact a different human being than Michael Jordan. Not only did appearance and playing style indicate such, but he moved to Miami to play with Not Mo Williams. Now we know for sure: Whatever LeBron is, he's only a man.

Rashad Mobley, Truth About It: F. Turning point in LeBron's career. I fully expect him to listen carefully to the criticism about his lack of aggressiveness in crunch time, and his subpar low-post game, and come back next season with a vengeance. And in every interview he gives, James will reference June 2011 as his motivation for greatness.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals. Unfortunate as it is, people will remember LeBron's shortcomings until he manages to win a championship. It certainly doesn't help that the absence of basketball during the lockout will allow that disparagement to fester in people's minds. Still, hatred sells -- major accomplishments by the Mavericks be damned.

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold: B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals. If Miami didn't reach the Finals, its loss could be forgotten or dismissed as growing pains that most contenders go through at some point. But with LeBron's struggles and the Heat's inability to close out games, we'll remember the Heat's failure more than the Mavs' triumph.

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: A. Mavs win first NBA title. I think this can fluctuate. If the Heat return and win not one, not two, et cetera, et cetera, we'll all forget about the one they came up short in. But if this is the one real shot they get over the next five years, there's no doubt the Heat's failure will forever be etched in our minds.


3. Which will have the least long-term impact?


A. Mavs win first NBA title
B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals
C. 2011 NBA draft class arrives
D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement
E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace
F. Write your own five-word headline

Beckley Mason, Hoopspeak: E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace. Ron Artest, by any name, is still of leaden feet and contributing a paltry 39.7 percent shooting. I may reevaluate this selection if he changed his name to keep the Lakers locker room from becoming a purple, gold and red bloodbath when Mike Brown tells Kobe, "We need to feed it inside a bit more, be more of a distributor."

Rashad Mobley, Truth About It: A. Mavs win first NBA title. Just like in 2004, when the Lakers' failures were focused on more than the Pistons' title, the Mavericks will be all but forgotten next season. The focus will be on the new CBA agreement, the 2012 free-agent class and, again, the Miami Heat.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace. Artest's latest publicity move will give the NBA community at large a fun thrill when it really needs one, but the move isn't going to have any far-reaching impact. Artest has already proven a good humanitarian, and changing his name isn't going to make that any more significant. Let's see how his basketball game holds up next season.

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold: E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace. Artest's name change is nice distraction from the more serious stories of the summer, but that's all it is. While done for the right reasons, this change will only be a sideshow while the ramifications of the Mavs' title or the outcome of the new CBA will play a major role in how next season plays out.

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: F. Ricky Rubio comes to America. In terms of a lasting, longstanding impact on the NBA, I just don't see Rubio's grand arrival as one that's going to stand the test of time. I was a Rubio fanboy after the 2008 Beijing Games, but like many, I've soured on his game translating to the NBA against the likes of Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook and Chris Paul.


4. Which will have the most negative long-term impact?


A. Mavs win first NBA title
B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals
C. 2011 NBA draft class arrives
D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement
E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace
F. Write your own five-word headline

Beckley Mason, Hoopspeak: D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement.This past season, and the LeBron storylines in particular, have attracted an enormous amount of casual sports fans who amount to a capital gain in viewership and interest. It took years to build the storylines that made last season so compelling. With a TV deal on the horizon, a lockout at this time threatens to render that precious capital meaningless.

Rashad Mobley, Truth About It: D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement The effects from the NBA lockout will be far-reaching, especially considering the NFL lockout seems to be coming to a close. Fans will grow tired of Billy Hunter, David Stern and especially the players, and the NBA runs the risk of nullifying the tremendous momentum it built prior to the 2010-11 season.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement. The league is at a high point right now, and the lockout is going to sap all that momentum. If the NBA understood the pressure to get a deal done in 2005 after seeing what a work stoppage did to the NHL, why isn't there that same sense of urgency now, with the stakes much higher?

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold: D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement. This season produced great play and record ratings. Now it's on the verge of being derailed by labor negotiations. Watching owners and players argue over how to divide billions of dollars is like watching a well-off friend short his share of the check at a group dinner. If the bickering and selfishness continues, the league will struggle to recover.

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement. There's simply no other answer. Not getting a deal done won't necessarily destroy anything, but for a sport that's come so far the last 10 years to really establish itself as a clear No. 2 in American culture, with watchable superstars everywhere, a lockout would zap all that goodwill and momentum. Not good.


5. Which will have the most positive long-term impact?


A. Mavs win first NBA title
B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals
C. 2011 NBA draft class arrives
D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement
E. Artest becomes Metta World Peace
F. Write your own five-word headline

Beckley Mason, Hoopspeak: D. Lockout looms, no CBA agreement Only one of these will govern how every franchise conducts business over the next 5-10 years. Though I'm nervous about a year without hoops, there's also the potential for an agreement that benefits fans from markets big and small. I don't care about "protecting the owners from themselves," but hope the new deal will help protect fans from incompetent owners.

Rashad Mobley, Truth About It: B. Heatles reach brink, lose Finals. The untimely demise of the Miami Heat will be the gift that keeps on giving next season. Much like the end of "Star Wars" laid the groundwork for the Empire to strike back, the Heat's 4-2 Finals loss will give fans, writers and bloggers even more fodder next season -- which could be the shot in the arm the post-lockout NBA will need.

Danny Savitzky, Nets Are Scorching: F. NBA experiences changing of guard. The Lakers, Celtics and Spurs powerhouses of this millennium appear to be headed downhill, making way for scores of young talent, capably led by Derrick Rose and Kevin Durant. The NBA's next era is a promising one, irrespective of the hurdles the lockout presents.

Darius Soriano, Forum Blue & Gold: A. Mavs win first NBA title. The Mavs exemplified team play and took down a roster most thought of as a group of talented individuals. They reminded us all that the extra pass and chemistry can mean as much as a top-heavy roster. This, more than anything else, can be their legacy and be adopted as a template to be used by future championship chasers.

Royce Young, Daily Thunder: C. 2011 NBA draft class arrives. New talent, new faces for downtrodden franchises and new hope for frustrated fan bases. Everyone wants to declare a draft "weak," but the 2011 class has some talent up top, and somebody in the 18-30 range will end up being a star we all remember.