Dallas Mavericks

Kevin Durant salutes Dirk: ‘He was unguardable’

From one future Hall of Famer to another, Kevin Durant paid his respects to Dirk Nowitzki.

The former Texas Longhorns star and perennial NBA All-Star was asked about the Dallas Mavericks’ legend who turns 41 in June. Nowitzki is with Durant at the All-Star Weekend, serving as the Western Conference’s honorary All-Star. Dwyane Wade is serving in the same role for the East.

Durant said he learned the kind of player Nowitzki was when they met up in the playoffs on several occasions.

“You really get to see what type of person and player they are, how they dig deep to bring out what they are,” Durant said. “Battling against him in the Western Conference all of these years has been a treat.”

Durant still marvels at Nowitzki’s patented one-legged jumper.

“He’s someone who is unguardable and created a shot that really can’t be blocked,” he said. “His legacy is going to live forever as a baller.”

It was a shot that worried opponents, Durant said, because they always knew it was there and Nowitzki could explode in burst.

“His soft, silky touch on the [jumper], his creativity when he gets into the paint and rares up off of one leg and he steps back,” he said. “That’s the shot that terrified a lot of opponents because you never knew when it was coming and you knew you couldn’t block it anyway. That always had him simmering. He could always bring that out and score 10 or 12 quick points and bust the game open. As a basketball player who is striving to perfect the craft you can watch Dirk and see how he made a living off of doing just a few things.”

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.