A recent article sparked thoughts of mine about Dirk Nowitzki. It’s a terrific read and a highly recommended you go and check it out. What fascinated me most about these playoffs was just how big of a triumph this is for Nowitzki. Just prior to these playoffs he was considered soft and a player that could never lead you to a championship. This was sparked from the notion that all European basketballers are shooters and nothing more. While for some that holds true, the form never really extended to Dirk. I used to think that if you get in the face of him, that he would back down. Not the case.
Back in 2008, nothing affirmed my assumptions more than when the New Orleans Hornets beat the Mavericks in the first round of the 2008 playoffs. A face tap of awesomeness later and the Hornets moved on and the Mavericks had another first round exit.
Dirk’s ultimate triumph is that he did things his way, that he never strayed away from who he was. I’m sure he had his moments where he would try to do things in a more psychotic and maniacal way (ala Kobe Bryant), but when he stayed true to his game, his personality he was able to succeed.
And it’s not just that. He always had toughness that you could never really see. It must of been extremely tough to fight people Pigeon-holing him.
I’m mostly saying a lot of this because he won the championship, if he didn’t I no doubt would’ve thought the same things about him as before. Yet, I’m still not sure I would. Throughout these playoffs I really watched Dirk and I have to say that my respect for him grew at the beginning of these playoffs whether or not he won a championship.
The way he was able to get his shot off time and time again, plus get to the free-throw line was incredible. Each possession he would be involved in one way or another, the Mavericks wouldn’t go away from him. Each time he was on the floor they’d run a set where he’d touch the ball at least two times and they’d work from that.
As for Chris Paul, he’s at a cross roads. We already know of his relationship with Lebron James and how he signed with his marketing company. Yet for many Hornets fans we still see the same kid from North Carolina who just wants to do what is right.
Whether Paul is getting away from himself is up for debate. He’s all about winning, and he hasn’t changed that desire. But doing it in a different way might be his prerogative. All his closest friends and campanions have, for the most part, moved on from their original teams. To fans it’s taking the easy way out, but to the more keen eye it’s just they want that similar affirmation as players by the owners and franchises doing right by them.
I think looking into Dirk’s trials he was always looking for support and affirmation of his abilities. Somehow though, things are different with CP. We as fans (and the organisation) are trying to please him (non-sexual…), trying to get support and affirmation from him. It’s this juxtaposition that makes things very complicated and installs a sense of inevitability when it comes to him leaving.
If we are trying to “convince him” of the situation here, the question then becomes, is the partnership mutual? Dirk and Mark Cuban always wanted the same things. Cuban was going to do everything in his power to get a championship with Nowtizki. I just hope that Dell Demps and the city of New Orleans begins to do the same, because in 8 months time we could be losing respect for ourselves as we tried to fulfil the person’s aspirations with something we couldn’t offer.