It took more than a year and apparently a lot of soul-searching, but superstar center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has finally regretted calling Dallas Mavericks superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki a “one-trick pony.”
Abdul-Jabbar made the controversial comment about Nowitzki during a February 2016 interview at George Mason University. But on ESPN’s “The Jump” on Wednesday, Abdul-Jabbar decided to set the record straight through host Rachel Nichols.
“I want to make a shoutout to Dirk,” Abdul-Jabbar told Nichols. “Some of the statements I made about him were misconstrued to make it seem like I was trying to knock him and knock his career.
“Nothing could be farther from the truth.’’
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Of Nowitzki, Abdul-Jabbar went on to say: “He helped the game evolve by stretching the court with his accurate three-point shooting. Anybody that can lead the league multiple times as the leading scorer is awesome.
“And anything that I said that made anybody think differently, they got it wrong. And I wanted him to hear that from me.”
While Abdul-Jabbar’s apology on Wednesday might have been sincere, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer mistakenly said that Nowitzki led the league in scoring multiple times. In his 19 seasons with the Mavericks, not once has Nowitzki led the NBA in scoring, although he is the league’s No. 6 all-time leading scorer.
Meanwhile, Abdul-Jabbar initially created a firestorm some 15 months ago when he was asked about Nowitzki’s one-legged fadeaway jump shot. That shot, which has been copied by many, appears to be as lethal as Abdul-Jabbar’s sky hook.
“Dirk Nowitzki’s shot is very hard to block, but I don’t think that he was able to have a dominant career because he couldn’t do other things,” Abdul-Jabbar said during the interview at George Mason University. “If he could have shot like that and rebounded and played defense and blocked shots, then he would have been all-around, and he would have gotten more credit.
“He was like a one-trick pony. You want guys that can shoot like that on your team. I’m not saying that he lacked value, but he would have been considered at a higher level if he had done more on the court other than just shoot the ball.”