Remembering Dirk Nowitzki's Incredible Career With Marc Stein | The Bill Simmons Podcast
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We are own a game of thrones kadewe, we own game of thrones HBO, I think HBO in it feels like we own it co partnership, it feels as we call on it this week with them. I we have like the all time game of thrones mean bracket right now, you can listen to binge mode. Get ready for the season. You can watch maller. Jason's top twenty five game of thrones moments effort. It doesn't kill them finishing the taping. Schedule so much going on Zack crams rinse incredible stuff. I'm really proud of the game of thrones content. We also have a video we premiered today. Subscribe to our YouTube channel YouTube dot com slash ringer. We did a video today that we put up an idea from ryen russillo, actually was the NBA support group. Yeah. There's a bunch of people in a support group talking about NBA players that they just haven't been able to give up on yet and in-includes Mark Titus of the Boston accent? So there you go check that out wanted to give a shadow to our old friend Amos Barsha from from from our grantland days. He just put out a new book that came out today called no one man should have all that power. How Rasputin manipulate the world is out today. I've flipped through a couple of chapters. I'm not done with the yet. It's really good. He was always one of my one of my favorite grand future writers that we had we actually had him early and kind of nudged him up, and he became this really fabulous feature editor. This book's really good check that out. It is called. No one man should have all that power. How rest Putin's manipulate the world coming up reductive Mark Stein about Dirk Nowitzki. But I our friends from program. All right Marston coming up in a second. I haven't been on a podcast few days here actually went back east with my family at the Boston a couple of days there, then took my son to to couple wrestling events couple place. I feel very cultured. I went to kill Mockingbird on Saturday and then wrestlemainia on Sunday, which are to the greatest plays of Raanan air, my son. And I went to annex t on Friday in Brooklyn, and it was spectacular. I gotta say I really like an annexed that the first and last matches were added control. The crowd was awesome. With a great time. We had MoMA Fukui chicken Kyle MoMA Fuca chicken to have a MoMA. They have a station event the garden. Yeah, we ever known at the garden at Barclays. So we got a chicken sandwich. I got chicken tenors. That was great. The event was great. My son was super happy. And I realize. Would I take my son to these wrestling events? It's the same thing you you don't have a dog yet. But like if I if I thought Willie my dog to the dog park. Yeah. And he's around all these other dogs and he's just so excited. He's like, hey dogs. Well, I'm gonna stiff that dubs Astle. Well, hey, there's a poop. And it's just like the dogs are around all the other idiot dogs and just like having a dog frenzy, and that's what my son was like at these wrestling events like all his people. Yeah. It's like, oh, you're gonna chain Adam Cole baby to, hey. No filters house. His no filter was his sentiments, whereas wrestlers he wanted to lose Reese apprised that came out. Yeah. He he he he got mad a couple times. He was more. He more routes for people than against. Yeah. He's he's not a lot of kill them going on now. Like, he he was really into this guy. Walter on an x t who does he's really hard chess laps. Okay. Really having. Fortunately, went back. The room that night and kept trying to chest slap me. And I finally had this MAC down. We we had a hotel room hard match. So annexed he was great. And then we went to wrestlemainia on Sunday, which my son did the most legendary thing I've ever seen him do in my life. We left the hotel at three we got home at one thirty 'cause the show is very long and during that entire time. Do not eat food or p which crazy for an eleven year old boy, not to be for ten and a half ten and a half yet ten and a half hours or eat. He started lose a little steam the last hour. But again, he was around has people. He was at his dog park. There were all these Astles smell and all these groups to smell and all these weird bones to eat and he was just in heaven. We had very good seats. We're right behind the unanswered table. And he was just locked in the event was too long. I think even the WWE mitt that it was five and a half hours the actual card. I don't feel like any crowd. I don't care what the. Crowd is for in. What's happening has more than four hours in it? Even if you had like two basketball control over time in basketball in the NBA game seven it was KEB overtime. I think the crowd would be tired by the fifth over time. Or if you had I been some amazing baseball games any gets even around the twelfth thirteenth, and you just get punchy. Yeah. So the crowd was punchy, and we hit that last hour and everybody's waiting for the big three way man event with the with the three, ladies who are awesome. And there are a couple other matches in between you just feel the energy Canada's eighty thousand people, but still cool wrestlemainia is nothing like we've eighty thousand people crammed into football stadium. Just gone Bacher's for stuff people taking great, I think my favorite match was probably the MS versus Shane McMahon. Just because you knew is leading to shame McMahon. Almost fallen to his death. And that's exactly what happened. How do you think you fell? It was like twenty. Yeah. It was crazy of Kofi Kingston. Also, this was the wrestlemainia where all the favorites kinda got their do Kofi Kingston ones at Ron once Seth rounds one Becky Lynch one, and and my son is really into. But, you know, my son's eleven I don't know how many more years I have for it as win a hang out with me anymore. It's reminding me that every once in a while I have to go somewhere with him where we have chat. He's a very good traveller my kid. That's awesome. By the way. Gypsies packed. He's ready to go opposite of my daughter acts lights. I think what I realize is this summer. I think I'm gonna take him. I'm gonna try to like eight ballparks seven days safely pull that off. Because I really think he's he's a good Traver so many. Thanks, Debbie, Debbie. Thanks to thanks to the whole. Thanks to God. Forgive me, a son 'cause I love having a daughter, but it's also cool having a son. It's the two passer, totally different. The other thing that we sought to kill him acting buried on Saturday night. And I'm not a huge play guy. And this was pretty great. The production of it and the acting and amo- is like so impressed. I go to plays that I spend more time looking at how they do the sets. When the sets change Mo's like amazed by oh, it was it's now in our in a courtroom, wait we're outside at like how they do that. So seamlessly combined with all these actors who were just giving the same performance that they've given seven nights a week. And all of it is. Is. Really really kind of incredible. And I could see how people get into the whole thing. It's for me plays or sports like I love going to basketball games. And that's my version of when people love gonna Broadway. But I recommend that one. I had to get time. My wife and daughter went to mean girls the night before at the play. Yeah. Oh, man. And they love sounds incredible. And then the other highlight was on Saturday Jacoby has three kids and he's just it's like a dad extravaganza picture. Yeah. We just interrupted his dad time he is at some sports bar this three kids just holding on for dear life, but we showed up. It was like sorta life raft. Yeah. Don't have three kids under the age of five is a lesson. I learned over and over again from my friends, I'm glad I stopped it too. But he made it everyone got home safely. Anyway, we have a lot of stuff to talk about this week. We are going to do the big NBA awards slash playoff preview through Silla on Thursday. And I have no idea how long that podcast is going to be. But the over under is two hours and one minute Auclair some time you over for that I to over yak two and a half. Yeah. It's gonna be a very long podcast. We've allowed to say I have not not decided an MVP not set an on BA, I will decide Wednesday late, and then hash all that stuff out. Russillo. We us of the rewatch Ables is coming up. I think we're taping it Wednesday major league, and we'll put that up on on Friday. And it's being remembered Brown miles grantland it love remember. He's been waiting whole life for this podcast. So we're gonna do that. All right. We're in talk to Mark Stein right now. I did you know, Hulu has live sports. Watch your favorite teams of the biggest games all with no cable or satellite subscription required. Get over sixty live and on demand channels tons of shows movies and watch on the go on your favorite devices with who live TV plan required. Restrictions apply. Learn more at Hulu dot. Dot com. I'm not gonna talk about the Red Sox. I'm not gonna panic. You're not gonna make me panic. We got started out with with a really bad schedule. And I think they're going to regroup in you're not gonna make me nervous about you're just not we have like a two hundred and fifty million dollars payroll and be fine. Don't make me nervous. You can send all your tweets. Don't care. They're bouncing right off me. So there you go and then college last I listened to one shining podcast. If you wanna hear do you want to hear to his people that actually care about college? You can hear it in their voices. It's time for them to come back. You can hear it. It's actually hilarious. Just listen to the first five minutes for Ginny was running the four corners offense. Basically when the title. Yeah, they just they kill time for twenty three seconds. Then somehow get a half these chat. They did it. I watched less March madness than ever watched in my life this year. I've no regrets. I don't feel like I miss much. I like I missed a lot of bad basketball. It's exciting. So I have no regrets. All right. Here's Mark Stein. All right. We're taping. This at ten fifteen Pacific time on Tuesday. There's big Champions League match today. This team is playing at can't believe he's even focus to interview the first podcast guest. I ever had in my whole life. Those at ESPN we no longer work there. He's at the New York Times. I'm at the ringer, Mark Stein. How are you? An emotional wreck on the ringer cap network. Lot of stuff going out for you. All right. What start? I don't want to start with the Champions League. I think people want to hear about the last thirty six hours of Dirk Nowitzki in Dallas, you were there the whole time. You watched him grow up, you nurse them like a little puppy into a big a big alpha dog what what are you satisfied about this week? I get pretty emotional. I'm for nostalgic fab, so I I get emotional these things like even when he and Wade the jersey, Bob. That made me a motion. I was like. These guys are death rivals by this. Why why is this emotional? 'cause the the weird thing is you can't say that bad it, you're twenty one. I mean, this this has lasted or longer than anyone had Andy Reid been to expect. I mean. This guy has completely, you know, he invited me into his life to cover him from the closest rains that by any writer has ever got you, and you know, gone on for more than two decades. How how can you be bad? But I don't know. I'm. Like, I said, I'm just pretty I it's not it doesn't take much I guess to to you're selling. So all honestly all season long been. I just don't want to end up on dead been with a picture of me crying on press row. That would not be that was like that was my goal for the season. But tonight, I think everybody's gonna be weepy. Yeah. The I just can't believe how long it's been. I was thinking about when they drafted him. And I did a draft area that year for the website that I had that barely anyone read that had was like thirteen months old and the Celtics said the tenth pick and my dad, and I really wanted them to take this German guy, really only because he they were comparing Larry Bird. We saw these grainy videos him. Now, it we knew us good shooter. It wasn't like it is now where we could have gone and watched a hundred games of him in Germany, you know, and really studied him we really going on nothing, and we really wanted them to take them. And then all the sudden, he falls Pierce falls. It became conceivable that they're definitely get one. Or the other Dallas ends up with Dirk with one of the great trades of the last twenty five years, and and just even him being like a multi all-star. In nineteen ninety eight felt like it would have been a huge win. Right. We had no history with foreign dudes to for him to be. I think he's one of the best sixteen seventeen players of all time for that. To happen was inconceivable in nineteen ninety eight when did you start to think it was actually potentially maybe going to get there? People. Always that. Did you believe? And I'm like, I didn't believe this. Nobody believed this then Nelson didn't this. Now, I think he was going to be an all star. When I thought him play live in Derm. Remember, they they draft. And then it's the lockout. And then if the temblor of ninety eight and I'm on my annual go watch the trip in England. And I convinced the morning news. Then meted Germany. It's like going from Dallas in New York. So I got so watch play right to league game there. And I was like this dude is like I've never seen a seven footer shoot. Like, a, you know, I'm I'm a Braves fan. So Bob, Matthew was the you know, he was the greatest and Bob Nakajima had range, and he was considered the best base of big man, probably before jerk, but he didn't extend out that kind of ring. There was no three point line for the bulk of his career. I'm sure he would have been great at it. If he made the judge. But you didn't think you start of Makhdoom as for a little bit closer in. I mean, Dirk had this range that we had never seen before. So I thought okay, they'll learn all the physicality stuff. But you if you shoot like that you're gonna be dumping. So I thought all star. But. I remember the top twenty player. I mean, nobody that. Yes. So you mentioned the lockout. We didn't get to see him in Boston that first year. That's what I was going to all the games back then and you know as a fifty game season. So there were the west and the east really didn't play that much. Then the next year he came in. And he was kinda rounding into dirt form at that point. And actually looked it up as you were just talking 'cause I remember he was awesome. And so he he was ten fifteen with twenty six points in his first game in the garden, but Pierce to game too. But I remember leaving that game. And being like, oh, man. I don't I don't know what that is. But that's that's something. And like you I revered macadear on on those buffalo teams because the Celtics had some great series with him that with them. And then ironically, the Celtics traded for him, and he was terrible. I don't know what happened to him in the late seventies. But it was this MAC. It is six foot ten. Center who his game was twenty feet from the basket that he wasn't really a Senator. But that's where they played him in it all kind of worked, and that's what we thought Dirk was going to be for for. I don't know the first couple years of his crews. When are they when do they realize that you actually needed to play him with the center? Well started as a fault word. I mean that how messed up it was because in those days, you know, the the prototypical four with Karl Malone. He was the best four man in the league bread. And you know, Dirk had no chance of of physically matching up with with him. And so they actually started the fall for until they finally realize no he's gotta be a four. We're gonna let him play his way of four. And it was just, but you've got to become a defensive rebound, or we know you're not even gonna be in position to be an offensive rebounder. We know you're gonna be a rim protector, but you have to be a defensive rebound or and he really. Worked on that. You know, he I think it was just the last game or through. He he became what is it five guys with ten thousand defensive rebounds in their career. So right, we'll be in his career average lift under eight for rebounding because the last year's obviously have minutes gone down. But he became in his prime of very serviceable defensive rebound. Or I think that was that was big for him. But I mean, the Celtics thing is making because you know, Dirk has the great hoops summit game. If that would have happened now he would have gone from unknown to number one pick in about two seconds. Right. The had already decided they wanted to take him. They were trying to hide him. They were trying to convince Dirk to know workout. You're still dot the workout. He went to Rome imag guide her were about this Celtic reluctant, Celtics Poulter. If you get you ten we are taking you ten. So I mean, he was he was there. Pierce flipping? You know, obviously made that a crazy draft. We're both. It's it's one of the great drafts of all time for for this reason. It's it's this era of the NBA where nobody really knew anything yet. The GM's were terrible. Nobody knew how to build a team. The fans had very limited information. It was really the embryo annex stages of the internet even like that draft IRA wrote from my old website. You could only read it if you had a will address because at my site was AOL only. So if you're at work, you could read it, I would've had to mail to you, and you have this draft where Ola candy goes, I he's twenty four years old. It's a terrible pick as it's happening. It's like why why is happening? Why are you taking twenty four year old with I pick with all these other guys and Mike baby went second. And peer started dropping. And you know, my dad, and I go nuts. We're like is this guy Zuber drug problem what what's going on? But there's no. Formation. Like now, if this if this was happening two thousand eighteen there's so many different ways to react in real time. And listen what other people are thinking? But it's just mean my dad in his living room, not understanding what's going on. And you look at that draft Jameson goes forth Carter goes fifth. Dallas takes Robert Traylor six and then keeps their fingers crossed that dirt's gonna be there at nine. So they can flip picks with Milwaukee. Do eat. Did they know for sure he was going to be there nine or were? They just hoping. Save a new for sure. But again that where like, you know, the fuse with eight who went seven, I'm forget, he was a French that went seven knows way. Chocolate went seven. So the type candy make baby Vancouver. Ray flip France to Denver Toronto and gold state take Jameson Carter, and then foot picks trailer goes six which was crazy when that happened that that was like, I still can't believe that happen. All right P, Robert Traylor, Jason waves, go seventh. Larry Hughes goes eighth and was very open about how he was. He knew he was ready for the NBA but needed to make money for his family because he had a sick brother, and all of a sudden nuits game Pierce there at nine and ten and then being the best guys in the draft. Like, this is just something that will never happen again because we have too much intelligence now as you said nuit ski in that hoop summit he'd go. I it would be like it would almost be like Luca Danni edge who. Would thirty should have got hired that third. But there's just no way somebody like Dante would ever go lower than three and Dirk was clearly at least on that level of talent. I the whole thing's that's to me. He also by memory thought because I'm getting older. I'm totally forgetting things. I'm confusing things. I don't know what what happening. But if I remember right after summit, I I think Jackie MacMullan with SI at the time. And I seem to remember her coding Larry Bird thing. How great or was after the hoops. And that feel didn't get him higher. The number nine like that that performance alone should have vaulted him two to three the worst. I mean, you know, now he didn't go higher than nine if they and we didn't. A look you talking early two thousands. I think that was the first year. I had the league pass was Dirks third year. But we, you know, there were basketball wasn't on like it is now, and it wasn't as available in there weren't as many opinions out there and with third we didn't know we hoped, but I remember that two thousand one season which was his third season. Now is that that was kind of his breakout? You know, they're they're really might be something years twenty one and nine that year, but you kind of feel it heading a certain way and they had that great first round series against Malone and Stockton. And it was really like old guard old school m j era NBA against whatever the league was becoming and they end up winning. And what was that last game was like a one point win in the game five, and it just fell out. Howdy. This is my twenty six year. I still don't know if I will be anything that shocked me as much as Dallas coming back from seventeen thousand in the fourth quarter at Utah in deciding game, I know Malone and Stockton were on the downside at that point. I get it. But you did not win road games in Utah in those days, and you certainly did not win a deciding series road game when you had no playoff experience. I mean that was so unexpected that that math team full that out. I you know, that was that was that that's something. Nobody doesn't even crack Dirk top twenty anymore. But it does on my this. 'cause I I was there, and I still almost don't believe it eighty four to eighty three Dirk went three for eleven ten for ten from the land. Yeah. So and that was a that was a good year for the NBA because they were coming up that lockout. The next year. Was you know that ninety nine season was just an abomination the two thousand was a little more fun shacking Kobe that dynasty started. But oh one was a really good season. Because that was Iverson's MVP that was Vince Carter really kind of a send it t- Mak was turning into something you had Dallas that Nash national thing that was really turning into something Paul Pearson Boston and is just around the league felt like like we were finally coming out of that MJ hangover. I still I remember the next big thing that happened with third was when he got hurt in that playoff series. I can't remember what was it two and Otari oh three, and there was big controversial about whether he should have, you know, strapped it on and played. You know, is that the whole euro thing came up. Thing is really that. Really was what really started to unravel the Cuban Don Nelson relationship. It's funny. We were on the I went with the math Miami a couple of weeks ago when when Dirk and Wade had the the reverse fixture is we would say the footy world. And and the Mavs made their last appearance in Miami on the floor before the game human with still talking about thousand three and how how Don Nelson would let her play that game. It was really Don Nelson. Call. Cubans call. No, well, the doctor. The it depends on who you believe that, you know. Cuban will tell you that the doctor cleared her and Don Nelson would let him play in the game. And you know, that is that is the prevailing version that goes around and to this day. If you ask her if you played not game, they'll say, I should I wasn't ready. Maybe a game seven, but I wasn't ready. And of course, the master winning that game fix and current even Jacksonville noth- in the fourth quarter in the mave lose with what really was one of their team because that was year they had van Vanak off the bench, and he really gave them something. They didn't have before. Yeah. Oh, three Mavs. That's that's one of the Asterix teams from the century where if you do that season ten times, I think they win the title a couple of those times leave your computer simulating, they beat the blazers in round one in seven they beat a really good Sacramento team. That was really the last stand for C web. They beat them and seven and then San Antonio as you said the Steve Kerr game. And they're in Dallas at that point game. Six in Dallas in that game is one of the more fun YouTube clips to watch 'cause douse is up by like fifteen sixteen at some point and Kirk comes in off the bench like sports movie and just starts making threes. Stephen Jackson guy really hot in that game too. But that oath Respert's team is still one of the more inexplicable had they win the title teams. See of that you the oath remarks the next year, they lose Nash leaves in what Cuba now admits is a huge mistake. Then everything leads to six and really the biggest officiating crisis series. We've ever had where you know, if anything Wade. A way to it's it's it was bad for him legacy wise because he was so incredible in that series. But the officials were the only thing anyone remembers did you think Mark Cuban was going to get suspended for life after that series bigger question? What's going to sell the and ultimately he couldn't bring himself to do that? But e was so. Out of it, so despondent after that that he was certainly behind the scenes that Ning it, and I'm sure if you have on he'll say he was closer to it than we ever knew how having observed him for the last twenty years. I can't imagine him being able to survive one second without the Mavs in his life. So I never really believed. But. Look the worst part of all that for. He was that's an he's getting all these pays now. And everyone loves them. They universally loved player. He is like I he hates when I make reference 'cause I've told him, you know, he's tennis guy. And you you, you know, you're from the eighty Martina Navratilova late in his career. Like, everybody loves the everybody roots from the old guy. But it wasn't like that for a decade for a decade. It was your soft. You can't get it done European. You'll never be able to lead him. And you know, he he knows that. That's what everyone with thing. And you know, I'm sure that was not fun to live with a decade. Yeah. I remember. When shack became available in four, and it came out that Cuban had turned down the chance to get shack with nuit skin, the trade. And I wrote a whole piece at the time. Like, this is crazy. Whoever gets shack is going to win a tight over next. Three years. There's he will be pissed off. He's got two to three great years left and the chance to win a title should Trump anything else? I didn't think their ceiling was as high as it was. And you know, after those seven and that the the round one loss to the warriors, which you know, a real and he wins the MVP and he had a day early loss. Like that whole thing was horrible. But from that point on it just really felt like he could kind of guess where his career was going where he was going to be like oh that. Yeah. He was great. But and there was always going to be that comma, but that that and people soft, you know, if if he didn't win eleven filling out of leave go get the idol somewhere L, right? A very fair question an obvious question. But I think what also made his story though, unique. And I remember I mean, I remember you writing about this when we were we were teammates. Back in bet oath BIC seen when they be San Antonio in game seven if probably the best single game I've ever had the privilege of being out in person when he did that you thought. Okay, now, he he's he's after summit. He just be Tim Duncan and fan Antonio on their floor in a game seven. But then then he backslid the way the finals unfolded in those six, and then obviously the first round loss in those seven it was like he conquered this huge obstacle. But then regressed, and he didn't just like you would have thought after being that he would have just kept going up and win a championship. And and so if he had to do it again, that's what made it. I think unusual. Yeah. I remember during the six plants I wrote that that was when I wrote the forty two club calm about if you add up points, rebounds and assists for somebody in the playoffs, and they played like at least twelve games and the. The average is over forty two. That means something like substantial is happening. And he just laid the smack down for three weeks in a way that we had really not seen a forward. Do. I'm gonna say like since Barkley in the ninety two ninety three range where just like points, rebounds, unstoppable inside outside everything. And at some point it really did feel like it was his year. And that you mentioned that came seven against the Spurs. That's like one of the great loss games of the century. You know, they may do with the all-time dumb foul, which he regretted even as he was fouled immediate mean to Dirk gets the gets this incredible clutch three point play to send the game into OT and comes through, and it really seemed to that point out. This guy's going to be an Alzheimer. And then two years later were wondering what happened to him and really seemed like he kinda hit rock bottom mentally going through substantial personally twos in a weird relationship that was going south. And was that what was that one year? He went he went hiking all summer would he do that summer? But we know this was after seven so after he went and p but they lose. The we believe warriors e and hoagie spin his longtime shooting coach they went to the Australian outback. I mean, they set like a month just completely away from civilization. And you know, he he started about back from it after that. Because know, oh, nine what you're referencing when he had all his personal trouble, and you know, his personal life all out the open go look at his stat from the nine year against Denver. He was incredible. In the middle of all that. I think the average thirty five twelve and not like eight percent from the field something like that crazy numbers in that Denver thing because the math had a horrible heat. It was the early days of the Carlisle era and the team was just awful and they hadn't figured out how the kit yet. They didn't have the right role. They the eleven team had all the hungry role players, and it just fit perfectly knows they know nine. It was quote to that. It's one of the best final stories. Whoever had every in this happens sometimes in the playoffs everything lined up for them. You know, you had your that Lakers team that just imploded at the perfect time. They're catching Miami during months seven of the stretch or Monday where they're just the biggest villains. The league is had since the bad boys, pistons, everybody's rooting them. And then, you know, the game to the famous with they're making fun of would it weighed hit the three in front of the Dallas bench and Gaito shit and to have this great comeback that game. And then it was just a force a will after that where I went all three of those games. The crowd definitely broke Miami little game foreign game five, and and it was just so cool to see somebody alter his own destinies doesn't happen that often in sports where you you look at just like two weeks stretch, and you go. Wow. This goes differently were remembering this guy and a completely different way. And it's one of the fair things about legacies was sports. But you know, Dirk everyone's title. He's a top twenty five guy. He's in that range with Barclay and Carl Malone, and we say, yeah, great guy, but dot dot. And then he wins the title, and that's it. He's one of the best fifteen guys ever. He's in the conversation for best foreign poor ever with Akeem. I would still give a slight edge to came. He's one of the greatest forwards of all time. I would I would definitely probably have him LeBron bird. I guess he's third unless you count happy forward. Always fit. I mean, Dunkin the Spurs and Dunkin, but that was the mouth forever rival throughout his career one five you can't you can't compare five for one with Duncan of Orlando. Dirk faints position back that is bigger legacy. He won the championship. And that puts them in the top money. But how many guys changed their position? He. And that and that, you know, no, no slice to Akeem. But I think I've seen by virtue of having played college here. And because of what it means in the history of the game for just completely changing what we expect out of out of a four man and just opening up the game. I mean, I think those are just massive massive achieve. So if Duncan counts as a forward, I have LeBron bird Duncan ahead of him. Yeah. And there's a Durant versus Dirk argument. I I would say Durant probably a tad higher because of you know, one MVP for second place finishes to finals VP's. And so I mean, you know, what what is Durant? It dark with crazy f- lettuces yet. You know it. The and and the what if with his career is if Nash doesn't leave in what happens, you know, maybe Nash needed to leave. Maybe Nash needed the the kind of fuck you edge. Maybe he needed the Phoenix Suns staff, and I'm sure we've done that before on the Amsterdam today they both needed to leave to go to. I think that is such a a joke Nash left year. They changed the hand. Check. Will we never got the fee what Dirk Nash would have been in the back or left era? I don't the wolves literally change that off the mass to the sun. Now now now now also with pissed he was furious at the mouth, you know, he felt really, you know, gifts that the Suns offered him sixty million in the MAs wouldn't go higher the thirty six million over four changed his body. He he just became you know, that certainly was a factor too. So it wasn't just all all the rule changes. But I have to think mashing dirt win at least one and maybe two together. Yeah. I would say the over unders one and a half. I I obviously I think they would have been better off staying together. The questions I have is. Did Nash need to go to Phoenix to reach his full potential as a player both from having that edge of having Dallas, basically give up on them, you know, especially when Mark Cuban who's splurging on everybody decides sixty million too rich for his blood that. And also like definitely the Phoenix training staff was a head of its time. Some of the stuff they were doing, and they were really able to keep him in great shape for five six years. I don't know of Dallas would have been able to do that. It's a what? And look, I, you know, I am a feud Dan phony disciple. I know he hasn't won who has a lot of critic yet. And you know, he'll be just like if he doesn't win. There will always be a segment of the basketball public that that says it was all a regular barrage. He's not this. He's not that. No. I mean, he's he's done it and Phoenix he's done with Houston team. He's done it with different styles and Nash benefit. Usually from that Nellie was nearing the end. I don't think Avery Johnson who would have gotten that job. I don't know that the Mavs would have been this reeling machine with Avery at the controls and Nashes point guards. So there's no question. Yeah. That's fair. Why don't you pick for Nash? Nope. West. I remember when Dirk I did a podcast with dark at all star is like twenty minutes the year after he won and. The personality transformation was hilarious. I I've never seen us here. That thing about getting the monkey off your back, and wow, you're so much more relaxed now, but. You literally could feel it and see him. He was just so happy. He was so relieved Evelyn the first time. I remember thinking like about the effects that the media and the fans have on a player and how they think about their career and their legacy because it was tied into what was going on with LeBron and that two thousand eleven season to even thinking about like my own column in like, well, you know, I ride stuff, and that guy might re it sounds stupid. But to see how like how just at PC was everything was really eye opening for me. And unfortunately as a basketball fan he was too at peace because he just basically wasted the decade on all these forget about teams after that title. And I just wish he'd been in the mix a little bit more from the playoff standpoint. You don't even think he really cared, right? I think he does care. But it's also just you know, it's a it's a criticism of him. I think and and affair one. He he came never for my money medal the Nuff in team building and team building matters. And he could have helped you speak to the fire. A lot more force believe than he did. And it's just not his way. He's just one of those guys that he's accepting of the card you give him. And. Yeah, I mean, look these last eight years since the championship. I mean, I I think they've been they've been harder than the ten getting there because at least ten getting their they're winning fifty games every year. Been he's developing his game. I mean, you know, there were a lot of heartbreak in there. But I mean, they were all I mean, he's just been rough these these last eight years, and now, you know, they've got Dodgson for Aengus. And he's he's unless he comes back one more year. With obviously unlikely in the extreme he's not gonna get the partaken any of that. So well did him. It's just him too. Big mistake. And it's funny because we also get I mean, we're hypocrites. All this. Let's face it. We get mad when athletes do this. And I take it personally when LeBron tries to trade his entire team at the all-star break of that nuit ski if he had spoken up during that summer two thousand eleven when all the sudden it became clear that they weren't going to. I guess it was actually December two thousand eleven was after the lack out when they decided they were gonna move away from Tyson Chandler. Which was a tear by DEA and didn't make sense at the time and Dallas was really filling themselves. They just won the title. And they're like, no, actually, this is how we're gonna do it where we were smarter than than the league. We're gonna figure this out. But the reality is if they had brought back Tyson Chandler, they could add a chance to win that title that year member 'cause they they lost to. Okay. See in round one. They got smoked okay. See ended up making it like two years before anybody ever thought they're gonna make finals or year before. And that yet they gonna open. Bape blue that team up for free agent positioning, and that was twenty eleven and the man's are still waiting for their free agent lash in twenty nineteen. I mean, they which is why they gave up so much for they learn to too many times, they don't do well in free agency for whatever reason. And so they're they always been much better making me base win trade, and they had plenty of those at blown up in their face with Rondo in the Morrow. But you know, they they pushed all the chips in for Aengus. And if you if you follow their history you understand why? Yeah, that was it was an indefensible title defense 'cause they were bringing back most of the good players in that team and somebody who is still in his prime or very close to his prime as a superstar. And I'm always of the belief like you just never know the stuff, and they they got cute with Chandler. It turned out to be the what? Four years five months, and that was a bummer. I it's funny because the they both put around a lot of successful pieces and spent a lot of money and did a lot of the right things you would need and they ended up winning a finals make another final trip. But at the same time, I do feel like the Mavs failed him in some ways to is. So with some of the moves over the years, like Nash and Chandler. I think being the two biggest ones on the full side. I hated the Jason Kidd trade, I remember we argued about it on one of my first podcasts, and and they don't win the title without him. So I think like everything else there's some some some ups and downs. Let's take a quick. Couple years of kid were rob. But like you defend he was when he was so important on that Seidel team. I mean, you know, the d- he played against Koby and Durant. I mean ridiculous. So what's that? Let's take quick break in. Then I wanna ask you two more questions erectile dysfunction is like a check engine light for your body. It's often the first sign of something more serious going on like high blood pressure heart condition. Diabetes and more. Fifty two percent of men will experience he in their life about seventy percent won't talk to a doctor about it. It's time to talk to Dr take care of it with Roman a one-stop shop where you can treat ED from the comfort and privacy of your own home, Hindle, everything online and a convenient discreet manner. Getting started simple. Good yet. Roman dot com slash Bill complete an online visit. If your doctor decides that treatment would be appropriate. They can prescribe Genucel medication that could be delivered, discreet, packaging Rhett, your door, free two day shipping. So talk to Dr wreck Todd is function could be tough to tackle. But it's really important to get checked out with Roman. It's easy to take care of their giving new members of. Online visit and free to shipping. Go to get Roman dot com slash Bill. Once again that is get Roman dot com slash Bill for free. Visit to get started get Roman dot com slash Bill back to Mark Stein. All right. So give me a story. They haven't given on another radio show or podcast yet that you're gonna give like forty five years from now when old man Stein is living in in England and Manchester and being wheeled into the games and somebody is like, hey, what was their whiskey like? And always with a stumper that I'm not ready for. I think he was a little behind never publicly. But behind the scene. And and I'm very with teammate. I think he was more of a trash talker and kind of cotton about himself, but never Republican. He I remember used to have this. Where he would you know after the title he would say things like an ad is an elephant on my shoulder. He would say things like that in private never. He would never do it for a camp. Right. But I think he did he kind of build up wag. As the years went on that. He plays the the humble dude on on TV. But right, but he was. He was the ship. When you when you were talking about owes six no seven, I think my favorite part of those. I actually went back and what like when he when he broke thirty eight points NBA NBA TV put together a really nice like top fifty jerk. Plays of all time. When you watch him early on even when he was starting to have success, he would dunk over guys. But the look on his face was almost like that was an accident. Like, how do that? I really believe. But by oh, six those seven. That's when the faith started in like he would pull the mouthpiece out like to the near the crowd. And like if funny how he had the, you know, he didn't he didn't start out that way. Like, Luca has that from minute one. He he took years and years and years to build that up. But I I guess it's a long way of fan. He has more than cockiness probably than than you would think, but it's all behind and also a really. You know, I was thinking about his career would I'm gonna miss about it aside. He was good playoff player which. It sounds weird to say, but I do think certain guys just translate better the playoffs, and he was one of them. Like, I was looking at his stats from oh two through two thousand twelve. He he played a hundred eighteen games. Played forty one point four minutes a game and was just twenty six and ten that entire time with forty seven thirty nine eighty nine splits shooting splits. So almost a forty percent three point shooter. Just really good for the most part when the bacon was on the line. And I think the what if with his career for me, other than the Nash thing is if you just took nineteen ninety nine Dirk Nowitzki and fast forward him to two thousand fourteen and then played out his career with the way, we're playing basketball. Now, what is look like how many threes does he take our his moves the same that does he have the same kind of inside outside game. Or is he just purely basically at three point free? Does he do basically what hardens doing now in Houston potatoes game after that? Or does it look exactly the same? What do you think? Don't forget yours today. We coach any wouldn't let him. Sutri? I mean, and that was actually beneficial made way down on the threes and made him at you know, a post game and more and focus more on the mid rain and four in different ways. So, you know, by the time he got to eleven he was just he was a surgeon. You know, you watch him in the eleven by the Oklahoma City, especially by then he was a Thursday. He put it all together. He put the long reign, the mid rain and the post altogether, and he had to do it and stuff. But I think you're right. I think is playoff numbers. Hold up. Well, he he he's a bigger Rena player. Fantastic and Boston. Yeah. York always great at Madison Square Garden. I mean, he he even all I mean this year his shooting has just abandoned him so many times and then the all star game he throws in three bomb. I mean, he. He didn't start out that way, you, you know, right up. You you noted those numbers how bad it wasn't a deciding gaming Utah. But I, you know, he turned himself into money, and I love I love guys that get to the line in the playoffs more than the regular season. You look at the first the first does for that twelve year stretch from basically. Let's go one through two thousand eleven for the for the playoffs. He's at nine free. Throws a game. Like he was usually six or seven in the season. But as you said he'd he just completely perfected that inside outside. I'm gonna do this this one, oh, they're giving me this. They're going to put this guy on me. I'm posting him up. And then I don't know what year was when he developed that shove the knee into somebody's balls fade away shot from the free throw line. What year was that? Like, oh, nine two thousand ten all of a sudden, it was eleven when people really at that playoff. Rod is really it came a prominent and everybody, you know, he was doing it. You know, and people were were talking about who's unflappable go back though back and watch the monarch but her doing the game for TNT. And he even says if Dirk was gonna pull up a huge something outside the fat, you know, Dirk taking it to the rim. Mm-hmm. He Kerr doing the game. It didn't expect it. And that was you'll credit Avery Avery made him change his mind that entr and pulled him and try to make them be more of an invite player in the biggest played in his career to that point. He took it right to the rack. I think the most unstoppable shot of my lifetime was Kareem skyhook and cream is now the most underrated megastars ever had mean, he's still should always be mentioned in any greatest conversation ever that he never mentioned how liquors. It's really ludicrous. And he should always be mentioned, even though I he's my least favorite basketball player of all time in loved hurting against them. But knew that new IDs sqi that is so him on the foul line. Once they figured out how to space shooters, which really took, you know, nine ten years, and it was really just one on one with whoever he had switched on. And you knew what he was going to do. And he could still do it. It's gotta be like in the top six or seven. I think all time moves older wanted jerk. Learn the guy, and that's like the one thing he never figured out a way to add. But you'll Korean always all you know. I don't know why more use it. How is how is the type of e? I don't know. How it fitter eat? It's it's not easy shot. No, it's bizarre to watch will even eat somebody had a clip of when he broke the scoring record on Twitter the other day, and I was watching him shoot the sky hook over eat in a break. The. Thing. And even then I was like how did he do that? Like nobody's ever come close to doing it. But how does somebody extend the ball to the absolute top of their reach? And then just flick flick shot that always goes in Gerke method bowed within an off seasons and never got to the point that he felt comfortable shooting in a game. So if someone like him at like coop who's gonna learn? Yeah. Last thing. Well, we I think we need to go over the whole weighed in nuit ski leaving these two guys that meant so much to their cities, and how that Arab might be heading toward an end just the way basketball's going where guys become these employs for higher in these different cities, and they move around and their own CO, and they're basically their own team. I do think as I watched this week with way too new. It's key though. It reminds people why it still matters to be. There is still some value to playing in the same city that you cannot make up if you're jumping around like LeBron I dunno where LeBron's going to end his career. But it's going to be in a city that he's not really attached to whereas like Nowitzki Wade, the Paul Pierce is another one that recently, we've seen it the connection that guys have when you watch the beginning middle and end of somebody's careers is deeper, and that's a really hard thing to to explain it again. Davis when he's twenty five and he wants to go bigger market, but he's gonna bounce around. And and his career is just not he he's not going to belong to anybody. And I think it belongs to Dow as you said on the pod last time you thought he is more popular than cowboy Bryan Curtis, Texas native. He wants to argue with you about that at some point. I know he wants I know he wants to fight you're not. But again, you know, the the wick which is as you know, again, I I am not gonna sit here and pretend that I- NFL expert of Eddie, I I mean, I should I probably shouldn't be talking about the NFL. But I've lived here. Twenty one years. I got here basically fifteen months before they drafted into the ninety. How had so many stars? I don't think you can just say one Moore's over the other Aikman myth mean. How do you? How do you pick one from that from that group? Yeah. And then okay when we were kid Roger Staubach in. Tom Landry were massive. But do the kids of today. Like, I I again, I've lived here for twenty one years. I'm not I do not want to insult the legend of Roger Staubach, but that was a long time ago. And I, you know, d'oeuvres the thirty thousand points of mazing, he's not gonna stay number six point forever. But twenty one years with one seem that's three more than Reggie Miller. I don't think anyone is going to break that record. I think that record is the one that will stand for eternity. And it is it I know a lot he could have left a billion times. And then left are really pissed me off. He wrote such an amazing piece on Wade. And now like, I gotta write my this week. And I'm going to be looking at that on how gonna write something even close to this. But read what lebatardshow wrote about weight. I mean, he had success before he got there. But he made I mean, he's bigger than Marino. He may. A matter. He's gumbo. One. He is an unquestioned number one in the Miami for pantheon. So and I do think those guys share that share they share that. But unlike Durkee left, he went to who went to Chicago Cleveland, hold it against them out. They don't they definitely don't last thing. I wanted to mention I remember two thousand nine range you introduce me to Nash. Or maybe two thousand eighty I forget what it was somewhere in the late two thousands. And you very protective of your relationship with Nash, she would spent all this time with national Iggy in this old school journalism way where just putting the time week after week and and building real relationships with those guys where they were sources, and you just knew them, and they knew you and there was a real trust. And I think about it at the end third career now that air is kind of over because the players are connected to everybody. You know, if I if I wanted to get a hold of Nash now, I would just would follow each other on Twitter DM the players taxed and DM so many different journalists. They're juggling thirty different relationships that aren't really substantial at all. And that whole era that you kinda made your bones in in the mid nineties of really just putting the time day after day week after week. Do you feel? That's over or is have we just moved into something different. I mean, it's over probably for me. But you know, we're fifty and it's harder to relate who twenty year old. And let's say twenty eight year old Mark Stein. Could you still even have that with a I learned to I I think there are dive working today who can still like, it's certainly different puppy like it thing with Twitter and kept seeing like you can stay in touch with guys that you couldn't when I was doing it or even the generation before me yet. But may but makes you don't. But maybe there are also more wall today than there are now 'cause the demand on the guy are so much. But like, Marcus Thomson Chris pains, I mean, these guys I, you know, I see them working really hard to build relationships. And you know, I'm you know, I'm around that warriors team. And I have some good relationships with with with players there. But though, you know, those particular Mark Mark Speir all three of them. They take a different level. I mean, they, you know, there you can still do it. But if if I think also the sheer numbers game there are so many people at any NBA media Velgo now hundred the map Maka room at home game. I can't even go in. There are a hundred people in the end for nothing Tuesday night game against. Whoever. And so it's just it's just I mean, you got there were there were so many times covering even the, you know, the great the great math teams that it would be the star telegram reporter in me. And that's it. I mean, it's a lot easier to build relationships when they two faces instead of a hundred. You know, I agree. I think the difference is. Those were like your guys, and it was really hard for a lot of people to have a relationship that you at you are in a unique situation. I knew also work the relationships, I think now it's hard for anybody to to be like, those are my guys because even Marcus Thompson Christine's all those guys and they're with them day to day, but anybody else can still get in touch with with career Durant or whoever they can interact with them. I'll give you another. I'll give you another devil. Joe Vardon does not live in Los Angeles. But he spent four years traveling around with LeBron yet every tiny LeBron LeBron gives a one on my hat is off the job art that like yes, LeBron to say. That nobody else yet. And I'm not saying I'm not saying eat. I mean, I'm, you know, I'm giving you a very small number of example here. But I think the point is can still be done. But it's just a lot of work. Yeah. I mean, when you do spend a Nash that was like really magnanimous your great teammate that really magnanimous of you. 'cause you could just hoarded Nash. I never would have gotten to know. I don't know how gotten them until here's the backstory on. That is the I've covered national long. He doesn't love doing enter. Yeah. That's so he kind of spec me just leave him alone. Because he knows that. I know he doesn't want to do it. The problem is he's an absolutely incredible interview. Which is why you want him under pod. Right. So I gotta hear him on all the pods and give all the insight. You know? And and so yes, of course, there's if it's how you did it you ended up with two of like the best seven. Sophal NBA stars. We ever had on the TV that save time us like winning the lottery maybe God back. God got back at you with Manchester City, I think and one three MVP predicted by euro people in nineteen ninety eight and they got together very quickly. And then we're going who he picking harder Yannis. Knock on wood. I don't have to submit a real pick. I'm one of the greatest things about the New York Times. I don't actually vote anymore. I'm thrilled that I don't. But I do later today. My newsletter will come out with my picks, and I gave it to Janas by by by the smallest of and I really actually feel for heart because it to now be he's gonna get I think he's gonna lose. It's going to be what three second place finishes in five years and. Still impress having. We haven't seen a gap at the I think it's been since Nique, and and Jordan and eighty six eighty seven that he's gonna win the scoring title by eight point. I mean, he he he's really unfortunate. If he comes in second. But I think this was Milwaukee season. They were the story of the season. They went from forty four win to the only fifty team in the league only team in three in both offense defense efficiency. Jaanus? You you. There's a boot noser factor Don horses that great run him by John is the face of the whole transformation. I think that pushes them over the top. And they had to beat out really good teams to win the east and going if we went back in October, none of us were picking Milwaukee. And it's better than Boston and Philly, and we toront- we just weren't. Nobody was picking them to to come out on top. And and that's where he gets extra credit for me. Would you be okay with me, leaving LeBron authored to Mambi? Yeah. I that's why you and back. You guys have taken into a new level. I do not of Seth over the all NBA thing. Like, I know you in russillo can do two hours on it. I I I I do not with myself into a fretful. I'm really glad it off the vote on that anymore because I hate the fact that media votes are deciding the supermax in millions of dollars. But whenever I complained to the league about it. They say will who else can do it who you guys are the closest thing to one bias in. You know, I guess I can't move really argue with that. But at least there's real accountability this this. All right. This is fun. Try to hold it together. Don't end up on a sports blog weeping. Weaving on press row. That'd be really sad. It's a sad way. It's a sad way for Dirks career to end with a sobbing, Mark Stein out of sports blog. I'm bringing sunglasses the game. Maybe a good cry beforehand. Maybe make yourself cry around four o'clock, get it all out all the tears. Wellness Champions League. I might do that might be the tier? Yeah. Good luck with that too. And look forward to reading on the times as always a pleasure. My friend, Mark Stein. Thanks for coming up. All right. Thanks so much to dissolve on. Don't forget you can download it on on their app on almost any smart TV allow devices, apple Android, whatever you want sign up creating account start. Watching cross nearly any of your devices D A Z N and thanks to simply safe. Simplisafe home security has everything you need to stop the front door, including twenty four seven protection was curious experts on standby to send the authorities in an emergency. Simplisafe even keep working if the power goes out of the wifi goes down, or if a burglar smashes your keypads, he know your home is secure OAS. Try SimpliSafe see how good it feels to fear less. Just go to SimpliSafe dot com slash Bs to learn more than SimpliSafe dot com slash GS. Simple safely to its back with more later in the week.