MIAMI, FL - JUNE 11: Brian Cardinal #35 of the Dallas Mavericks around during practice prior to Game 6 of the 2011 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena on June 11, 2011 in miami, Florida. Game 6 will be played on June 12. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Chris Chambers/Getty Images)
I know the seeds of this were planted in the fall of 1998, when I, as a freshman, went to the co-rec for a pickup game and ended up running with none other than Citizen Pain himself, Brian Cardinal. We won back then, with me dropping a sweet dime for him on a fast break at one point. I'd like to say that one random pickup game gave him the confidence to win with anyone on his team, no matter how good or how crappy (and in my case, it was probably pretty crappy). I went on to write about guys like Cardinal, who worked his butt off to get where he is today.
Congratulations to the Custodian on winning his first NBA Championship, and to the Mavericks as a team. He is a man that has worked to earn everything he has gotten in this league. I don't think it is a coincidence that he played in just four games in the Finals, and Dallas won all four. They needed a dash of hard work and attitude off the bench, and Rick Carlisle was not afraid to call on one of our favorite Boilermakers of all time. Enjoy it, Citizen Pain. You are a true Boilermaker.