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Dirk Nowitzki responds to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's comments on career

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki respectfully disagrees with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's opinion that Nowitzki is a "one-trick pony" who has not had a "dominant career."

"I mean, it's actually not the first time he said some stuff," Nowitzki, the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history, told ESPN.com after scoring 28 points for the Dallas Mavericks in Wednesday's 93-90 loss to the Miami Heat. "I'm not sure why. I guess he's not a big fan of my game, which is OK. But I like to think I was dominant at some point -- especially on the offensive end -- of my career, in my prime.

"It is what it is. People have opinions. He's one of the greatest ever to play the game, so I'm not going to get in a war of words. I respect his opinion. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it is what it is."

Abdul-Jabbar, a six-time champion and the league's all-time leading scorer, made his comments during an appearance at George Mason University this week. He was asked whether there has been an unstoppable shot since his sky hook, with Nowitzki's one-legged fadeaway suggested as a possibility.

"You asked about Dirk Nowitzki," Abdul-Jabbar said. "Dirk Nowitzki's shot is very hard to block, but I don't think that he was able to have a dominant career because he couldn't do other things. If he could have shot like that and rebounded and played defense and blocked shots, then he would have been all-around, and he would have gotten more credit. He was like a one-trick pony.

"You want guys that can shoot like that on your team. I'm not saying that he lacked value, but he would have been considered at a higher level if he had done more on the court other than just shoot the ball."

Nowitzki acknowledged that he never had the kind of impact that Abdul-Jabbar did as a defender and rebounder, but he noted that he worked his way to being a "decent" rebounder, averaging as many as 9.9 per game in a season twice.

Nowitzki said he is also proud that he went from being "strictly a spot-up shooter" to a versatile offensive threat who punished opponents in the post, off the dribble and with his jump shot.

Nowitzki has made 13 All-Star appearances and has also earned league MVP and Finals MVP honors. He was the lone All-Star on two Finals teams, including the 2010-11 NBA champions.

With Nowitzki as the face of the franchise, the Mavs had 11 consecutive 50-win seasons. During that stretch, one of Nowitzki's teammates was selected as an All-Star only five times, including two occasions as injury replacements.

"I don't think you can average 25 and 10 over your playoff career and not be dominant. I don't think you can get to sixth in scoring in this league over 18 years and not be at some point at least somewhat dominant."

Dirk Nowitzki

Only three other teams in NBA history have had a decade-long run with at least 50 wins in each season: Bill Russell's Boston Celtics, the Los Angeles Lakers with Magic Johnson and Abdul-Jabbar, and Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs.

The list of players with career playoff averages of at least 25 points and 10 rebounds per game is similarly short: Nowitzki and Hall of Famers Elgin Baylor, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bob Pettit.

"I don't want to get into throwing stats around, because his are obviously way better than mine," Nowitzki said. "But I don't think you can average 25 and 10 over your playoff career and not be dominant. I don't think you can get to sixth in scoring in this league over 18 years and not be at some point at least somewhat dominant."