DALLAS -- Legacies are recognized in sports once a franchise wins multiple world championships.
The Dallas Mavericks will have their first chance at putting their stamp on a legacy starting with today's regular-season opener against the Miami Heat.
Tipoff is at 1:30 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
The Mavs won last season's world title by beating the Heat in six games.
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While that was a memorable moment for the Mavs, they know in order to create indelible memories, they must add another title to the one they won last June.
"Yeah, it'll be really special," forward Dirk Nowitzki said of the drive to win another world championship. "Shaq [O'Neal] made the famous saying, 'One is like winning nothing,' so we'd love to get two.
"But that's something we've got to work on and see how this team jells together. Two is definitely a great goal now, it's our inspiration to make our fans here proud to represent the world champs, so we've got to go out there and put out a good product."
For his part, Nowitzki allowed himself to think back to the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons and realize that the Mavs could have already had their legacy stamped in the history books.
The Mavs led the Heat two games to none in the 2006 NBA Finals, and were up 89-76 with 6:16 left in Game 3 at Miami.
But it all fell apart as Dallas lost 98-96 and dropped the series in six games.
Then the following season, the Mavs won a franchise-record and NBA-high 67 games and only had to protect their home court in the playoffs to ensure them of winning an NBA title.
But the No. 8-seeded Golden State Warriors stunned the No. 1-seeded Mavs in the first round of the playoffs in six games.
Guard Jason Terry and Nowitzki are the only two holdovers from those days.
And the disappointments of '06 and '07 will forever haunt them.
"But maybe it made us stronger, especially me and Jet," Nowitzki said. "Last year I had to fight through some stuff and still we were able to come out on top.
"We were the only two left from '06 and it pushed us harder to work harder every summer. Maybe if we would have lost in '06 we would never have gotten back to that point."
Lamar Odom, who won back-to-back titles with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 and '10, noted that it's the toughest accomplishment he's ever achieved.
"To go back-to-back, those are the teams that are remembered," said Odom, now a forward with the Mavs. "The target is on your back and every team is gunning for you.
"It seems like in the NFL if you get one [title] you're good. In the NBA it seems like you've got to get two for you to be established."
Although the Mavs lost key players Tyson Chandler, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson via free agency, Terry believes newcomers Vince Carter, Delonte West and Odom are established enough to help Dallas win another title.
"It's going to be incredible and that's the goal and that's the challenge ahead," Terry said, referring to building a legacy. "As an NBA player who's been in this league for a while, that's what it's all about.
"At this point in your career, it's all about winning championships and we have the team to do it."
Nowitzki said winning last season's title is a feeling like no other. And he believes the building blocks are in place to put the Mavs in the legacy conversation.
"Once you win it all, that's such a great feeling," he said. "I've got three more years on my contract, and we would love to win all three years in a row and have the same feeling.
"Once you get a sniff of us winning it all, I think it's tough losing again. We'd love to work our way up to the playoffs and peak there again and give it our best shot."
And enjoy a legacy that will last forever.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760