So apparently Kareem Abdul-Jabbar isn’t a fan of the Big German Dirk Nowitzki, one of the top 15 players of all-time according to ESPN’s rankings. In a series called “Conversations with Tyler” at George Mason University, the NBA’s all-time scoring leader said that Nowitzki’s would be more recognized if he wasn’t a “one-trick pony.”
“Dirk Nowitzki’s shot is very hard to block. But I don’t think that he was able to have a dominant career because if he could have shot like that and rebounded, and played defense, and blocked shots, then he would have been more all-around and gotten more credit. He was like a one-tricky pony. You want guys like that who can shoot on your team. I’m not saying that he lacked value, but he would have been considered at a higher level if he had done more on the court other than just shoot the ball.”
I’d like to think Kareem had one too many drinks before this interview but the fact is he’s been hating on the 6th all time scorer in NBA history for quite some time now. Last year during a radio interview Kareem stated he didn’t think Dirk could hold a candle to Larry Bird when the comparison was presented to him. Sure anyone could argue between which player was better but to say Dirk couldn’t hold a candle to Bird was another arrogant statement by the all-time leading scorer in the NBA.
One could argue that Dirk’s one-legged fade away jumper might not be as unstoppable as Kareem’s skyhook but that works both ways and even so the two moves are two peas in a pod as a couple of the most unguardable moves in NBA history. In case Kareem didn’t know Nowitzki has quite the NBA resume including an NBA title and a Finals MVP, a regular-season MVP, 13 All-Star appearances, four All-NBA First Team selections, one of the most dominant 50-40-90 seasons ever seasons ever, and a spot in the top six of the NBA’s All-Time scoring list.
The only player in NBA history with 25,000+ points, 10,000+ rebounds, 1,000+ blocks, 1,000+ made 3 pointers and 1,000+ steals is more than a one-time pony, more like a legendary unicorn if you ask me.
Dirk Nowitzki changed the Dallas Mavericks franchise and the city of Dallas as a whole. He led a 2011 Mavs team to their first and only championship with a roster that didn’t include a single All-Star or superstar type of player to help him. Dirk beat the likes of Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade & LeBron James along the way on what was a remarkable playoff run. Unlike Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who played alongside the likes of Magic Johnson and James Worthy during his time with the Lakers where he won 4 rings.
For his career Dirk has averaged 22.1 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 47.5% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc. One may look at Dirk’s rebounding numbers and say for a 7-footer that’s low but don’t forget that Dirk has always been a solid to good defensive rebounder throughout his career but never so much of an offensive rebounder. Huge reason for that is that Dirk played at or near the three-point land for much as his career and never played inside as much like a Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who averaged 10+ rebounds per game for his NBA career.
Dirk Nowitzki revolutionized the game and invented the definition of the stretch 4 that many teams in today’s NBA seek for in their big men. He helped transition the league from the big men bruiser down low to teams playing small ball and stretching the court. Many teams like the Warriors, for example, play small ball through large stretches of games where there’s not a single player taller than 6’9” or 6’10” on the court. That kind of an NBA is a foreign language to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar but even the great Michael Jordan understands how great of a player Dirk Nowitzki is and has been for 17 years.
In February 2013 Michael Jordan turned 50 years old and in an interview with Wright Thompson of ESPN.com was asked which current players could be nearly as successful in his era. Yes Dirk Nowitzki was on that list to go along with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant & Tim Duncan. I bring this up to say Dirk nor any other Mavs fan should worry about what Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks because the ‘greatest player of all time” is one that certainly respects the great Dirk Nowitzki,
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar may want to get his eyes and head examined soon as possible. Dirk Nowitzki is more than a one-trick pony; he’s more like a unicorn that is a rare and legendary creature, Mavs fans know that all too well.