DALLAS -- In a sea of celebration, Dirk Nowitzki was stoic.
The American Airlines Center was still full, and it was loud. The Mavericks were gathered for the presentation of the Western Conference Championship trophy.
It was a big celebration, and Dirk looked like he wanted to be anywhere else.
Rick Barry presented the trophy, and during his remarks said this about Dirk: "And a special admiration and respect to Dirk Nowitzki, who has raised his game to another level."
Cue the close-up of Dirk, as a flurry of hands pat him on the shoulder and rub his head. Smiling faces surround him, and Dirk looks so uncomfortable you'd think he has a social anxiety disorder.
Mark Cuban and several Mavericks start chanting "M-V-P!" as Dirk stares into a spot on the floor about 10 feet in front of him, before finally allowing himself a smile.
Then Barry hands the Western Conference trophy to Cuban, and you can see Dirk trying to escape right then. He turns to hide behind his teammates before Cuban yells his name and then hands the trophy to his reluctant superstar.
Dirk gamely holds it over his head just long enough to not be rude, before handing it off to a teammate and continuing his escape.
The celebration continues.
ESPN's Doris Burke gives up the microphone to Cuban to do some cheerleading, and then asks Rick Carlisle a quick question. And then came the infamous moment:
But Dirk was long gone, and his teammates were quick to follow. Doris Burke was left with nothing else to do except toss it back to the play-by-play man, saying, "Mike Breen, they're off to celebrate."
But that wasn't true at all. The celebration was on the court, and most of them were leaving.
Dirk couldn't get out of there fast enough.
The Ticket's Bob Sturm tweeted that it was a William Wallace moment, and he's right.
Actions speak louder than words. And while some players were out there soaking it up and enjoying the moment (and there is nothing wrong with that), Dirk was making an emphatic statement: "We are not done yet."
And so he disappeared into the bowels of the AAC, and had he not been wearing his new "NBA Finals" T-shirt, you would have thought he had just finished playing a regular season game in January.
The leader sets the tone, and Dirk has set the tone for the Finals.