European players have been dominating the NBA right now. Be it the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Luka Doncic, or reigning MVP Nikola Jokic, multiple players from Europe have become superstars in the league.
While seeing a European superstar dominate the NBA might be common right now, things were pretty different two decades ago. Often considered as rotational players, players from Europe did not get much respect in the league back then. But one German legend changed it all: Dirk Nowitzki.
Playing for the Dallas Mavericks, Nowitzki proved why he was one of the best players from his draft. While players like Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan dominated the power forward position with their incredible physicality and defense, Dirk showed that finesse might be one of the best ways to dominate teams in the league.
Perhaps one of his most iconic and effective shots was the one-legged fadeaway jumper. After dominating the league for years with his iconic move, a 39-year-old Nowitzki was playing one of his last seasons with the team.
While he was well away from his prime, the forward did show glimpses of his sheer feel for the game. One of these moments came in against the Golden State Warriors back in 2018.
Scoring against a DPOY candidate like Draymond Green might be a tough task for many, but Nowitzki proved why he was one of the best power forwards ever.
In a play where Green raced down the court to block Dirk’s shot, the German pump faked the Dubs forward and reached his sweet scoring spot. While Green rightly predicted that Nowitzki might take the shot from the spot, the 2011 Finals MVP was one step ahead and pump-faked the 2017 DPOY yet again, ending the play with his iconic fadeaway.
NBA fans recently had some incredible reactions to the sequence and trolled Draymond Green as well.
Dirk certainly solidified his status as one of the best power forwards to ever play the game. Not only did he establish European basketball in the NBA, he was perhaps the most important player in establishing the Mavericks as a legitimate Western Conference powerhouse for years to come.