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.

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”.

Per ESPN:

“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.”

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