OPEN LETTER TO DIRK NOWITZKI
“Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.”
I apologize. I’m sorry for taking you for granted all these years. You are what basketball players should aspire to be; you play the right way.
Your poise is Walt Frazier-like. You don’t bring attention to yourself. You hit the open man. You do the best you can at the defensive end of the floor and most of all, you pull for your teammates.
Over the years people have called you soft, me included.
I used to watch you shoot jump-shot after jump-shot from the outside, not wanting to mix it up inside. But you do take the ball to the basket and what the heck, if they can’t check you out on the perimeter, fire away!
When it comes to basketball here in the United States, the tallest players on the court are positioned under the basket on offense, are required to demand the ball and score in the paint. You have coaches trying to teach these young men drop-steps, reverse pivots, jump-hooks, etc. In other countries, like Germany where you learned the game, big men are taught to shoot the ball from the outside; it’s a different concept/philosophy. This kind of teaching adds a different element to your overall game which makes it more difficult to guard you. Here in America, coaches don’t buy into that; but little do many realize, there are many ways to teach the game.
At times my ignorance gets in the way of my opinion and coaching philosophy especially when it comes to the way the game should be played/taught. After watching you perform these past few weeks in the playoffs, you can shoot all the jumpers you want. You have helped me change the way the game can be played. It has come to a point that every time you shoot the ball, I expect it to go in.
When your team lost to the Miami Heat in the 2006 NBA Finals, a player from the Heat, who shall go nameless said you weren’t a leader. Announcers said you were soft, and this season, during a playoff game with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chris Weber of TNT said you should be fined for not coming to the aid of a teammate after he was knocked down.
I don’t buy any of that garbage. You have turned into a leader, a leader who leads by example.
During the playoffs I have been introduced to another side of you, your work ethic and passion to improve.
Your trainer, Holger Geschwindner is fantastic, he doesn’t care about getting the credit. I have heard him in interviews, he is a very humble man; unlike many coaches and trainers here in the States.
When you are at the podium after these championship games, I listen to your every word. You give credit where credit is due, rarely if ever do you bring attention to yourself.
This latest incident of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James mocking your cough is the last straw; you were right, it is childish.
When this series started I will admit, I wanted to see the Heat win because I wanted LeBron to win his first ring. But after taking in every single play for the first 5 games of this series and reading many stories after each game, I have changed my mind.
How can they say you are not an aggressive player? You are taking the ball to the basket and getting fouled. You are making every free-throw (43-44), you are leaving it all on the court and best of all, you are making big shot after big shot down the stretch.
How can anyone criticize that kind of play?
Dirk, I want to see you win a championship ring. You deserve it. The fact that you play the guitar, you listen to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin and you like to read shows me how well-rounded as a person you are.
A few weeks back your head coach said you are a top 10 player of all-time; I disagreed with him. Matter of fact, I wrote a blog entry explaining why you are not a top ten player. After this series, win or lose, I may have to go back and revise that entry.
Good luck tonight in Miami.
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