Dirk Nowitzki passed Hakeem Olajuwon last night for ninth on the league’s all-time points list, becoming basketball’s top international scorer in the process. It’s poetic that Olajuwon is the legend Nowitzki usurped for the latter milestone especially. Both players revolutionized the way we think about big men with play that could be encapsulated in an unstoppable signature move: Dirk’s one-legged fade and Hakeem’s Dream Shake.
Asked after Tuesday’s game if he ever wanted to replicate Olajuwon’s move, Nowitzki offered a typically self-deprecating and humorous response – his classic shot is indeed an adaptation of the Dream Shake.
Nowitzki was asked if he has aspirations to copy Olajuwon’s patented “Dream Shake”. He conceded that he doesn’t quite have the athleticism to replicate the move.
“I came up with a shot where I just have to basically lean back, don’t be athletic at all and just hoist it up,” said Nowitzki.
“I came up with my own ‘Dream Shake’ I guess — the white version.”
Dirk is the best.
It’s also worth pointing out that while Nowitzki’s fadeaway doesn’t quite take the dexterity and general athleticism of The Dream’s series of fakes, pivots, and shimmies, there’s a reason why other players haven’t enjoyed much success implementing it in games – it’s simply really hard to maintain balance while shooting off one foot and falling away from the basket. Especially for a seven-footer.
Plus, that Dirk’s move takes less athleticism to complete than Hakeem’s is actually a benefit for the German. Nowitzki is 36 years-old and showing no signs of slowing down this season. By contrast, Olajuwon – with all due respect, of course – was a shell of his dominant self by the time he reached his late thirties, feeling constant effects of knee and back pain. Should Nowitzki endure similar injuries, he could still pull-off the one-legged fade in theory; Dream, on the other hand, was sapped of the mobility it took to perform the Shake.
Which move is better? You won’t find us making such a choice. But Dirk’s “white Dream Shake” is definitely more sustainable, and has him primed to continue climbing the individual scoring ranks for the next couple seasons.
What do you think?
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