But seriously, don't these guys scare you just a little bit?

Game 1's Tonight. Uh, Don't Forget.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi no longer needs his morning Mavs-Heat round-up, and it sure looks like he's gonna miss tonight's first game of the NBA Finals, but what say the rest of us get down to it? Let's go international this morning: The Canadian National Post has sent a writer named Bruce Arthur to Dallas, who sends back this report about how the NBA Finals feel "so...big." Arthur gives us one terrible lead--he opens with not just one question, but three--and includes Jason Terry's no-serionsly-dude comment that Dirk Nowitzki's "a legend in the making." Little early for that, innit? Janny Hu (whose name sounds like "anywho," which is what I said after reading his/her piece in the San Francisco Chronicle) wonders why Detroit and San Antonio aren't in the playoffs; maybe 'cause they lost? No, seriously, Hu wonders how and why, as in, "Why then, are the NBA Finals beginning in Dallas tonight, in a city known for housing America's football team, and whose biggest basketball star is a German import inspired by the music of David Hasselhoff?" San Fran gets at least one more week of gems like this.

In the Chicago Sun-Times this morning, Josh Howard talks about playing ball against Heat legend-in-the-making Dwyane Wade; J-Ho says, turn him into a jump shooter, and he's kinda useless. We'll see, J-Ho. The New York Daily News came back from yesterday's media day with something slightly less basketball-y. Writes the meditatively named Ohm Youngmisuk:

"Wearing a sleeveless muscle shirt and loving every second of the attention he got at media day yesterday, Mark Cuban joked about how he is going to change his referee-bashing ways and polish his image now that his team is in the NBA Finals.

'I'm going to be wearing a suit and some masking tape across my mouth,' cracked the owner David Stern loves to fine. 'No. [That would be] like going to the Playboy Mansion with eye patches on both eyes.'"

Funny thing is, at this very moment I am wearing a sleeveless muscle shirt and an eyepatch; the Cubes and I are so much alike we should get married! Of course, everybody loves Mark: The Washington Post has a piece about, cough, "The NBA's True Maverick," in which writer Michael Lee says "the 47-year-old Mavericks fan turned team owner [is] hard to ignore. He is irrepressible [and] some might say insufferable." Who might say that? Outsiders, looks like. At least USA Today's giving Dirk his due. So's the Philadelphia Inquirer in a piece reprinted here.

And how's everyone feeling about the Mavs' chances against the Heat? Well, in Miami, they're pretty sure Shaq and Wade will dispatch Dirk and Dallas; d'uh, right? Seems Avery Johnson's scared. Yeah, right. But m'man Sam Smith at the Chicago Tribune--who is clearly one of the best sportwriters in America--goes with Mavs in six. --Robert Wilonsky

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