As we enter the final week of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant’s illustrious career, Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki looked back on Bryant’s career with mixed emotions on The Jim Rome Show.
“It’s a little bit sad. I think it’s disappointing that some of these guys that are drafted in the 90s are slowly going away,” Nowitzki said. “Obviously Kobe to our generation, he was the best offensive player. I mean I hear other guys say it, but he was our Michael Jordan. The ability to make shots in crunch time, the ability to create shots out of nowhere, the ability to take over games.”
Nowitzki recalled being on the opposite end of some of Bryant’s vintage scoring games.
“I always tell this story we played in LA, one time with the Mavs, and he had I think 63 points in three quarters and we as the Mavs had 62 or something like that, watching that and I think two weeks later he had the game where he had 81,” Nowitzki said. “So he was an incredible offensive weapon that could take over in so many ways.”
The 13-time All-Star forward says Bryant’s farewell season has been well deserved.
“I was always a big fan so kind of enjoying seeing him get all the love on the road and at home, them chanting for his name,” Nowitzki said. “I mean he deserves it he’s done so much for our sport for our league he’s been incredible, and obviously I wish him nothing but luck for his retirement.”
Nowitzki also drafted in the nineties, looked back on his rookie year and the NBA Lockout shortened seasoned of 1998-99 and admitted for a time he wasn’t so sure he’d make it in the league.
“I was a little worried back then, I got to admit. My first year was really tough,” Nowitzki said. “Back then we had only 50 games in two-two something months and you know we had back to back to back’s. I mean I was so lost both on and off the floor, first time away from my family so it was a really tough year, so I had some doubts whether I could compete in this league and make it to the highest level.”
But the German said he continued to work at his craft.
“I’ve always focused on always try to get better never be satisfied, once I got my first deal or whatever always try to get better,” Nowitzki said. “Go home in the summer work hard, add off the dribble, add some post moves, add some 3’s, deeper range on the 3 ball, whatever. I always tried to add more to the mix and come back a better player after the summer and that was my key to a long long career. It’s also been a little lucky you got to be a little fortunate you got to be in the right system you got to be with the right coaches you got to stay healthy for a while so it’s been a great ride and hopefully I can still compete here for a couple more years, and I will let the younger guys kind of take over.”
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