“Better Than Me”: NBA Legend Dirk Nowitzki Has Huge Praise for Fellow NBA 2K22 Cover Star Luka Doncic

Published 07/16/2021, 5:14 AM EDT
May 25, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts in the closing second of the Mavericks win over the LA Clippers in game two of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The much-anticipated question of the NBA 2K22 cover athlete has been answered. There are some big names this time around. Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, Dirk Nowitzki, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar are revealed as the cover athletes. In addition, Candace Parker is the first-ever WNBA player to be the cover athlete on NBA 2K.


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Dirk Nowitzki is one of the legendary players in Dallas Mavericks’ history. He paved the way for European Stars. Notably, his relationship with Luka Doncic while in Dallas is talked about. While with NBA 2K for his face scan, Dirk was asked about Luka and he had nothing but praise for the superstar.

May 28, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) reacts to scoring a basket against the LA Clippers during the second half in game three in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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Dirk says Luka Doncic is a special talent

Talking to NBA 2K, Dirk praised Luka for his exceptional skill on the basketball court. He also spoke about the European Players who paved the way for him in the league, and how it is humbling to hear that he can pave the way for other guys.

Dirk Nowitzki spoke about Luka and said, “We’ve developed a great relationship. Of course, it’s a little sad that only I got to play with him one year. Such a special talent, so good already at weaving the floor at just 21-22, just an unbelievable all-around game. I would say he is better than me now than I have ever been in my prime. That’s how good he is at just 22 already.”

He also said that he and Luka Doncic have a great relationship. How Luka wants to do well, and he will be there for Luka Doncic if he needs something or may have questions about the game.

Now, receiving such high praise from Dirk is huge. Nowitzki is an NBA champion, one of the few players to score over 30000 points in the NBA, and also a league MVP. He led Luka Doncic’s organization, Dallas Mavericks in his time. Moreover, he spent his entire career at Dallas, bringing in a championship in 2011. His one-legged fadeaway jump shot is one of the most famous signature moves in the NBA. One of the bright players from Europe, Luka Doncic is certainly following the footsteps of Dirk in the NBA.

However, Luka did deny himself being better than Dirk. He said that Dirk is a person who players look up to, and he is far away from him. Furthermore, he spoke about their relationship.

Luka and Dirk Nowitzki’s year together

Dallas Mavericks acquired Luka Doncic in 2018 via trade swaps with the Hawks. This was Dirk Nowitzki’s last year playing in the NBA. He capped off his 21 year NBA career in 2019, playing his last game against San Antonio.

Luka already made his mark as one of the rising stars that year as he won Rookie of the Year, averaging 21 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 6 assists per game. Moreover, he developed a great relation with Dirk in the one year that they played together.


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Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Doncic (77) controls the ball against Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann (14) during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

There are many similarities between Luka Doncic and Dirk. Both are European players who led the Dallas Mavericks. While Dirk brought a championship to the city, Luka went all out in his two playoff appearances, putting up a near 30+ point triple-double in both seasons. Luka is well on his way to be one of the best European players, and with a mentor like Dirk, we can only expect more great things from the young star.

Do you think Luka Doncic will surpass ever bring a championship to Dallas like Dirk? Let us know in the comments below.


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Anuj Talwalkar

101 articles

Anuj Talwalkar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He is a student studying at NM College in Mumbai, aspiring to pursue sports management to follow his love for sports. Anuj started following the NBA last year, and he loves to combine his passion for writing with his understanding of basketball.