Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and LeBron James of the Miami Heat will be in the spotlight as the National Basketball Association Finals tip off May 31 in Miami, Florida.  Both stars are bidding for their first NBA championship.  The big German Nowitzki has been spectacular during the NBA Playoffs, and he would like nothing better than to cap it with the NBA title.  LeBron has also provided many highlights during the postseason, and he looks determined to make Miami a dynasty after joining the Heat and fellow stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in a highly publicized offseason move.

“Ultimately, for me, it was about being in the position to compete year after year after year,” says James.  “And not only being able to do that, but being able to do it with one of my best friends, one of the best players we have in this league today in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.  I know what this league is all about, about having multiple guys on the court that can dominate a game.  Teaming up with these guys, I feel like we can compete for a lot of years to come.”

Bosh almost certainly will guard Nowitzki during this best-of-seven game championship series, a rematch of the 2006 NBA Finals, when Miami defeated Dallas, four games to two.  Taking a look at the rosters of the two clubs, only Nowitzki and Jason Terry played for the Mavericks in the Finals five years ago, while Wade and Udonis Haslem are the only members of that 2006 title-winning team still with the Heat.  Meanwhile, Miami’s reserve center Erick Dampier, played for the Mavericks in 2006.

The 2.13 meter tall (7 feet) Nowitzki gets my vote as the best European player ever in the NBA.  The 10-time NBA All-Star will be facing a very quick Miami club that prides itself on its swarming defense.  Look for multiple Miami players, including LeBron, to take turns double-teaming and maybe even triple-teaming Nowitzki, perhaps the best shooting big man ever in basketball history.

Meanwhile, veteran Mavericks guard Jason Kidd, like Nowitzki a 10-time NBA All-Star, will be aiming to make some history of his own and get the basketball as much as possible into Nowitzki’s hands.  At 38, Kidd could become the oldest point guard ever to lead a team to the NBA title.

I think it shapes up as a very competitive NBA Finals.  I’m picking the Mavericks to cool off the Heat in seven games.