Professional sports are a fast-paced world where you can become a billionaire like Michael Jordan or lose everything like Allen Iverson. You can be a promising player but break your knee in three places, crushing your hopes and dreams for the title.
But if you’re in the game for a long time, and you have a boss like Mark Cuban, then maybe, just maybe, you’ll receive a healthy sum of money for your services. This isn’t common, but J.J. Barea certainly deserved it.
Undrafted but Promising
J.J. Barea entered the NBA as an undrafted rookie in the 2006-07 season. Standing just 5-feet-10-inches tall, people doubted as to whether the undersized point guard would ever leave a mark in the big league.
The Golden State Warriors brought him into the summer league, but he was snatched away by the Cuban-owned Dallas Mavericks where, off the bench, he averaged 12 points and 6.7 assists in just 25 minutes per game.
2011 NBA Champion
For four seasons, Barea continued to live up to the expectations Mark and the Mavs’ front office had for him. But it was this particular season where he shined the brightest. He helped the franchise’s star player, Dirk Nowitzki, overcome the competition, earning them the fourth-seed spot in the Western Conference.
After an amazing performance and bulldozing through the playoffs, the Mavs went head-to-head as underdogs against the Lebron-led Miami Heat. They won in six games, bringing the championship trophy to Dallas for the first time.