For the uninitiated, Celtics color commentator Tommy Heinsohn is one of biggest homers in NBA announcing. The former player won eight titles in nine years as part of Bill Russell’s dynasty in the 1960s, and now it’s like there’s a leprechaun whispering crazy junk into his ear during games. We love him here at DIME, but sometimes the schtick wears a little thin. You can count Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki as one of those people a little annoyed with all that shamrock-heavy shouting.
Dirk wasn’t too keen when Tommy told TV views on Monday that third-year forward Kelly Olynyk “has the potential to be better than Dirk Nowitzki.”
When ESPN’s Tim MacMahon told Dirk about the comments after the game, he very politely disagreed:
“Yeah, I mean, I like the kid. I’m just not sure about all that. But I really do like him. He’s a good shooter. He’s improved from year to year, so I do wish him the best. He can be a really good player, but I don’t know if his ceiling is all the way up there.”
Yeah, as MacMahon points out, Olynyk only needs 27,162 more points to tie Dirk for No. 6 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. No big deal.
Nowitzki added that Olynyk’s “got a long way to go, but that’s the nicest way the big German could put it. Kelly Olynyk is a solid rotation player with range from beyond the arc and a nose for the ball. He’s performed admirably since Dallas selected him out of Gonzaga with the No. 13 pick in 2013 before he was dealt to Boston.
But the game where Heinsohn made his hyperbolic proclamation proves our point. Monday night was a 118-113 win by the Mavs in overtime where Dirk dropped a game-high 31 points and hit a huge three-pointer from the near corner with 35 seconds left in the extra session.
Sorry, Kelly, but you’re not even in the same stratosphere as the greatest European import in NBA history.