Say you’re one of the ten best players in the League. An All-Star for as long as you want to be one, one of the few guys who can just go by their first names, and not to mention, the reigning MVP. If you’re this person, the criticism that you can expect from your own camp, especially from your head coach, is usually the mild (and often meaningless) kind: You should look for your teammates on the offensive end more often, you could play a little more defense, etc.
I can’t recall the last time a superstar player was called out by his coach regarding his leadership abilities. This, however, is exactly what happened to Dirk Nowitzki when Avery Johnson recently did a Q&A with Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News:
What does Dirk Nowitzki have to do this year to improve on an MVP season?
Dirk can get better, and there are some things that Dirk can improve in that may not be basketball-related. It may be leadership-related. Dirk can get better on and off the court. And that’s why I’ve been stretching him…And his stretching may not be necessarily on the court, but it may be in the area of leadership, and we’re willing to help him get better in that area.
That’s certainly one way to motivate your main guy. But to call him out in the press like that? I don’t know…