The time Kobe once tried to recruit Dirk Nowitzki to the Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant revealed Friday that he once tried to recruit Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki.
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Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant only has high praise for fellow 37-year-old star Dirk Nowitzki, who is in his 18th season with the Dallas Mavericks.

During Friday’s All-Star media session in Toronto, Bryant revealed just how much respect he has for the 7-foot German. So much so that he once tried to get Nowitzki to play for the Lakers.

Bryant doesn’t say when it was that he made the pitch to Nowitzki, but the summer of 2010 makes sense.

“Dirk and I have always had a great relationship because we’re both extremely competitive and also both extremely loyal to our teams. I’ll tell you a story about Dirk. He was up for free agency. And I knew what his response was gonna be, but just out of respect, I said ‘Dude, everybody’s looking around, all these free agents, I thought I’d just shoot you a text if you wanna come to LA.’ And he goes, ‘Dude, I would love to play with you, but Dallas is my home, this is my team, I’m not leaving here.’ So he and I think a lot alike in that regard.”

Nowitzki was a free agent and coming off an ugly first-round playoff loss to the San Antonio Spurs. It was coach Rick Carlisle’s second season and the way it ended seemed to leave some veterans such as Jason Kidd, Caron Butler and Shawn Marion discouraged.

Even Nowitzki made rare hints that he could test free agency after that playoff loss, saying: Dallas "was always my plan" but insisted that "I just have to keep my options open at this point." 

Perhaps that’s when Bryant, who had just won a fifth championship, and two in a row partnered with Pau Gasol, that he might have brought up the idea of Nowitzki coming to sunny L.A.

With Gasol and Nowitzki playing alongside Bryant, it would have arguably combined the two best international big men in the game. And it might have worked, considering Gasol could work the low block while Nowitzki roamed the perimeter.

And with Bryant being the ultimate offensive threat, who would defenses double-team? Nowitzki could have had a field day playing off Bryant.

But like Bryant said, Nowitzki has never had any real interest in leaving Dallas. In fact, the next season it was Nowitzki and the Mavs who ended the Lakers’ three-peat quest with a second-round sweep that launched Dallas to its first-ever title. Now in his 18th season, Nowitzki remains the franchise’s best player, keeping another revamped roster in the playoff conversation. 

Not even Nowitzki with this Lakers team could likely get Bryant back to the postseason one last time.