Is Dirk worthy of All-Star status this season?
There are three ways to consider the All-Star candidacy of Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.
is that his performance this season renders him simply unworthy of
earning an 11th consecutive berth … and that actually is the view of
Second is that Nowitzki is an icon and a
champion and should be “grandfathered” into the marquee event Feb. 26
in Orlando … that is the view of teammate Jason Terry.
is my view as we await Thursday’s announcement of the All-Star
reserves. It seems entirely likely that in this changing-of-the-forwards
season, Dirk might join Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan on the outside
“That would be crazy,” Terry says.
That would be great, I say.
was a time — certainly before 2006, when Nowitzki led Dallas to the
Finals, and maybe since then, too — when Mavs fans, players and owner
Mark Cuban craved recognition for their stars. The organization once
launched a billboard campaign for Michael Finley and made big pushes for
guys like Josh Howard.
Some of that still goes on: witness
Cuban’s insistence that the league notice Shawn Marion’s work as an
All-NBA defensive team candidate.
But there would be a great benefit if Dirk is snubbed. Inspiration to prove voters wrong? Nah.
has more to accomplish but nothing to prove. A weekend in Orlando might
only deter him from his vastly more important goals.
whatever, 15, 16 points, I don’t think you should be an All-Star,” says
Nowitzki, who’s averaging 17.2 points. “But we’ll just have to wait and
see. I think there is a lot of great young talent in this league that
deserves to go.”
Dirk certainly is experiencing a subpar
season by his lofty standards. It can be argued that in this wacky
condensed season, the numbers represent what Cuban calls “dirty data.”
Nowitzki’s two grand hallmarks are high and efficient scoring and
leadership of a terrific team, and as the West coaches contemplate their
votes, they may conclude that Dirk’s fallen short in both areas.
they likely will have not only starters Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin
ahead of him, but also the “great young talent” of Kevin Love and
LaMarcus Aldridge, too.
“Some guys are grandfathered in,” Terry
says. “You’ve seen that throughout the history of the NBA. Guys like Tim
Duncan … just because he’s a perennial All-Star. Shaq, same thing.”
another issue here: It would be an oddity for a reigning NBA champion
to not have representation on the ensuing season’s All-Star team. Maybe
that would be fitting for the Mavs (an unusual champion in this “Super
Team” era) and maybe that would be fitting for this oddity of a season,
In the Mavs’ practice gym this week, Terry was chirping about
his All-Star plans. He’d like to be invited back into the 3-Point
Shootout competition — so much so that he half-jokingly pledged to get
an All-Star Weekend tattoo to match the Larry O’Brien Trophy tat on his
But either way, Jet is going to Orlando, flying on a
private plane while working with Reebok. And I heard him tell Dirk that
he’d like to take him along.
“C’mon, Dirk,” Jet said, yelling out to the last man on the practice court. “I’m driving.”
laughed and kept working and shooting. And that’s what I think Dirk
Nowitzki should do during All-Star Weekend, too. Laugh off the
inconsequential. Keep working. Keep shooting.
And if Nowitzki or
Terry or Cuban or any Mavs fans feels discomfort over the lack of
All-Star representation, they can easily comfort themselves by staring
at their banner, rubbing their rings and hugging their Larry. There are
much bigger things to be achieved.