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Dirk Nowitzki is the most underappreciated superstar in the world

That’s right, I said it. In the words of Ed, feel free to send all hate mail directly to ed@edthesportsfan.com, but I honestly believe, given what I have seen from this man over the past several years, that he is not only a superstar, not only a top-ten player, but he is the most underappreciated superstar in the world.

When I bring this up to people who watch basketball, as I do, the criticism is relentless, but please allow me to explain my stance. There is no other player in the NBA, not one, who possesses his skill-set. Dirk knows his strengths, and capitalizes them, and recognizes his weaknesses, and rarely allows them to be a factor. How many other players do we see, who we consider great, do things we know they cannot do? It’s hard to say that about Dirk. That right there lets you know he’s an intelligent basketball player, as well as a great one.

The disrespect isn’t really given by fans of the city of Dallas. There’s a large enough segment that realizes how great and how valuable Dirk is to the Dallas Mavericks, because we see his exploits first-hand. It’s people who are outside of Dallas that have berated this man to the point where I feel compelled to make a defense for him.

We’ve seen him score 29 points in an eight-minute stretch in the fourth quarter of a game this season (it didn’t even lead Sportscenter! Are you kidding me??!?!). We’ve seen him give the Spurs 37 points and 15 rebounds in a series-clinching Game Seven of a playoff series. We witnessed Dirk drop 50 on the Phoenix Suns of that same 2006 Playoffs, and scoring in just about every single way possible. We’ve seen him carry the Mavs year after year after *bleeping* year, and while some of those performances have been legendary, the Mavs have failed to win a championship…which I’ll touch on right now.

People like to bring up that he choked against the Heat, right? Well, I’ll admit; he didn’t play well, but where was the rest of his team to pick up the slack? Who stopped Wade from channeling his inner-Jordan and going on a damn four-game rampage in the 2006 Finals? It’s not like Dirk can guard Wade; they don’t play the same position.

As far as I’m concerned, the Wade performance is one of those legendary performances that we see, maybe, once every ten years. I can honestly say I haven’t seen a stretch like that in an NBA Finals since Jordan, back in the late-90s. As for the Golden State series, it’s not that hard to figure out. Simply put, it was a horrible match-up for the Mavericks, and anyone who saw the two teams play each other in the regular season could have seen that disaster coming. They demolished everyone else, but had all sorts of trouble with Golden State.

They had the perfect recipe to slow down/stop Dirk: uber-athletic wing players, the ability to move well, and keep him from being able to get the ball, and when he did, he was swarmed immediately. No superstar could have dealt with that type of look. You think I’m lying? Look at the 2004 Finals when the Detroit Pistons devised their entire game plan to stop Kobe, and frustrated him to the point of no return. He was useless in that series, except for that buzzer-beater in Game Two. The Spurs did the same to The King in the 2007 Finals as well. Hell, Cleveland didn’t even win a game. If you scheme well to stop a star, the rest of the team will crumble, but this isn’t about them; it’s about Dirk, so my bad for getting off-track. Now what do I think the Mavs should do? It’s simple, yet something that may not happen, until it’s too late: TRADE DIRK.

The Dallas Mavericks basketball team has peaked; they’ve reached their championship potential, and unless they could get The King or Wade to come (which is another argument altogether, because Ed thinks something like that could actually happen), then they will never win an NBA Championship. Ever. The thing is I think Mark Cuban knows that. Deep down inside, I think he knows it won’t happen, but I also know Cuban is a brilliant man, and will try his best to make it happen, and he won’t do anything drastic, unless he absolutely has to. The Dallas Mavericks have been damn good for the past 8-9 years, but they have no NBA title to show for it. Dirk is still a great player, and I am thoroughly convinced that if he is put in a situation, a la KG in Boston, with even one or two other very good players, that will would win a championship, no doubt in my mind, and I’d bet a week’s pay on it, if the day ever comes. Hopefully the day comes, so people will have no choice but to take heed, and finally admit how great he is. It’s sad that it may take a title to do so, but in my opinion, championship or not, Dirk is the most underappreciated superstar in the world. Period.


-K. Masenda


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