Like the opposite of Magic, reverse the number 32.
If I was to say think of the number 23 who would come to mind?
The greatest of all-time!
If I was to then tell you to think of the number 24 who would you then think of?
How about the number 41 though?
Who else but Dirk?
Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks. On legendary, first-name iconic basis.
Well soon you’ll know what the number 77 is all about.
The kid out in Texas. The Maverick rookie from Slovenia. Luka Dončić.
When young Luka was born, Dirk was just a rookie with the skinny of the NBA thinking Dallas made the biggest, most laughable mistake of their franchise history in drafting the great German.
Turns out taking him 9th in ’98 was a steal. As Nowitzki turned out to actually not only be the teams best, but also the greatest international player of all-time not named Drazen. His place in the Hall is as secure as the fact that no Maverick will ever wear the number 41 again. Even though every other kid in Europe without a 23 (from Jordan to now James) growing up will. As his jersey will join the banner this champion raised in matrimony like a ring on his finger.
But will that come at the season end of this year?
Dirk has a one year deal left. The ink will barely dry on his summer signature before its all up. And then it looks like the man who spent his entire career with the Mavericks who (with good reason) never gave up on him (from Steve Nash to Jason Kidd), will be done. Calling it a day and a career we should enjoy and cherish while it lasts like British citizens travelling Europe with their passport (Hello!). Nowitzki is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time regardless of where he was born. It’s time to start treating him as such, whilst we still can.
But with that being said this article isn’t about him.
With that in mind this article is about whose going to replace him.
And we aren’t talking about the sophomore star Dennis Smith Jr. A Slam Dunk no contest worthy champ who can jump over anybody and anything…except his American Airlines ceiling busting potential.
We aren’t talking about Jordan. DeAndre. The free agent Dallas finally got like their man. Just a couple of years too Clipper clipped late.
We aren’t even talking about Harrison Barnes.
But they sure make for one hell of a team with their number (forty) one leader who is still lacing them until he hangs them up, in this revolving door franchise that seem to have only kept the shaggy haired kid and treated everyone else like the blonde bomber does combs.
And now like the circle of court life this young Simba who can’t wait to be king looks to take over from Musafa. Hakuna Matata. In what may be Dirk Nowitzki’s swan song, a rookie who no one doubts this time (thanks to not only himself…but Dirk breaking down NBA basketball’s borders) looks to take the torch like the mic passed.
But when we say Luka Dončić could be the new Dirk, we aren’t ignorantly saying this because he’s from international waters. We’re saying this because with oceans on its own talent like Luka’s, it all just flows perfectly. Seamlessly. Like a stream of consciousness. The natural basketball order of things. Bank, net, check ball. All a culmination of where you’re going and where you’ve been. Past and present. Legacy and legend all in mind.
Rookie of the Year? Don’t settle for just that when you could have this franchises future face and Most Valuable Player. The third pick in this years draft could lead the future big-three once the one who knocks down even bigger ones from behind the arc is finally beaten by the buzzer. He’s already showed out in the preseason.
Running the team like he does the floor…and he isn’t even a Point Guard. He’s already been on the best Basketball Bible magazine cover in the world in SLAM (who declared him, “the best international prospect ever”) before the day of the draft. Thanks to already being a basketball superstar on a worldwide scale since his sweet sixteenth. Helping turn the Real Madrid hoops team into one as skillful as their soccer big brother like Pau and Marc did Barcelona.
And even before the student becomes the master, with mentoring on everything and everywhere from downtown to how to handle being an international star in a foreign country of these United States. Dirk and Dončić can at least cross off the calendar for a season and still dynamic duo, partner up like David Robinson and Tim Duncan whilst they still can. For what we hope lasts as long as Basketball God willing possible.
It ain’t over. But it now all begins with the kid that we hope turns out like we wish Ricky Rubio (still a generation great) did. The next one after Dirk that kind of reminds us of Drazen. Or his own legend yet to be seen, but appearing to us in flashes of brilliance we hope never meets the pan once he goes into the fire for real regular season burn in the NBA that’s about to be put on notice.
Double seven is about to be the seal that takes this Texan team to the top of the triangle. Clicking like the Spurs. Whilst Houston you have a you know what. You see that Mavericks road jersey with the neon Dallas skyline above its name?
The city like it’s futuristic look is his!