Much like Bill Murray’s character in “Lost in Translation,” many celebrities think that the embarrassing commercials they do in foreign countries won’t see the light of day, only to see it pop up on the Internet. The same theory seems to apply to foreign athletes, who have a tendency to give extremely candid interviews to the media in their home country without thinking that it will see the light of day in the U.S.
Add Dirk Nowitzki to the list. He gave a very open and revealing interview to the German basketball magazine 5IVE MAGAZINE, where he criticizes former teammates, his former coach, and speculates on playing for another team - maybe even in Europe. And the whole thing might have gone unnoticed here in the States if the intrepid Henry Abbott of TRUEHOOP hadn’t have found it.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is how dismissive he is of former Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson, who lead the team to the 2006 NBA Finals. Specifically, he says that Johnson completely mismanaged Jason Kidd, forcing the star point guard into a system that wasn’t a fit for him:
“Well, we wanted a playmaker who had been around and already seen everything. I also hoped that Coach (Avery Johnson) would let him play his way, that we would play quicker and have more fun. But just the opposite happened. Avery pushed his style on Jason. It was tough throwing a guy like him into a system which he didn’t really like. How could Jason play his best in that system against the good teams from the West? It’s kind of funny though that Jason held his own defensively. He still has incredibly quick hands.”
Can someone please remove the knife from Johnson’s back? And when asked about his personal work ethic in the off-season now that he is in his 30s, Nowitzki didn’t hesitate to call out certain teammates he thought didn’t come prepared:
“But, sure it’s bitter sometimes when a teammate doesn’t invest the necessary time. The best example was Shawn Bradley. He would some times come to training camp and not had a ball in his hands for four months. But what can you do? There is no rule. Everyone needs to figure out for themselves how to stay fit.”
So that was the problem with Shawn Bradley: Not that he was an untalented stiff who only had a place in the league because of his freakish height, but because he didn’t train hard enough in the offseason. Which makes it surprising that he was able to maintain his stunning physique with his lack of training:
And then there’s the issue of how much he wants an NBA Title, and what he might be willing to do to get one:
“But the other teams have gotten so strong, also through some unfair trades - Pau Gasol to Los Angeles and Kevin Garnett to Boston. Maybe I will see if it helps changing teams in like three years. Maybe it won’t be fun any more or I can’t keep up with the athleticism anymore. Maybe I will play in Europe again. I can imagine all of that. What Karl Malone did back then - heading to L.A. after all those years in Utah - yeah it was a little questionable. But when you want the championship so bad, then you can’t rule out a move like that.”
I’m sure that the Cavaliers are offering up the Mavericks a package deal involving Wally Szczerbiak and Ben Wallace in exchange for Notwitzki.