Next up? My list of the five players in the NBA with the most heart. As always with these things, my list is my own and there are really no right answers (obviously this will not stop someone in the comments section from telling me that I suck because I left off Tyler Hansbrough or something ridiculous like that). These are the five guys who bring it on the court every single night, no matter the situation. They are the guys who battle through injury and adversity and who would rather die than give in and take an L.
5. Dirk Nowitzki – No, he’s not the most physical player in the NBA, but you don’t have bowl people over like Craig “The Rhino” Smith to have heart. Dirk is a killer. He gets the sh*t beat out of him every single night by defenders who think they can beat him up to get him out of his game and he keeps coming back for more, again and again.
Look no further than last year’s NBA Finals against a Miami Heat team that was more talented and more athletic than Dirk’s Mavs by miles. Given a return to the stage where the Heat had stolen his title a few years prior, there was no way Dirk was going to allow Dallas to lose. He put his team on his back, battled more minutes, scored more points, and pulled more rebounds than he did during the regular season and hit big shot after big shot.
This season he’s struggling a bit, but is still getting after it every night. Even with his struggles, he played this past weekend’s Double OT tilt with the Portland Trail Blazers like it was Game 7.