Friday, November 26, 2010

In Dirk We Trust

In this league, superstars win. Rarely will you see multiple years in a decade such as 2004, when the Detroit Pistons team-first, defense-first mentality won over a stacked Lakers team. It just doesn't happen (and to be fair, that 2004 Pistons team didn't have a superstar per say, but had five All-Stars at/near their prime.)

So when superstars don't get their title, it's sometimes a travesty/bad luck/both. Karl Malone played on some of the greatest NBA teams of all the same time of Michael Jordan. Charles Barkley, same thing. Titles aren't automatic and unfortunately they seem to be the underlying tie breaker in disputing who's greater. So is the case for Dirk Nowitzki. 

You rarely see Dirk grabbing headlines or being the focus of a Sports Illustrated cover. This despite being one of the greatest players (not just forwards) of all time. But you already know that. We've been through the countless articles and radio segments detailing how great Dirk is, how little help he receives and sometimes, if he should be traded. There's also no question about Dirk's work ethic and personality, which has endeared him to fans outside of Dallas city limits. You won't find too many keyed-in NBA fans hate on Dirk, much like you wont find those same fans hate on Kevin Durant.

So what's the point of this already long-winded post, three paragraphs in, if I'm not going to recount how Dirk is never respected nationally, long due for a championship and one of the greatest ever? 

It's to tell you one thing: appreciate him.

Superstars don't grow on trees. And when you lose one, the results afterwards aren't pretty. Ask Toronto if they'd take back Chris Bosh. Ask Suns fans if they think Amar'e would of been worth the price. Dig deep enough into Cleveland fans' souls, and they'll tell you if LeBron uttered "I'm taking my talents back to Cleveland" instead of "South Beach," they'd welcome him back with open arms. You think Minnesota, as dreadful as they are, wouldn't like to see a healthy Al Jefferson complete a front-court of Kevin Love and a rejuvenated Michael Beasley? (Did I just compare Al Jefferson to Chris Bosh, Amar'e Stoudemire and LeBron James? Yes. Yes I did. Shut it.)

So appreciate Dirk. Appreciate that he's off to one of his best starts in his career. Appreciate that he's single-handily the reason Dallas sits at 10-4, being the second leading scorer in the NBA. Appreciate how he's taken his criticisms as a "soft jump shooting Euro" and turned into one of the most versatile, complete offensive players in the NBA today. Appreciate that Dirk is making more unassisted shots at the rim than ever before (which means he's making more shots off his own offense at the rim than ever before). Appreciate that in the last two games, Dirk took over a game where his teammates looked weakened and meager and put in two clutch performances.  

I think we as a fan base have become desensitized to Dirk's brillance. Don't ever take it for granted. Dirk is a special player, one which continues to get better as his age gets closer to 35. His personal 7-0 run Wednesday night in Oklahoma City to tie the game slapped me from my state of acceptance. I remembered what it was like to be dazzled by Dirk's spin moves, his pump fakes, his MJ-like tongue celebration. 

Dirk is the greatest player of the Mavericks franchise. When he's gone, we might be faced with mediocrity that this town hasn't seen from it's basketball team since the 90s. 

Enjoy it. 

Cherish it.


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1 comment:

  1. Dirk is my only man crush. I've never liked a DFW athlete more, and it saddens me sometimes to think I never will. Because the likelihood of the mavs finding another talent on his level is very slim.

    I always give my friends that are spurs fans a hard time that as soon as duncan declines, so do the spurs. But in the back of my mind I think the same about dirk and the mavs.