Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been no stranger to headlines lately. He most recently weighed in on Donald Trump’s xenophobia toward Muslims in a scathing op-ed that appeared in Time. But he also took yet another opportunity during a recent interview to fire a shot at Dirk Nowitzki, who has become one of his favorite targets lately.
You might recall that, back in September, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer dismissed Dirk as little more than a “volume or streak shooter.” Well, the Lakers legend doubled down on his tepid appraisal of the Big German in an otherwise wide-ranging conversation on social issues with Tyler Cowen of the Mercatus Center:
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Has there been an unstoppable move in the NBA since the skyhook? And I bring up Dirk’s fadeaway.
ABDUL-JABBAR: You asked about Dirk Nowitzki. 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.
In fairness to Kareem, sure, Dirk’s patented step-back might not be as unstoppable as the skyhook. But this was yet another missed opportunity for the five-time champ to say something positive about Nowitzki’s surefire Hall-of-Fame career instead of continually trying to diminish his many, many accomplishments in the NBA. In case Kareem didn’t know, some of those accolades include an NBA title and a Finals MVP, a regular-season MVP, 13 All-Star appearances, four All-NBA First Team selections, one of the most dominant 50-40-90 seasons ever, and a spot in the top six of the NBA’s All-Time scoring list — just a few rungs under Kareem.
Dirk has many tricks, but perhaps his best was tricking people into thinking he’s a one-trick pony. If Kareem is looking for testimonials from some of Dirk’s peers, LeBron and D-Wade would be a good pair to start with.