Tag:Dirk Nowitzki
Posted on: July 22, 2011 2:42 pm
Edited on: July 23, 2011 12:37 pm
 

Chris Kaman and Dirk to play for Germany

Posted by Royce Young

Eurobasket is just getting better and better.

Already a good number of NBA players have committed to their countries to play in the tournament which starts in Lithuania late in August, but you can add two more to the German national team. And two All-Stars at that: Chris Kaman and Dirk Nowitzki. You could say Germany's chances just got a lot better.

According to talkbasket.net, both Kaman and Dirk will even be with Germany during the BEKO-Supercup tournament in Bamberg Aug. 19-21, which is a warm-up.

Dirk had previously said he planned to play for his country because of the opportunity to qualify for the 2012 Olympics. But adding Kaman really increases Germany's chances. 

Kaman has dual citizenship between the United States and Germany, while of course Dirk is from Germany.

The competition is pretty stiff with France and Spain both looking very strong to go with the other number of quality countries. But Germany now has an anchor in Dirk and a solid post player in Kaman. They aren't quite a favorite, but certainly a team to be considered.

Posted on: July 21, 2011 6:16 pm
Edited on: July 21, 2011 10:29 pm
 

2011 NBA All-Star likeability rankings

Posted by Ben Golliver.

wade-durant-bryant

It's one thing to be great on the court. It's one thing to be famous. It's one thing to be marketable. It's one thing to be respected. 

But how do we throw all those attributes together? How do we determine which of the NBA's brightest stars are the most well-rounded? How do we put our finger on which stars capture the imagination, drop jaws and tug on the heart strings? 

It's an impossible task, but that didn't stop the Eye On Basketball staff from trying. Over the last week, we pinpointed five characteristics that combine to make NBA players likeable: "Ballin' Ability" (how good a guy is as a player), "Winning Attitude" (how dedicated he is to the game), "Talking Softly" (how he comes across in public comments), "Commerical Appeal" (how visible he is in advertisements) and "Public Works" (charitable contributions and other character-defining achievements).

Our panel of four experts ranked every member of the 2011 All-Star teams on a 1-5 scale in each of these five categories. We then added up all the scores to get a ranking on a 1 to 100 scale. The higher the number, the more likeable the player. Pretty simple stuff. 

Without further ado, here are the CBSSports.com 2011 NBA All-Star likeability rankings, from worst (least likeable) to first (most likeable). 

24. Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks: Johnson’s unassuming personality and solid perimeter game don’t stand much of a chance here due to his relatively invisible national profile and his team’s lack of playoff success. Score: 44

23. Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks: Horford suffers from the same low-profile problem as Johnson but is perceived as more of a winner because he took home NCAA hardware at the University of Florida, and his game is predicated on doing whatever it takes to get the job done rather than jacking jumpers. Score: 48

22. Chris Bosh, Miami Heat: Bosh is intelligent, articulate and gentle off the court and a versatile talent on the court, so he should be prettychris-bosh-tears likeable, at least in theory. His goofiness -- the photo shoots, the secret wedding, the screaming at the preseason parade -- has become off-putting now that he’s teamed up with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. His status as the league’s most obvious punch line hurts him here. A lot. Score: 54

T-20. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder: Still just a half-touch too far up the “might be crazy” scale to be totally likeable at this point in his career. Westbrook is still stuck in Kevin Durant’s shadow, although he showed with his fearless play in the 2011 postseason that he might one day eclipse KD in terms of sheer star power. Could be a fast riser in future renditions of these rankings, especially if he can cut down his turnovers and shake a developing reputation as a bit of a late-game ball hog. Saying something interesting after a game once in a while wouldn't hurt either. Score: 55

T-20. Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers: Much like the Lakers, Gasol took a step back in prominence this season when he didn’t show up as expected -- and as needed -- in the postseason. His gangly frame isn’t particularly marketable, at least not here in the United States, and while he is a true professional when it comes to the media, he’s known first and foremost as Kobe Bryant’s on-again, off-again punching bag. Score: 55

19. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics: More than anyone else on this list, Rondo genuinely doesn’t care what you think about him. He can come across as curt and moody, and doesn’t expend much energy playing the media game. His authenticity can’t be questioned, but it does keep casual fans at arm’s length. Score: 58

18. Manu Ginobili, San Antonio Spurs: An egoless star on an egoless team in an egoless organization in a relatively small market, Ginobili has never sought the bright lights. Even after all these years, the average fan doesn’t have much of a connection with him. There’s nothing not to like, but nothing that reaches out and grabs you either. Score: 59

17. Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets: Williams gets bonus points for his amazing annual dodgeball tournament and rose to a new level of renown this year thanks to a blockbuster trade and a trailblazing deal with Besiktas in Turkey. The rumored spats with Jerry Sloan that surfaced when the legendary Utah Jazz coach abruptly retired briefly painted a very unlikable picture, although that didn’t seem to bother him too much. Score: 61

16. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics: Beloved in Boston, Pierce’s personal likeability suffers a bit nationally because he’s almost always talked about as one of Boston’s Big Three, with Kevin Garnett usually getting top billing. He's a bit past his prime, which surely costs him some spots on this list. Score: 62

15. Ray Allen, Boston Celtics: Allen is pretty much in the same boat as Pierce, although he’s got an energetic mother (the ever-present Flo), a picture-perfect jump shot and an unforgettable silver screen performance (Jesus Shuttlesworth) to give him a bit of a boost. Score: 64

14. Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves: Love is the anti-Rondo, fully embracing the media attention, putting his self-kevin-love-smiledeprecating humor to full display whenever possible. He’s blogged, starred in viral videos and, let’s not forget, put up mammoth statistics through sheer hard work amidst a dysfunctional mess of a team. All while remaining sane. No easy task. Score: 65

T-12. Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics: Thanks to his on-court bullying antics and incessant trash talk, Garnett is as polarizing as anyone in the league, save LeBron James. But his reputation as a winner was sealed by Boston’s title, he’s been a fixture on the national endorsement circuit for years and his overwhelming competitive desire helps cover up some of the ugliness. Score: 66

 T-12. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks: Near the top of his game and playing in a major media market, Stoudemire keeps the dunks and quotes coming, so everyone stays happy. The fact that he abandoned Steve Nash immediately following a Western Conference Finals playoff run to take more money without catching any flak for it is a testament to how he’s carved out a major place in the nation’s heart in his own, quirky way. Score: 66

11. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks: Anthony’s steady focus during a half-season-long free agency and trade whirlwind last year won him a lot of goodwill, as does the fact that he’s put millions of dollars into both Syracuse University and Baltimore. Based on talent alone, Anthony should probably be higher on this list, but wife LaLa and his lack of playoff success hold him back. Score: 68

10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers: Griffin is still enjoying the “new-car smell” phase of his NBA fame. His audacious take-offs, explosive leaping and vicious finishing are so unique for a player his size that nobody much cares that he didn’t make the playoffs and still has a ways to go to fill out an all-around game. The centerpiece of All-Star Weekend in his very first visit, he’s got endorsements by the boatload and is arguably on the verge of over-exposure. He’s still a little stiff, but that seems to be fading. Once he gets a few playoff series wins under his belt, look for Griffin to be a perennial top-5 member on this list. Score: 71

9. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs: Duncan has been so good for so long -- and won so much -- that the respect factor afforded him is significant enough to make up for a bland, sometimes robotic, personality. Duncan can be subtly hilarious and occasionally sharp-tongued with the media. He is also unfailingly classy. Score: 72

8. LeBron James, Miami Heat: He should be No. 1 on every NBA list ever made given his otherworldly talent and global-marketinglebron-james-face-machine status, but James drops hard in terms of likeability due to his late-game failures in the 2011 NBA Finals, his out-of-touch comments towards fans following the Heat's eventual loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the self-unaware “Decision” and his overall child-star cockiness/obliviousness. Even given all of that, no one would be surprised if winning a title vaulted him to the top of this list next year. His talent is that absurd. Score: 74

7. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls: You might have heard: Rose is humble. The 2011 MVP has so much going for him: He’s won at an early age, he’s winning for his hometown team, he’s lived up to expectations, he’s taken responsibility for losses and shared credit for victories, he’s managed to be a scoring point guard without getting written off as “selfish,” and he kept a safe distance from all the free agency politicking that soured a lot of fans on many top-name players last summer. He continues to battle his “shy” public nature, which is the only thing holding him back from much, much greater fame. Score: 79

6. Chris Paul, New Orleans Hornets: Paul checks off virtually every box on the likeability list. He’s cutthroat on the court and cuddly off of it. He’s raised loads of money for Hurricane Katrina relief. He’s a devout man without being preachy. He comes across as a caring father and thoughtful citizen. He’s -- so far -- steered clear of hijacking his franchise by demanding a trade or threatening to walk in free agency. The touching story of his love for his deceased grandfather has become an indelible part of his identity. And he is team-first, always. There’s so much to like that you actually hope he finds a better situation, where he will be able to fill out his playoff reputation. Score: 81

5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks: This is the top of the mountain for Nowitzki, both on and off the court. It simply doesn’t get any better than captaining a balanced team through a marathon playoff run that ended with the demolition of the league’s most hated team. The cherry on top is the fact that Nowitzki came through in the clutch time and again. He’s put an ugly past relationship totally behind him, moving forward with a new fiancé. His personality with the media is easy-going and honest. He plays with a childish love of the game and hits shots that make you marvel. It’s hard to imagine another seven-foot German man gaining this level of acceptance and respect in the United States. Ever. Also, he’s squashed the “soft” label that haunted him for years. Score: 84

4. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic: Howard has deftly positioned himself as the heir apparent to Shaquille O’Neal, one of the most likeable NBA stars in recent memory. His dominant two-way play serves as the basis for a superhero persona, and his active online presence and numerous endorsement deals make his zany personality inescapable. The fact that he hasn’t committed to the Magic and could be headed for a free agency bonanza could cost him points down the road, but right now he’s still the giant, lovable teddy bear who can swat shots back to half court. Score: 85

T-2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat: It was a shocking scene when Wade joined James in mocking Nowitzki during the Finals for being sick: A very flat note for someone who has historically been pitch perfect. Throughout his career, Wade has been a Teflon Don, particularly charmed as a player and as an endorser. With a title under his belt and a megawatt smile, Wade has displayed a good sense of humor for years as a pitchman and also been a staple on NBA Cares commercials. Both James and Bosh lost points last summer for their decision to team up in Miami, but Wade came off as a big winner, the cool older-brother figure who pulled off the recruiting haul of a lifetime. Score: 87

kevin-durant-smile

T-2. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers: Colorado sure feels like a long, long time ago, doesn’t it? Bryant has made the most of the second half of his NBA career, winning rings by the fistful and growing his international popularity immensely. He’s played through pain, done things his way, taken a direct, often profane, tone with the media and become the closest thing to Jordan since Jordan. Age is slowly advancing, which has a way of humanizing people, and yet his ego and force of will push back equally hard, making it seem, at least for now, that his reign on top will last as long as he chooses. Right now, he’s the NBA’s most mythical figure. Score: 87

1. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder: Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s virtually impossible to find fault with the NBA’s scoring champ. Durant combines Rose’s humble nature, Nowitzki’s impossible scoring touch, Griffin’s “new-car smell,” Howard’s technological accessibility and a Bryant-esque work ethic. He’s polite, he’s shown he has what it takes to win in the playoffs at a young age, he’s popular on an international stage already and the best is yet to come. He’s confident, but not cocky. He’s a gunner, but he comes off as unselfish. He’s team-first and loyal, much like Paul, and he’s locked in long-term so there’s no doubt or question about his future motives (at least not yet). Put it all together, and Durant is enjoying the ultimate honeymoon period with the NBA fans. We love potential, and Durant still has plenty of that. Also, he wears a backpack. Score: 88







Posted on: July 13, 2011 3:30 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2011 3:53 pm
 

Dwyane Wade: NBA Finals loss still 'stings'

Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade says his team's NBA Finals loss still "stings." Posted by Ben Golliver.

dwyane-wade-loss
The thrill of victory. The agony of defeat.

On Tuesday, we listened intently as Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recounted the final moments of his team's 2011 NBA title victory over the Miami Heat.

Now, we get to revel in Miami Heat All-Star guard Dwyane Wade's pain thanks to the Sun-Sentinel.
"The sting is always going to be there when you lose," he said. "Obviously, it was my first time ever losing the Finals. The sting is there, no question about it. I joke with the kids. I said, 'All right, I'm going to make jokes about it. You guys are not going to ask me the question.' Because the first thing, when they ask questions, they want to know stuff. I make sure I shed some light on it in a sense-of-humor type of way, but the sting is there.
Wade went so far as to say he has avoided sports television so that he doesn't accidentally stumble upon basketball.
"I haven't watched ESPN in a long time," Wade said Wednesday morning, amid his youth basketball camp at Nova Southeastern University. "Sorry ESPN. I love the network and all. It's still hard to watch basketball. I'm used to basketball coming on any time, I'll have it tuned in."
For those who rolled their eyes when the Heat held their preseason parade and wanted to vomit when Wade and LeBron James mocked Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, Wade's description of his uncomfortable offseason is music to the ears.

For those expecting even more from the Big 3 in Miami in Year 2, these are welcome quotes too. Wade is already one of the most driven athletes in the league, but pain, properly channeled, can serve as excellent motivation.

Posted on: July 10, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: July 10, 2011 5:38 pm
 

What teams risk in a lockout: Southwest Division

Posted by Royce Young



Talk of losing an entire NBA season is a bit ridiculous. But it's a possibility. And with all this hardline talk going on, it seems like neither the players nor the owners are wanting to budge. There's incentive for teams to get a deal done and not just for the money, but because a year without basketball and more importantly, basketball operations, could greatly affect each and every NBA franchise.

Earlier, we took a look at the Southeast, Atlantic and Central Divisions. Let's continue on with the rough and tumble, yet aging, Southwest Division.

New Orleans Hornets

The Hornets easily present the most interesting lockout case of any team in my mind. First off, the league owns them. Secondly, and related to that, Chris Paul is a free agent in 2012. The league took on the responsibility of the Hornets because David Stern wasn't about to see a franchise lost on his watch and wants to do everything he can to keep the team there.

But a prolonged lockout resulting in a lost season really might end professional basketball in New Orleans. Chris Paul would have the ability to walk with the Hornets never having an chance to get anything in return, meaning the one draw the team has could be gone and the already struggling franchise might not have anything to show for his exit. On top of that, David West opted out and is an unrestricted free agent currently. So not only could the roster be entirely turned over, the already suspect fanbase might take another blow.

Now of course if Stern and the owners can negotiate a deal that makes a franchise like the Hornets profitable no matter what, then the league can sell the team and potentially pocket a bit. That's obviously something in the back of Stern's mind. The Hornets really make this lockout all the more intriguing because now Stern has a stake in things directly. He's not just the mediator trying to produce a good system for his league, but he's an owner too now.

Dallas Mavericks

Here's one benefit of a prolonged lockout: The Mavs get to be champs for two years instead of one. Bonus? I don't think they'd think so. Especially because the window the Mavs have to remain serious contenders isn't going to stay open much longer. Dirk is aging, Jason Kidd is like 78 and there are a bunch of questions surrounding players like Tyson Chandler, Caron Butler and J.J. Barea.

Mark Cuban is a big market owner, but I can see him as someone leaning toward making sure there is basketball over the owners guaranteeing profits. He's a fan first and foremost and he's tasted the top of the mountain. Granted, he gets the chance to soak it up a little longer, but if he wants his roster to keep going, losing a year might be the beginning of the end for the current Mavs.

San Antonio Spurs

There's no hiding that the Spurs are getting older. A year lost means another year tacked on to Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. A year lost means Gregg Popovich gets a little older and as the longest tenured coach in the league, he might not have many left. The Spurs have a fanbase that will absolutely return in force and Peter Holt is maybe the finest owner in the league, especially in terms of managing a small market franchise, but I'm sure a year of lost basketball isn't something that sits well.

Holt obviously would love a system that levels the playing field a bit and helps smaller markets on the road to basking in the same light the Lakers, Bulls and Knicks get, but basketball is a priority in San Antonio. The window won't be open much longer. Even Tony Parker acknowledged that. And that roster still wants to try and make one more run at it all.

Memphis Grizzlies
Really, Michael Heisley probably isn't all that terrified from losing a season. He's a small market owner who has spent big as of late and saving money on Rudy Gay, Zach Randolph and Mike Conley isn't all bad for him. The core of the team, sans Marc Gasol, is all locked up long-term so while a lost season would mean missing out on all the positive movement and momentum from last season, there's still a lot of opportunity ahead for Memphis.

Still, it's a risk to mess with a potentially fragile fanbase like the Grizzlies'. The FedEx Forum has never been known to be full, but during the postseason run, the Grizzlies emerged with one of the most passionate, loyal crowds in the league. There's clearly something working right now and Heisley and the Grizzlies don't want to jade and sour those fans that have come around by damaging all that goodwill they worked so hard to build.

Houston Rockets
Hard for me to guess how the Rockets see this thing. They are an in-between franchise, not necessarily small market but not big either. Their roster is set up to withstand a lockout and return with good pieces intact. They don't have any major lingering free agents of concern.

What I think would scare them a bit though is missing out on the opportunity to compete in the trade market for players like Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Deron Williams all season long though. The Rockets have quality trade pieces and good assets to dangle in front of teams and I'm sure Daryl Morey would have some interesting proposals to make. Sure there's always 2012's free agency but opening it up to that puts the Rockets a bit behind the other, more intriguing, brighter markets. A sign-and-trade might be their best chance to land that superstar player Morey so desperately wants.
Posted on: July 8, 2011 9:50 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2011 10:19 pm
 

Yao Ming retires: Round table discussion

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has retired. Here's a roundtable discussion about what it means. Posted by EOB staff.

yao-ming

Matt Moore: Is Yao Ming a Hall of Famer?

I'm leaning towards no. He only had two 20-10 seasons where he played over 60 games. There's the Chinese cultural impact and the fact that he was the best center in the league from 2006-2009. But other than that, I'm having a hard time justifying his entry to the Hall.

Ben Golliver: Definitely not based on his NBA record. Didn't play enough games, win enough playoff series, take home enough individual hardware or influence the game's development. But he will get in like Arvydas Sabonis did on the international side for sure. And more than deservedly so. He was a pivotal factor in both the game's spreading influence into China and China's growing interest in the game.

Royce Young: I'm with Ben. There's no denying the impact he made and how important of a player he was to expanding the NBA's global brand, but in terms of what he did on the floor, I don't think so. His 2006-07 season was outstanding, but a lot of players have had really nice isolated seasons here and there.

No doubt he'd be one if injuries hadn't sidelined him, but that's part of it and the reality is, he just didn't play enough.

But in terms of an international Hall of Famer, absolutely. In terms of an NBA one, he simply didn't play enough. I don't think there's a special exception just because someone had a cultural impact (I mean, he's not exactly Jackie Robinson here). It's about what you did and didn't do on the court.

Matt Moore: Let's say he'd stayed healthy. What would his career ceiling have been?

Ben Golliver: Exactly halfway between Mark Eaton and Shaquille O'Neal.

Royce Young: He played in eight seasons and at his size, I don't really think he would've played more than one or two more anyway. He just would've had really nice numbers. He finished with what, 19-9 for his career? I bet he would've been like 22-10 and been, along with Shaq, one of the most dominant players in the league for a decade. Surefire Hall of Famer if he had stayed healthy.

Matt Moore: If Yao had stayed healthy, would we consider Dwight Howard's career differently? I can see making the argument for Yao being better than Dwight all the way until 2009, which slightly impacts Dwight's overall impressiveness.

Ben Golliver: I think Yao, unfortunately, will always be an overlooked oddity when we talk about the history of big men. Because of his outsider status and unprecedented size/skill set, Yao had Dirk Nowitzki's predicament of needing to win a title to justify (and explain) himself, only taken to a whole new level.

I just don't think he ever would inch his way into the American lineage without a ring or an MVP award (or two). It's just way too easy for history to trace from Abdul-Jabbar to Olajuwon (who gets a pass because he played for a high-profile college here in the States and went on to win rings) to Robinson to O'Neal to Howard. I'm not saying that's fair or how it should be, but I think that's his lot in life even if he had been healthier and 10%+ more productive.

Royce Young: There is an almost irrational thing about if a big man is truly good, he'll lead you to a title. But that's obviously not true. Patrick Ewing taught us that.

I really think if Yao had been fully healthy for 10 straight seasons, he'd have an MVP. Maybe not a title, but he'd have been one of the five scariest matchups night-to-night in the league.

Ben Golliver: Ewing is a great example because I just totally left him out of the lineage (because he didn't win a title when multiple people playing concurrently did?). He's the extraneous one in the Olajuwon/Robinson/Ewing trio, right? And he even had the biggest market team, plenty of deep playoff exposure and a high-profile American college to his advantage, which Yao didn't. Once a dominant center leads a team to a title post-Shaq, I think Yao is even more doomed.

If we're looking to spin a resolution somewhat positively, I think it's best to remember Yao as one of a kind than as one in a line.
Posted on: July 7, 2011 12:32 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2011 12:43 pm
 

Tyson Chandler keeping all options open

Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler says he is keeping all of his options open in free agency. Posted by Ben Golliver. tyson-chandler

Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler is in line for a big payday. And he seems to understand that better than anyone else.

ESPNDallas.com reports that Chandler is keeping all his options open publicly, refusing to lean toward a return to the 2011 NBA title-winning Mavericks.

"It's a great point in my career, and I'm coming up under free agency and there's a lot of great teams out there, a lot of great opportunities out there, a lot of up-and-building things," Chandler said Wednesday in a phone interview. "So, I mean, I've got to take a look at all that. I've got to take everything into consideration, and the good thing is I'm on a good side. I'm coming off an incredible year, so it's not a situation where it's worrisome."

"It's going to be a lot that comes into play," Chandler said. "I've got a family, so I want to make sure I put my family in a good situation, where my kids will be comfortable going to school, being able to adjust. That's my No. 1 priority. Being on the court, my surroundings, my teammates, the organization, the history of the organization, our chances, the type of impact I'll make. All that stuff is going to come into play. It's a long list."

Chandler is very shrewd to remain noncommittal. Why? Because all the elements exist for Chandler to receive a sizeable contract, and there's zero risk in alienating Mavericks owner Mark Cuban or Dallas fans, who both understand his value intimately and are highly motivated -- if not desperate -- to ensure that he returns. 

Here's a partial list of things Chandler has going in his favor. He is the No. 3 ranked overall free agent on the market this year, headlining what is otherwise a weak crop. He plays a high-demand position, and he's shown the ability to defend elite players at that position. He's about to turn 29, so he's still in the prime of his career.

He was durable and reliable in 2010-2011, appearing in 74 games after playing a combined 96 in the two previous seasons because of injuries. He nearly averaged a double-double -- 10.1 points and 9.4 rebounds -- and the Mavericks have no other answer on their roster to replace that production. His skillset -- defense, rebounding, protecting the paint -- is a perfect complement to the team's franchise player, forward Dirk Nowitzki, and difficult to obtain on the open market (essentially impossible for the Mavericks to obtain without sacrificing other pieces because they are over the cap). His personality and locker-room presence are highly valued.

Add that all up and Chandler clearly realizes he is in line for a substantial contract from the Mavericks. Those same factors make him valued by bad teams looking to stabilize or playoff contenders looking for a centerpiece to put them over the top. Given Dallas' recent success, the hole that would exist if he left and Cuban's demonstrated ability to spend what it takes to keep things together, by far the most likely outcome here is that Chandler returns to the Mavericks.

But he's smart to play coy and remain patient to ensure that decision comes with the best possible financial reward.
Posted on: July 6, 2011 12:12 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2011 12:24 pm
 

Dirk is thinking about playing for Germany

Posted by Royce Young

Qualifying for the 2012 Olympics in London starts next month in Lithuania, and the German team might be getting a boost -- a boost from a NBA champion and Finals MVP, in fact.

Dirk Nowitzki told Spiegel Online International that he wants to play for his native Germany in the qualifying tournament.

"It looks that way, assuming that I finally get healthy," Nowitzki said. "I have been carrying a flu bug around with me for four weeks. It makes no sense to play in the European championships if I am only halfway healthy; neither for me nor for my teammates."

That's cool news and all, Dirk, but wait a second: You've had the flu for the past month? I guess that whole being sick thing was no joke. (You hear that Wade and LeBron?)

But Dirk's reason for wanting to play for his home country is simple: He wants to make sure the Germans are actually in the London Games in 2012.

"And that's why I definitely want to play," Nowitzki said. "I don't want to ruin the others' chances of participating in the Olympics. To qualify, we have to finish at least sixth at the European championships."

Obviously if Germany were to qualify, Dirk would play in the Olympics, but you've got to get there first. As he said, Germany needs to finish sixth at the European championships, which they have a good chance of doing.

Posted on: June 30, 2011 9:43 am
Edited on: June 30, 2011 1:51 pm
 

Behold Lego Dirk

Posted by Matt Moore

Here is a picture of a giant, Lego version of Dirk Nowitzki.

 

(Via Chuck Cooperstein, play-by-play voice of the Mavs, on Twitter.) 

From the Dallas Morning News:   
The statue, made completely of Lego building blocks and an accompanying replica of the NBA championship trophy, made from about 4,000 yellow Legos, were shipped in from Germany, then reconstructed by Cal Walsh, the master model builder at Legoland Discovery Center. Like the real Nowitzki seemed to be during the NBA playoff run, the Lego Dirk is steel-rod reinforced and will be on display for an indefinite run.
Via Nowitzki credited with 40,000 blocks? Lego creates Dirk statue | Dallas Mavericks News - Sports News for Dallas, Texas - SportsDayDFW.

There are so many perks that come with winning a title, on top of all the perks of being an NBA player, on top of all the perks of being a hero in your own country. So pretty much Dirk Nowitzki is living the life right now.

Interesting note, they were going to put the statue of Dirk in the position of the patented fadeaway, but it's physically impossible for anyone else that height to do that.
Category: NBA
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com