Dirk Nowitzki isn’t the athlete he used to be. Granted, he was never an amazing physical specimen like LeBron James, but now Dirk is 38, and he’s definitely slowed down. Fortunately, his sense of humor and general good spirits remain intact, which is obvious in his response to a recent critique of his defense.
Kevin Pelton, a fine basketball writer for ESPN, has been writing a ton of player profiles in the lead up to the upcoming NBA season. In his assessment of Nowitzki, he writes: “Age has taken a greater toll on Nowitzki defensively. He runs like he’s stuck in cement, an issue in transition defense, defending fellow stretch bigs and against the pick-and-roll.”
This is a fair criticism of Nowitzki at this stage of his career, and it seems Dirk doesn’t necessarily disagree. Somebody on Twitter asked what Nowitzki thought of this assessment of his defensive game. Dirk responded, “It used to be quick sand. Now it’s full-on dry cement … ”
Not only is Nowitzki not one of those athletes who refuses to hear criticisms of himself, he’s actually able to joke about his shortcomings. On top of that, his joke is actually pretty funny, which is exceedingly rare for an athlete. This is another example of why Dirk is the best, and why we will miss him when he’s gone.