Durant, Kerr praise Nowitzki's storied NBA career
NBA.com Global on Jan 05, 2018 07:41 AM
Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki (41) and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) vie for position on the play during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
NBA.com staff report
Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is decidedly on the back stretch of his career. He's closing in on Wilt Chamberlain for No. 5 on the NBA's all-time scoring list, has led the Mavs to a title (in 2011), won a Kia MVP (in 2007) while becoming perhaps the greatest international player of all time.
He recently said "it's looking like" he'll play out the final year of his contract in 2018-19 and remains one of the most adored figures in Texas and the NBA at large. Before the Mavs hosted the Golden State last night (and ultimately lost, 125-122), Warriors coach Steve Kerr and star forward Kevin Durant reflected on a player they've both played against and seen for many years.
“He’s an absolute treasure for our league, and I’m really cherishing the final few times we play against him,” Kerr told Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. “Hopefully he’ll keep going, but who knows?”
“I marvel at Dirk, and I absolutely love the guy for so many reasons,” Kerr said. “I love the way he plays. The way he carries himself, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, and yet he’s incredibly hard working in his craft. What a great combination, to be able to laugh at himself and still play at this level late in his career, playing in the spirit of the game.”
Durant was reflective as well and shared some moments with Nowitzki throughout the game, writes Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News:
Durant said he is cherishing every game he plays against Nowitzki, however many more games that might be.
"For sure, for sure," Durant said. "You just realize all that Dirk's put into the game and his work ethic and the way he plays. And just the love that he gets here in Dallas is unmatched. It's different from any other player I've seen since I've been here, just the amount of love and care and support he has here in Dallas is special.
"It's always good to play him, especially now that he's coming down to the last games of his career. To play against him is a special time. I've got a lot of memories against him and I'll continue to keep building them and I'm sure when he's done playing it's something he's going to look back and appreciate, too."