Not to be rude, but NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote something really, really stupid.
The general gist of his article “A Point About Playoff Scoring” is that, because the most talented basketball players don’t spend as much time in college, they never reach their full potential. This is sanctimonious and silly, for a million reasons: the idealized college basketball that Abdul-Jabbar envisions, in which players enjoy four years of maturation and development as both basketball players and men, doesn’t actually exist, and there’s just as much coaching in the NBA as there is in college basketball.
But whatever: hardly the first time a retired player has had misguided views about his former sport. What’s most interesting is the fact that, over the course of his article, Abdul-Jabbar calls out Dirk Nowitzki in a big way:
A great example is Dirk Nowitzki. As a 7-footer, he had the opportunity to play college ball in America, but people close to the situation say Dirk avoided playing U.S. college ball because he would be called on to defend and rebound and play with the big guys. Dirk has been an exceptional offensive player, but his NBA career stats show that he has limited skills as a defender, shot-blocker and rebounder. We’ll never know how good he could have been had he spent more time rounding out his skill set with a top college coach.
Oh, you mean Dirk Nowitzki, a player who has averaged 22.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game over the course of his 14-year career? A player who, because he’s arguably the best shooting seven-footer of all time, tends to play around the perimeter more than on the blocks? OK, I see. You’ve never seen Dirk Nowitzki play basketball, have you?
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Yet another poorly written article by Kevin Lincoln. Let me see here, the all time NBA leader in points, 6 time MVP, 6 time NBA champion says that Dirk is a horrible defensive player. So where exactly is he wrong in his analysis? Also, any true fan can note that the skill level in the NBA has dropped greatly in the past decade. The art of the mid-range jumper is all but gone, defense is almost non-existent, as was witnessed in the last Miami-Boston game, and supposed leaders jump ship to go play with their best pals. Maturation issues are widespread and have led to a serious degradation in the league. Prime examsples: Lebron James, Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Carmelo Anthony (only played 1 year of college ball), and so on. I suggest that if you’re going to criticize one of the best to ever play, you come with evidence to back up your claim that maturation in the college game “doesn’t actually exist”.