Dirk Nowitzki Details His One Matchup With Kobe Bryant That Completely Amazed Him

Published 09/08/2021, 11:00 AM EDT
(Denver, Colorado – Friday, May 29, 2009) Lakers guard Kobe Bryant yells out in frustration after just missing a circus shot against the Nuggets defense late in the first half in game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


When it comes to loyalty in the NBA, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers is the first who springs to mind. He spent his entire basketball career with the franchise and set an example of how much success even that can bring. This is a rare sight these days but someone exactly like him has a great story about the legend.

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Dallas Mavericks’ Dirk Nowitzki is part of this tight loyalty clan who brought the Mavs to a position of power in the NBA in his time. However, he still can’t forget this one incredible time Kobe shook him with his performance.

How the Mamba took Nowitzki by surprise

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Dirk Nowitzki was one of his own kind. When rumors about him possibly being traded to another team ever surfaced, they were never taken seriously. In his 21 years in the league, not once did he show any signs of ditching the Dallas Mavericks and became the sole leader who got them their first and only NBA championship in 2011.

But during his time in the league, he had to face the Lakers plenty of time. This also meant getting to go head-to-head with Kobe Bryant and even today, Dirk can’t forget this one particular incredible shot of Kobe’s that he got to witness. In an interview, he explained that they tried all kinds of strategies to defend him but nothing worked. “He was unguardable,” as per Nowitzki.

“So, one time, we kind of had him in the corner and the shot clock was going down and it was right in front of our bench. Somebody played him from the top side. So, he couldn’t turn around over his left shoulder and shoot with the right. He is kind of stuck there, sees the shot clock and turns around, shots it with the left. Cross.

“Three-pointer from the corner and we are all like, ‘What?'” Dirk narrated further.

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There was nothing Kobe Bryant couldn’t do

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There isn’t anybody who saw this Lakers legend and wasn’t in awe of him. Nowitzki admitted that there was absolutely no shot Kobe hadn’t mastered.

“So, to me in my 20 years, he was the best offensive player or best player I have seen or faced,” he concluded.

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So much respect for the Mamba, and rightly so. There were rumors that Kobe had even once tried to bring Dirk to play with him at the Lakers. What a duo that would have been, isn’t it?

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Yashima Bhatia

1496 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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