Dirk Nowitzki and Luka Doncic came to share a season with the Dallas Mavericks. By way of relief, practically. The German legend, the most important player in the history of the franchise, said goodbye after 21 campaigns in the organization, being the leader of the only ring in his record. 20.7 points and 7.5 rebounds in the averages with the MVP of 2007, 14 All Star, 12 All-NBA and the MVP of the glorious Finals, those of 2011. A legacy difficult to repeat, but for which it was sought heir: the Slovenian player. A 21.2 + 7.8 + 6 in his first course made it clear that, although it was a practically unattainable feat, the epic was in good hands. Nowitzki, before retiring permanently, made sure of it. Already in his first contact, he put the base to the test, about which he had certain doubts. He cleared them all at once: “In the first practice, I went up to him and started trash-talking: ‘There’s no way you’re going to take these two free throws.’ He just smiled at me and didn’t say anything. And he scored those two shots. he earned my respect immediately, “recalled this year, the legendary power forward.
Both Nowitzki and Doncic, next season, will be two of the most visible faces of the NBA 2K video game. In the case of the Slovenian, it will be the main image, the cover of the 2021-22 edition. In the case of the German, he will share the limelight with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kevin Durant in a special version of the game, the one dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the American competition. “I am proud to represent my country on a cover that honors the colors of the Slovenian flag. Basketball has given me so much and I am delighted to give it back by collaborating with 2K Foundations this year to improve the lives of children around the world,” he stated. Doncic after the presentation of the designs. Nowitzki, for his part, delved into the respect he had already shown towards the former Real Madrid player, placing him, in terms of performance at a certain stage, above himself: “I would say that now he is better than me at my best, and the incredible thing is that he is only 22 years old,” he said.
Big words. Some that, however, should not be confused. In his statements, Dirk uses the term prime, which translates as the peak of performance of any athlete (or in any field). He does not compare careers or legacies, simply (which is not little), better moments of pure basketball production. “Of course, we developed a great relationship. It’s kind of sad that I could only play with him for one year. He’s such a special talent … leading on the court at only 21, 22 years old and with an incredibly complete game. And it has been a pleasure to be around him, he is a good boy, he wants to do well. We had a good relationship and we keep it, I am always there if you need something or if you have a question about if you are going through something. Obviously, I will always try to help him, “he adds in his statements for NBA 2K.
Doncic and Nowitzki’s careers present many ties of union, beyond being two of the greatest European talents in history and sharing a team in the United States. Donnie Nelson, who was general manager of the franchise until this season, was the one who bet on both from very early on. In the case of Luka, following him since his third game as a professional: “I had this feeling and I thought I could play as an organizer, that it was like a cross between Magic and Bird. That’s the first thing I saw. That and that it was a machine from the game. triple-double, “he recalled this year, recovering some of his annotations in the scout book. Now, the German and the Slovenian are more in contact than ever. In the midst of his small but complex rebuilding, Dallas turned to Nowitzki to serve as “special adviser.” For now, the organization already has a new director of operations, Nico Harrison, and a new head coach, Jason Kidd, recently introduced. With them, and with the horizon of better surrounding Doncic in the middle of a complex salary puzzle, the franchise will seek to form a team that opts for everything. To the biggest bridge that could exist between Doncic and Nowitzki: the ring.