The Miami Heat wins the 2006 NBA Championship. No surprise there.

What was surprising was the great effort displayed by the Dallas Mavericks throughout the season.

Miami had the Big Two: Shaquille O'Neal and Dwayne Wade. Add to that was championship veteran coach Pat Riley. Public opinion and support easily favored the Florida team.

In contrast, Dallas was unknown to many until Avery Johnson's wild new plays debuted on the hardcourt that led the team of young and eager players into its first Championship attempt.

In fact, the Mavericks put a real scare to those rooting for Heat (me, included) when it posed a 2-0 lead early in the Finals.

And for all that, I respect Dallas Mavericks as much as I congratulate and celebrate Miami Heat's win.

True, they lost. But they are winners in my book, too.