NBA great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar sat down for a wide-ranging chat at George Mason University this week, and took a shot at future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki’s game, arguing that the League’s sixth all-time leading scorer could do little more than shoot the rock:
“You asked about Dirk Nowitzki,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Dirk Nowitzki’s shot is very hard to block, but I don’t think that he was able to have a dominant career because he couldn’t do other things. If he could have shot like that and rebounded and played defense and blocked shots, then he would have been all-around, and he would have gotten more credit. He was like a one-trick pony. […] You want guys that can shoot like that 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.”
Naturally, Dirk’s teammate’s came rushing to his defense.
Heated Chandler Parsons: "Carried franchise for almost 20 years, Finals MVP, regular season MVP, 6th all-time? Wish I was a 1-trick pony."
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) February 4, 2016
The big German says he doesn’t want to get into a war of words with the greatest scorer in basketball history, but makes it clear that he’s more than a “one-trick pony”.
“I mean, it’s actually not the first time he said some stuff,” Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, said after scoring 28 points for the Dallas Mavericks in Wednesday’s 93-90 loss to the Miami Heat. “I’m not sure why. I guess he’s not a big fan of my game, which is OK. But I like to think I was dominant at some point — especially on the offensive end — of my career, in my prime.
“It is what it is. People have opinions. He’s one of the greatest ever to play the game, so I’m not going to get in a war of words. I respect his opinion. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but it is what it is.”
Nowitzki acknowledged that he never had the kind of impact that Abdul-Jabbar did as a defender and rebounder, but he noted that he worked his way to being a “decent” rebounder, averaging as many as 9.9 per game in a season twice. […] “I don’t want to get into throwing stats around, because his are obviously way better than mine,” Nowitzki said. “But I don’t think you can average 25 and 10 over your playoff career and not be dominant. I don’t think you can get to sixth in scoring in this league over 18 years and not be at some point at least somewhat dominant.”