“Best Player I’ve Seen and Faced”: Dirk Nowitzki Confers Huge Honor on Kobe Bryant

Published 08/25/2021, 12:40 AM EDT
Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Kobe Bryant (24) stands for the National Anthem before their first round NBA playoff game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 29, 2012. AAron Ontiveroz, The Denver Post (Photo By AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images)


What does one get when you combine sheer love and passion for the game of basketball with the mentality of a fierce competitor? You get Kobe Bryant! Also known as the Black Mamba, Bryant’s NBA career is the stuff of legend, with his iconic ‘Mamba Mentality’ transcending generations.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In a journey that saw a series of trials and tribulations, injuries, and, of course, success, the late Mamba is the Greatest Laker of All Time. And while his was a case of gone too soon, sentiments poured in from all over the NBA fraternity, wishing Kobe, for what would’ve been his 43rd birthday! While wishes celebrating Bryant’s greatness flowed in all day long, Kobe’s former rival Dirk Nowitzki penned an emotional soliloquy honoring the Hall of Famer’s Lakers career.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Safe to say there was tons of mutual respect between the 2, even though Kobe never showed it. But then again, he never wanted a contemporary to have an edge over him!

DIVE DEEPER

“Phony GOAT”: Skip Bayless Takes Another Dig at Lakers’ LeBron James

26 days ago

Dirk’s heartfelt Kobe Bryant wish

The former Finals MVP is spot on here. Bryant could literally do it all! From driving the basketball for a finesse layup or a slam, to even pulling up in the midrange, replicating his idol Michael Jordan, there wasn’t 1 shot he didn’t have in his arsenal. Wishing the Mamba, Dirk said – “We tried everything. We couldn’t stop him. He was unguardable, his skill level was unbelievable.”

DIVE DEEPER

When Kobe Bryant Predicted He Will Always Be a Girl Dad

26 days ago

Facing up against each other on 49 occasions, Bryant holds the clear edge over Nowitzki, with a 32-17 record. And, in those games, Bryant also averaged 25.5/6.8/5.0 while shooting 43.9% from the field. Looks like Kobe Bryant always brought his A-game when facing off against another superstar.

However, even with their rivalry, it’s clear the love and mutual respect was at an all-time high, as both called time on their respective careers in 2016 and 2018.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Nowitzki knows a thing or two about winning through struggle, trusting the process. In fact, in a career where he enjoyed little success over Kobe, Nowitzki and the Mavericks swept L.A. en route to their maiden title.

Finally, while Kobe is no longer with us as the NBA fraternity and the world of sport celebrates his life on his birthday, followed by Mamba Day 8/24, one doesn’t really need a reminder of what Bryant stood for.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Watch this story – Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Motivating Teammates and Other Defining Moments Depicting Mamba Mentality

Basketball was almost secondary, but it was in fact his work ethic, his mindset, and his mentality, that inspired millions of kids.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Nikhil Naik

170 articles

Nikhil Naik is an NBA writer at EssentialySports. Having completed his bachelor's degree in Hospitality, he has worked with the Indian Hotels Company Limited, at the Taj in Mumbai. Nikhil has been playing basketball since 2014.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT