A single, subtle spotlight shone on superstar Maverick Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas as he held a microphone at his centre court stage like the chairman of the board Frank Sinatra. The good German gunner retiring his way.
At the love in of mid-February in Charlotte, North Carolina for the Basketball mid-season classic of the NBA All-Star Weekend, Dirk was named as a special honorary legendary addition to ‘Team Giannis’ squad. A fellow seven foot unicorn and Greek Freak of nature (but if Antetokounmpo is the most versatile big man of all-time it’s because Nowitzki is the most revolutionary) this European legend helped inspire like teammates Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis (which in that order after Dirk may go down as the three best international basketball players of all-time). A best foreign big-three of all-time unfortunately now we will never see together play in the Texan triangle big-three, holy trinity. After Dirk has battled everyone from Tim Duncan’s in San Antonio to the Houston Rockets James Harden all alone for two decades plus. Alongside the rocking retiring tour chair of Dwyane Wade for his best friend, ‘Team LeBron’. And swapping jerseys in this gift of an exchanged season it’s been quite a show of in harmony, symbolic synchronicity of symmetry for these former final rivals with their own chips they brushed off their shoulders to come together for one photograph finish this year in uniform unity.
And even last night in a flash of lasts for this weeks grand finale of NBA history in this storied season, that has seen the San Fran Warriors to be play in the Golden State of Oakland for the very last time, Dirk scored 30 too (along with collecting 8 rebounds, 3 assists and a block) against a scorched Suns (though Sixth Man super sub legend worthy of his own parade Jamal Crawford had 51 to become the first player in NBA history to hit 50 for four different clubs) like Dwyane against the Sixers. All for a combined Kobe final 60 (although this 40 year old franchise lifer you once free agent cold called did it off 30 shots Bean as he checked your box score) for these Mamba era mentality legends as both called game and it a career for the record book memories of those who changed the association from big threes to bigs who could shoot the three. Superteams to seven foot unicorn stores like Captain Marvels.
And how fitting for the great downtown hope of Larry Bird with the shot to introduce him (along with heroes Scottie Pippen, Charles Barkley and Seattle Supersonics legends Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf) at the half for a full tribute that shed tears you simply couldn’t help to wipe away? As after the Wade’s world waltz of the One Last Dance season of number 3 really gave us the 82 game time to savour and celebrate all he’s done on court as we wished him on his way of Wade, after weighing up the love for the game pros and injury riddled cons all stunted season, Dirk put it plainly in a simple sentence as we might have expected, “this is my last home game”. As a big disbelief, disappointed “aww” erupted. Followed by a chorus of cheers that stood in auditorium decibel audible ovation.
One exit last night on a red carpet, the other out the back door. One more celebratory. The other more subtley so. But neither wrong. Both just done with class in their own, unique individual way. Just like the players and professionals they were and remain will always be. And if Dwyane is top three in all-time Shooting Guards, then Dirk is the greatest of all-time when it comes to players shooting from other shores. His lethal fadeaway from deep may as well have been as far back as his home country for your Euro-step, let alone the three point line. It belongs right next to Kareem’s hook or M.J.’s fade as one of the greatest, most unstoppable shots in L history. The most beautiful parquet perfect sight to behold from the elbow to the nosebleeds.
But how this man changed the game is in more than this blonde bombers shaggy shot and the one he had and now others do in this league, with that ingrained in the surface of the Spalding will to never give up as you fingertip spin the ball on your palms by the seams of beyond the arc.
All you have to do is look to the future to see what this monumental man has built like the statue that will one day reside outside a Dallas, Texas who once thought, “who the hell is this kid”?
A Hall of Famer people.
So whilst they clink Budweiser’s for Dwyane out in the talented Wade County of South Beach bringing and saying goodbye to the Heat, it’s time to light a Cuban for this stogies last cigar now his career is endgame ash.
The west will never be this wild again without this long range gun. But at least after this last home-stand one of our generations greats will have one last run at the Alamo in San Antonio for a Texas derby ride this Thursday.
After 21 seasons number 41 is done after one last game, for just one team, after all this time. And now it’s all on to the double 7.
Danke Dirk. Let’s look for Luka.
Long live the Maverick.
But please not you too Vince. Not just yet.
Boogie’s Productions Down Again
Cousins injured again…we can’t relate to that.
When former Sacramento star and New Orleans Pelican DeMarcus Cousins joined the Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green Golden State Warriors to begin last season critics dubbed this superteam unfair.
What was unfair however was the ACL injury that kept Boogie sidelined for most of the season and then the quad injury on top of that in the playoffs that made sure the Warriors wouldn’t be dancing in their final chapter in Golden State.
But as D.C. made a Cali move too like the Dubs across the Golden Gate to San Francisco, heading to LeBron’s Lakerland with former frontcourt friend Anthony Davis, what was really unfair is what’s just come out of a practice run this week.
Cousins has tore his ACL again in a horrible twist of fate.
This games God’s people.
When DeMarcus reunited with the same former New Orleans big man that rocked his jersey in beautiful All Star tribute a couple of seasons back when they briefly flew together as Pelicans this Summer, the Lakers furthered their favourite status like tapping that heart on Twitter. Even if the Clippers ended up being the ones that got Kawhi Leonard…and Paul George too for the new battle of Los Angeles, raging against the Lakers Hollywood machine, the Lake Show have the ‘Space Jam 2’ of the King and the ‘brow. Not to mention the difference maker like rising star Kyle Kuzma in the veteran one of Cousins.
Either one of them will blow, or both, as the other will show he’s still got it. Giving the West’s best the biggest force of an interchangeable frontcourt. As the Lakers could either go with the more muscle version of a Tim Duncan and David Robinson twin towers in the Pelican reunited Kentucky Wildcats of Davis and Cousins and ‘Bron. Or the most dynamic duo since Shaq and Kobe of James and A.D. and the one young core star who didn’t get switched for this franchise player in Kuz, who could form a big three if the injured Cousins isn’t already still a part of one. Despite the writing off medical report.
And we haven’t even got to his Kentucky alumni Rajon Rondo led backcourt, or last year’s all dunking and blocking big headband and hair spark JaVale McGee. A gym rat who re-upped after almost going for both the Defensive Player Of The Year and Most Improved Player award in the first month of last seasons 82 campaign.
The Lakers are going to need him and that first wind of last year now more than ever.
Or the California club have some decisions to make for who to put in purple and gold for their almost meant to be final roster spot (DON’T AMNESTY!). Do they still wait for another former Warrior in Sixth Man, defensive legend Andre Igudola? Or do they leave him and the long rumoured other Anthony in Carmelo and pick up another big? Guys like Nené, Amir Johnson, Joakim Noah, Kenneth Faried, Zaza Pachulia and Marcin Gortat are still on the market like fresh fruit stalls. And even Dwight Howard of all people have expressed (more like blatantly begged for publicity) for a return to Lakerland after his Hollywood divorce.
Because we have no idea when Boogie will be back. Or if he will even be the same player when he returns. Or if he even was before this injury happened. But despite history rewriting so many careers crippled by injury we still believe. We still believe he has superstar status and could be the X-factor difference maker when he returns late in the game to this Hollywood scripted rivalry like he almost was last season in the Finals against Toronto as he flips it. You saw him almost become a Splash Brother with that three, so just you wait until you see him downtown in STAPLES this season when it’s all said and buzzer beater done.
The bridge is far from over.
New Nike Philadelphia Seventies Sixers Jerseys Are A Classic Edition
Philadelphia soul on ice.
Ever since Nike partnered up with the NBA like ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ there has been a fast and furious release of rock solid jerseys for the hardwood over the last couple of seasons. From the Association, to the Icon’s and Statement’s made. Last year the ‘Just Do It’ swoosh even helped Basketball’s best put on a vest for the City. Adding even more to the closet collection when it came to some alternates for the teams that made the postseason push to the playoffs.
But now if you thought fo, fo, four jerseys that have at least one changing by the year was enough for your locker room or throwback budget, then just you wait. Because all these fits and drips may be iconic, but Nike are about to release an addition that really is Classic for the five man team. Over the next calendar the Classic Edition jerseys will belong to only 12 franchises in this 30 strong league. Less than half for the next year that we hope includes some storied Lakers and Celtics duds.
But what better team to introduce this new tradition than the one with more classic throwbacks than Mitchell and Ness in the Philadelphia 76ers? The City of Brotherly Love may have lost Jimmy Butler and J.J. Reddick this offseason, but they’ve gained even more threads for new team player Al Horford and mainstays Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris to rock with the rock as they push it down court next season.
Open your arms to that.
The classic PHILA Philadelphia jerseys have already been brought back with a next generation twist. Whilst the 76ers seem to be the only team who could still put up those Christmas script jerseys long after other teams have gone in the New Year sales. But with the only court apparel competition being what looks in the mirror as they try these on, the Sixers have out done and stitched themselves yet again. Bringing back like 1971, Hal Greer and ‘The Kangaroo Kid’, Billy Cunningham, the iconic and creative “Seventies Sixers” jerseys. A jumping, forgotten retro relic and slept on classic until now.
Waking up the league, back to the future in a Ford Mustang the Motown era of a classic Bad Boy, Detroit Pistons would be proud…or jealous of (inch or mile, you should have got there sooner Motor City men), Embiid and Simmons in a slick photoshoot sharing an ‘S’ on the chest popped the hood and revealed all the intricate workings underneath, bringing this classic back on the road like Hall & Oates.
Hold on we’re going home.
Before the process. Before the answer. Even before “fo, fo, fo”, Cunningham and the Sixers represented Philly like steak and cheese. The 1970’s where a defining era for the city. Philadelphia soul made its mark from stereos to nightspots and some young fighter named ‘Rocky’ went the distance with some kid called Creed as some man going by the name Sly Stallone wrote a classic movie. Oh and Questlove of the legendary Roots crew was born. Along with another Philly legend you might also be familiar with.
With this thrift shop like find that celebrates the spirit and legacy of a city that reinvents itself more times than it does it’s wardrobe, this is the perfect “new” look for a team that could take inspiration from their past when it comes to their latest reinvention on court. Playing on without the services of their Butler, or top downtown gunner J.J.
And after all they’ve loved and lost over the years, even if you don’t trust it you can always try on the process now.
And its a look that could fit over seventy games this season.
Now that has the makings of a classic.
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