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NBAGround >> Is Dirk really=Larry Bird?


6/1/11 4:26 AM
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EKPOGI
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http://sports.espn.go.com/dallas/nba/news/story?id=6612662

MIAMI -- With the Indiana Pacers and the Boston Celtics out of the playoffs, Pacers president Larry Bird does not deny that he's pulling for the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

That's mostly because of his longtime friendship with Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, but also because Bird is an unabashed fan of Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki.

"I've always admired the guy," Bird said.

Carlisle has gone to great lengths during Nowitzki's playoff surge to dismiss longstanding and increasingly frequent comparisons between the two, noting that Nowitzki is nearly three inches taller and plays mostly as a power forward, while Bird operated as a small forward for the bulk of his career.

Bird, though, acknowledged in a phone conversation Tuesday before Game 1 of the Finals that he does see "a lot of similarities."

"He's had a great run (in the playoffs), but I've always been very impressed with him," Bird said. "His work ethic, his loyalty to his country. It's really an honor for me to have people compare us.

"He rebounds. He plays at his own pace. He sort of controls the tempo on offense. It'd be nice to be 7 foot and when they run plays and switch (defenders) on him, it doesn't bother him at all. He can see over everybody.

"He's got the step-backs. He gets to the rim. The difficulty of some of the shots that he makes ... one thing about him is that he's always got great balance. His shot looks like he's falling away, but he's got a lot of balance when the shot goes up.

"I understand (the comparisons). I've always felt it's an honor when they compare anyone to me, because I haven't played ball for 20 years."

Asked how much he would have enjoyed the opportunity to take Nowitzki on in one of his legendary post-practice shooting games, Bird said: "I would have loved to compete against all these young guys: LeBron (James), (Kevin) Durant, Dirk. When you play this game, you want to go up against the very best. But I can't even beat Magic (Johnson) in a H-O-R-S-E game any more. That's how far I've fallen."

In an ESPN Radio interview last week with "Mike and Mike," Carlisle said: "I played with Larry Bird for three straight years when he was the undisputed best player on the planet. But he had four Hall of Fame guys to play with. I don't believe that anybody in the history of this game has had to shoulder as much responsibility to score the ball, to get rebounds, to faciliate and try to get other teammates involved as much as Dirk has. And if you think about the nature of his game, to me, it's even more remarkable."

In another interview, Carlisle added: "These two guys are very different. As much as people want to compare Larry and Dirk, Larry was a small forward and he was 6-9. Dirk is close to 7-1 and he's a power forward. There's never been a guy 7 feet, 7-foot-1, that has developed a game to play this style of basketball. Dirk is an absolute original, really, in every sense of the word. He's not like anybody who's ever played in this game. And to me that's one of the things that makes historically good and just unbelievably special."

Bird's passing ability is the area where Nowitzki will never be able to match him, but the 55-year-old lauded Nowitzki's improvement as a playmaker, which was a key element of Dallas' 12-3 march through the West playoffs.

"He keeps his guys involved," Bird said. "He finds his shooters when he's double-teamed. Something that really helped me out is every time I got in trouble, I always had big men to throw it to. I always thought that took a lot of pressure off me.

"Dirk plays the game like Mully (Chris Mullin). He plays it at his pace. You can think the game out a lot easier if you're going at your pace."

Bird employed Carlisle for five seasons as the Pacers' head coach from 2003-07. Carlisle also served as one of Bird's top assistant coaches when Bird coached the Pacers to the 2000 NBA Finals.

"I'm so happy not only for Dirk, but for Rick to get an opportunity to win the ring," Bird said. "A lot of people think Miami's going to win (comfortably), but I think (the Mavs) got a great chance."
6/1/11 10:18 AM
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alxholic
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why because he's white? how about durant? if kd develop an asshole mentality and better D, he'd be pretty close to bird.
6/2/11 4:07 PM
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kanotoa
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The reverse curse has just been reversed with your post.
6/3/11 12:17 AM
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EKPOGI
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ttt
6/3/11 9:29 AM
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acid jazz
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Dirk can't hold Bird's jockstrap.
6/3/11 10:10 PM
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EKPOGI
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Barkley loves Dirk

http://larrybrownsports.com/basketball/charles-barkley-was-willing-to-write-dirk-nowitzki-blank-check-to-play-at-auburn/69025

If you don't understand where his love for Dirk comes from, it actually goes back several years ago when Barkley saw Dirk play as a teenager. He related the story as a guest on PTI Thursday.

"We're on one of those Nike trips and I had Scottie Pippen and Gary Payton, and a bunch of great players," Barkley recalled. "Dirk had 28 at halftime. He was like 16 years old. He finished up with about 42. I told him 'You name your price, you're going to Auburn University.' I said 'Here's a blank check, just fill it in. Just fill it in. You're going to Auburn.' He said 'I gotta go into the army.' I took his information, called a couple months later, and Don Nelson drafts him for the Mavs. You know how great we would have been? Can you imagine how great Auburn would have been if we had the white mamba?"

The main point of the story was to explain how good Dirk was at such an early age, and how obvious to Barkley it was that Dirk was a special player. But if you think he was joking about writing a blank check to get Dirk to Auburn, you're wrong. Barkley freely admits he took money from agents when he played, and he'll probably tell you Auburn got Cam Newton cheaply if they only paid $180,000 for him.

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