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"Dirk Nowitzki was the Steph Curry of big men" – Kendrick Perkins praises German for his impact on game

Dirk Nowitzki's number is up in the rafters
Dirk Nowitzki's number is up in the rafters

NBA champion Kendrick Perkins holds Dirk Nowitzki’s game and what it did for the league in high regard.

Perkins ranked his top five international NBA players Thursday on ESPN's "First Take." He started with a couple of point guards, with the four-time NBA champion Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs fifth and Hall of Famer Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns fourth.

.@KendrickPerkins ranks his top five international players in NBA history:1. Hakeem Olajuwon2. Dirk Nowitzki3. Giannis Antetokounmpo4. Steve Nash5. Tony Parker https://t.co/3JIbH12X4x

Perkins then picked Giannis Antetokounmpo third, putting him among NBA legends so early in his career (in his ninth season). Already a two-time MVP, Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to the NBA title last season.

At second, Perkins picked Nowitzki, a German. Nowitzki was a highly skilled center with a famous one-legged fadeaway.

“Dirk Nowitzki was the Steph Curry for the big men, OK?" Perkins said. "He changed the game. One-legged fadeaways, he made it cool for us to shoot, made it cool for big men to shoot the 3 in today’s game.”

Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who won two titles and was an MVP for the Houston Rockets, was Perkins' top player.

Nowitzki played all of his 21 seasons with the Dallas Mavericks. He helped Dallas to the 2011 NBA title and earned all the major honors: the 2006-07 MVP and the 2011 NBA Finals MVP. In terms of his offense, Nowitzki made some unstoppable moves to get easy buckets for himself. He is one of seven players to score more than 30,000 career points, putting him in elite company.

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The 14-time All-Star was not a traditional center. It was not common for centers to shoot midrange shots or 3-pointers. Nowitzki knew his game was more than just posting up and getting easy buckets in the paint. He shot 38% from beyond the arc, which is a pretty high percentage for a center.

Kendrick Perkins backs his claim, saying:

“So, when you look at Dirk, 30,000 plus points, did it with one franchise – hey, remarkable career. Greatest German player to ever play the game of basketball.”

Nowitzki was honored by the Mavericks on Wednesday night as they retired his No. 41. "The Tall Baller from the G" averaged 20.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.

Another aspect of his game that made him great was his ability to draw fouls. Nowitzki made more than 500 free throws in a season three times, with 615 being his career best in 2004-05.

Dirk speaks on players in today's game using his signature one-legged fadeaway.Don't miss Dirk Nowitzki's Jersey Retirement Ceremony Wednesday night following the @dallasmavs home game. #41Forever https://t.co/wmpUJfaSlW

The retirement ceremony was emotional as Nowitzki raised his jersey to the rafters with the help of his wife and three children. Six members of the 2011 championship team were present for his big night. Jason Kidd, Dallas' coach, was among them.

Kidd began his speech with a joking appeal to Nowitzki, saying:

“Quick question: We’re giving out 10 days (10-day contracts); you wanna come back?”

It is safe to say Nowitzki will not be coming back, as he has earned himself some rest after a long career. There will never be another Dirk Nowitzki, but with him being around for the Mavs even after retirement, we could see glimpses of his game in the current team. Nowitzki is a good role model to have for Dallas, and he rightfully received his honors.

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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