Dirk Nowitzki is at least superior to Kobe Bryant in two ways.
No. 1, Der Mann’s goodbye is far more endearing, meaningful and memorable than The Black Mamba’s exit, which was a carefully crafted, packaged and marketed NIKE advertisement.
Unlike Kobe, Dirk wants zero of the attention he is receiving; all of these standing ovations, curtain calls in other cities and love notes from other players are all happening organically.
Dirk has not announced he is retiring, but a Mavs source said, “There is no way he is coming back.”
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Everything about this “final” season is perfectly Dirk. We are going to miss this man more than we think.
Great players come and go. Magic. Bird. Michael. Kareem. Shaq. Kobe. We always find another one.
None of them had Dirk’s sense of humor, perspective about life and basketball, and self awareness.
The NBA has demonstrated it will find another Kobe. It will take generations before we find a world-changing superstar with this personality.
No. 2, Dirk’s signature is known the world over.
If you are not on the Twitter machine, you missed that Dirk received his own Twitter hashtag this week; it’s a blue icon of the silhouette of Dirk shooting that fadeaway off the wrong leg.
Dirk has joined three other NBA players with a shot so distinguishable that it could (should?) serve as an NBA logo: Michael Jordan’s “Jumpman”; Shaquille O’Neal’s “power dunk”; Kareem Abdul Jabaar’s skyhook.
Jerry West’s silhouette is known only because the NBA selected for its logo image forever ago.
Just as Dirk’s wrong-legged fadeway is not only impossible to stop, it is impossible to miss.
He has one more final NBA All-Star game and All-Star weekend in the bag. There will be no playoffs. He has 25 games remaining, but chop that number to 24, at least. It would be a surprise to see him play in the season finale, at San Antonio on April 10.
No, April 9 at home against Phoenix should be the last one.
Can you imagine how awkward this is all going to be if he actually comes back?
Odds and Ends
* McDonald’s is not giving me money in exchange for me calling this space “Big Mac Bites.” I am open to free fries.
* Bet of the Week: I don’t bet, because I fear losing money more than I do a clown on a desolate street.
That said, Caesars Palace has set the over/under on the 2019 Texas Rangers’ win total at 70 1/2. Our mighty ballclub won 67 games last season.
Take the under. If they win 71 ... we don’t know each other.
* I have a growing sense the Dallas Cowboys are going to do to DeMarcus Lawrence what they did to Anthony Spencer.
In 2012 and again in 2013, the Cowboys put the dreaded franchise tag on their outside linebacker.
The Cowboys put the franchise tag on Tank in ‘18. Don’t be surprised if the team does it again.
* For you Netflix addicts, watch “The Two Killings of Sam Cooke.” This documentary on the life and death of the former pop singer is a riveting education about a man whose potential impact on American culture was cut short because he was murdered.
At the time of his murder in 1964, Cooke’s power and influence in the civil rights movement was growing. He was a talent. He was in demand. He was a threat to the norm.
According to the documentary, he was making the type of impact in the civil rights movement like a Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X or Dr. Martin Luther King.
Malcolm X, King and Cooke were all murdered.
* Speaking of over/under win totals; before the season, the Mavs’ over/under was 36. I took the under.
The Mavs are currently 26-31. No one had any idea The Luka was this good.
He will win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
The last time the Mavs had a ROY winner was in 1995 when Jason Kidd shared it with Grant Hill. This means the Mavs will trade Luka, and bring him back when he is 38 years old and he will lead them to a title.
* We media scum are often offered interview possibilities as PR people look to sell this quasi celebrity, or a doctor looking to have a headline to present to potential clients. I mean, patients. Sorry.
This week, I was presented the chance to talk to Michael Canalé in person. He is the guy who colored the hair of Jennifer Anniston and Kate Hudson.
I’m half tempted to take the interview.
* Oklahoma Sooners centerfielder Kyler Murray will be in Fort Worth on Monday to accept the Davey O’Brien award as the nation’s top quarterback.
Selfishly, I am sad he will not be embarrassing defenders in college next season. I am also anxious to see just how tall/short he really is.
If you have bothered to read this far, send me a question and I’ll ask him.