Cade Cunningham Reveals Dirk Nowitzki Made Him Fall In Love With Basketball

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Cade Cunningham Reveals Dirk Nowitzki Made Him Fall In Love With Basketball


When Dirk Nowitzki  joined the NBA, numerous players and coaches alike didn’t believe Nowitzki would even last in the league, let alone break all kinds of records for a big man. But he has done just that, and continued to prove the doubters wrong throughout his glamorous career. Nowitzki not only changed the game for international players, but changed the game forever overall.  Unfortunately, his impact and influence throughout the NBA is still not quite comprehended by the casual fan after all these years.

You see, young NBA fans growing up now will see the likes of Karl Anthony Town, Kristaps Porzingis, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid knocking down threes form the outside, but what they don’t realize is Nowitzki paved the way for every shot making big man that can step away from the basket and be a deadly weapon. Nowitzki didn’t just create the true definition of a “stretch 4 and stretch 5” he revolutionized those positions forever. Previously, players were drafted out of college into the NBA purely on their size and ability to rebound the ball and possibly block shots. Now, NBA scouts are asking “Can he step away from the basket? Can he pick-and-pop? Can he handle the ball? Can he score? What’s his range?” All these questions are now relevant, because Nowitzki has dominated and scored the basketball in ways in which we’ve never seen big men put the ball in the basket for such a long period of time.

If that wasn’t enough, Nowitzki also invented his signature shot which is now an NBA norm – the one legged fade away jumper. The likes of Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade have all added his shot to their arsenal, as Nowitzki made a living of torching opponents with it. What was once thought of as a bad and unbalanced shot, Nowitzki perfected and made it his go to move, which has still proven to be unstoppable even to this day.

More so, Nowitzki managed to set all these records and new parameters for big men while only playing for one sole team – the Dallas Mavericks. This not only led to Dirk, who’s with the Mavericks again as a special advisor, becoming a hero in the city of Dallas, but also an idol for kids all over the area.

One of these kids is Cade Cunningham, who will likely be the first pick in the 2021 NBA Draft later this week. During a pre-draft media call I was part of, Cunningham was asked which NBA player made him fall in love with basketball. His answer: Dirk Nowitzki, for the most obvious reasons.

Transcript by OpenCourt-Basketball’s Len Werle:


“The player that made me fall in love with it [basketball], I’ll probably say Dirk Nowitzki. Just because, coming from Dallas… I mean he’s the biggest thing that we had going on. When he won that championship in 2011, I remember the whole city was in a rumble. Having that as somebody to watch for your hometown team, I mean he got buckets… so I probably say he was the one that made me really fall in love with it.”


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