Friday, 17 June 2011
IRK ME NO MORE
Dirk's done it.
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Back in the day, somewhere in Germany, players are being selected for a pick-up game about to take place.
It's the present day in America and the Dallas Mavericks are down two as Jason Kidd has possession, looking to make a play.
Back in Germany players are being picked left right and centre, except one shaggy-haired kid sitting in the back with his hand up begging to be acknowledged.
Meanwhile with Dallas at the brink, Jason Kidd has his namesake surnamed Terry to his left and an opening for himself, but the right choice is a seven-foot, surfer-haired blonde bomber with his hand up.
Now the pick-up selections wrap up as the shaggy-haired kid is picked last and only out of necessity. Everyone pays no mind and then he stands up.
Back in Dallas Jason Kidd kicks the ball out to the perimeter. Now it's win or go home. The ball lands in the hands of the same shaggy haired kid. All his opponent who ignored him can do is clutch at his man's number 41 and sigh as the kid rises, pops and hits as his opponent falls. A bucket and a Marv Albert 'yes' later and Dallas wins, thanks to their pick-up that no one else would take; Dirk Nowitzki.
Forget about it, the jokes that is because Nowitzki now has the last laugh on these 'fugazi' critics and the punch-line reads; 'Champion'. Dirk dethroned the purple reign with his Maverick men and down-sized the big-three with his own huge 3-ball, pop, drop and rolled. Yes sir he's no bust, the buzz is back. Forget those 'irks', 2006 demons or 2007 failures because Nowitzki has defended, exorcised and succeeded them all.
Move aside Kobe, there's a new champion MVP. Sorry Timmy but as far as Texas goes, there's a new sheriff in town. LeBron's decision will have to be determined next year because right now the biggest free-agent decision of 2010 was Dirk staying in Dallas and re-upping for the win. Still, nobody pays attention when everything stays the same, but they should. Consistency is key. It's all part of the plan.
You can forget about those 'irk's' or 'NoRingski' jokes, they have been answered. Now Dirk has something Iverson and LeBron don't...a ring. This championship makes Dirk Nowitzki more of a modern-day great then he already is. Shades of Larry Bird, (but with his own legend) a look of Bill Walton, the never-say-die, hard-working dominance of any top player, Bill Russell to M.J. With all this fire inside, Nowitzki is still his own man and player that changed the tone and temperature of the league. Like a Phoenix, Dirk rose from the ashes of best-buddy Steve Nash's departure to the Suns and the flames from the break-up of his own big-three (we see you Michael Finley). Coupled with critical doubt and playoff losses that would make even Tracy McGrady cry, Nowitzki soared above to help the Mavs fly.
The Miami Heat where great competitors but still Dirk cooled everyone in South Beach down. Sure he didn't do it on his own but nobody can these days, just ask LeBron. In beating all the kings men Dirk needed the grown-up, veteran play of Jason Kidd, the matrix of Shawn Marion, the bing of Tyson Chandler and the ping of microwave men and 'partners in pine' Jason Terry and Jose Barea. Still just like his coach Rick Carlisle, Dirk led his band of brothers into battle waving the Maverick flag as proud as a mascot. All of Dallas' squad played like Mavericks but it was their horsemen from Europe that led the charge. The German gunner hit so many big shots like his first name was Bob or his jersey read 'Horry'. Still Nowitzki, the Finals Most Valuable Player also channelled Michael Jordan and played through the pain of flu and shot down Miami cold. Now that's one hell of a recovery. Just like Eminem, Dirk was not afraid and on fire making the game his own.
Dirk Nowitzki is the best international player in the game right now and may be the best European player since Drazen Petrovic (rest peacefully), if not all-time. He's certainly one of the most iconic and ground-breaking. Truly changing the game with substance over style and jump shots over high socks. Dirk removed the 'strong-shot, but weak-game' stigma of European players and the one unfairly put on him in his early years. Nowitzki redefined the seven footer and even the basketball player, proving that you can still have an outside game above 6'11 without having to be forced into the centre position. Sprawling around the court with his lanky frame and 'Scooby Doo best-friend' hair Dirk certainly stands out and the way he throws up three's looks like garbage but it's all good as Dirk's shot is sick. Or should I say pure, the best in the league not hoisted by Ray and the best since Bird and Reggie Miller clutched on to wins and opponents hearts.
Dirk may be synonymous with the three but he can still narrow his range and play inside with the other big boys too. He's so versatile he can play both forward positions like a natural and even go front and centre, God and injuries forbid. He's simply that great, owning the frontcourt and front-line, come rain or shine, buzz-cut or 60's hippie-do. He can also rebound with the best of them, even when his lithe frame is put up next to the hulking structure of Dwight Howard. Dirk's also put the 'D' in his game and back in his name with great play on both ends of the floor. In the prime of his early 30's Nowitzki has really become the best-all round player he can be, but there's still more to come.
Some didn't believe but now they have no choice but to. Thank the basketball God's for Holger Geschwindner. One of the best today and of all-time right now is the leader of the pack and the new school of this generations basketball player (a generation he helped define). The seven time 'European Player Of The Year' (wonder if he'll get an eighth?) is now the world's greatest. The statistics for his career speak for themselves. 23 points, 8.4 points and 2.7 assists is more then just an average. Still there's only one record you have to read next to his name; NBA Champion. That's Dirk, a winner.