With all the hub-hub surrounding Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Mark Cuban, Rick Carlisle, Peja Stojakovic of the Dallas Mavericks is going to be absent from most championship celebrations, but he deserves a decent amount of credit for Dallas's title run, and that should give Kings fans plenty of reason to smile (this picture also goes a long way too).
I wrote most of what I wanted to write about Peja in this column back when he was scorching the Lakers with a good dose of revenge. Check it out and come back here and recognize why Peja is a deserving and worthy champion for his playoff contributions.
Look, I'm sad too that Peja didn't get to shine in the spotlight of the NBA Finals (he was 1 for 5 in only 26 minutes of play, and was benched after Game 3 for Brian Cardinal). But this was the wrong series for him, since his minutes would have to be spent guarding LeBron James and Chris Bosh, two guys who probably wouldn't have
Just let it be known that Stojakovic was involved in hitting crucial shots throughout the Western Conference Playoffs, notched double digits in four of those games (and 20+ points in two), and played 15+ minutes in the first 15 playoff games. The Mavs might have battled the Lakers to exhaustion rather than sweeping them without Peja's threes in Games 1 and 3. When Cardinal took his place, Peja never complained, never pouted, and was just as happy as the rest of his teammates at being able to hold his prize. He was a huge part of Dallas's run to the Finals.
It's the journey that matters for these guys more than the destination. And Peja was definitely a part of that journey for the Mavericks toward Destination Championship.