On Tuesday, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar offered strange criticism of Dirk Nowitzki -- that is, the sure-to-be Hall of Famer, MVP, NBA champion, NBA Finals MVP, 13-time All-Star and 12-time All-NBA Dirk Nowitzki.
In an interview, Abdul-Jabbar took a question from the audience and called Dirk a "one-trick pony" who hadn't had a "dominant" career. We responded to those comments shortly afterwards, showing exactly why they're wrong, so be sure to read that. On Wednesday, Dirk gave his own response.
"I mean, it's actually not the first time he said some stuff," Nowitzki told ESPN's Tim MacMahon. "I'm not sure why. I guess he's not a big fan of my game, which is OK. But I like to think I was dominant at some point -- especially on the offensive end -- of my career, in my prime. It is what it is. People have opinions. He's one of the greatest ever to play the game, so I'm not going to get in a war of words. I respect his opinion. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it is what it is."
That's the diplomatic, respectable answer that we've come to expect from Nowitzki, who has never been one to be critical of anyone except himself. Abdul-Jabbar can say whatever he wants, really, but the truth is that there was backlash about his comments from all over the NBA landscape. Yahoo's Eric Freeman wrote a valuable rebuttal, for example. Several members of The Starters defended the Big German. Nowitzki is beloved not just by Mavericks fans, but by pretty much the entire league, and almost nobody feels the way Abdul-Jabbar does.
Dirk continued to MacMahon: "I don't want to get into throwing stats around, because his are obviously way better than mine. But I don't think you can average 25 and 10 over your playoff career and not be dominant. I don't think you can get to sixth in scoring in this league over 18 years and not be at some point at least somewhat dominant."