Kevin Durant and Dirk Nowitzki were seen talking and smiling multiple times during Wednesday night’s game at American Airlines Center, and it’s clear that the two have a great deal of respect for one another.
Durant clearly thinks very highly of Nowitzki, who is playing in his 19th season with the team. The 39-year-old Nowitzki has stated that he plans to play next season, but nothing is set in stone, and Durant said he is cherishing every game he plays against the Mavericks veteran, just in case Wednesday’s matchup was the last time the two will square off in Dallas.
“For sure, for sure,” Durant said, via Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “You just realize all that Dirk’s put into the game and his work ethic and the way he plays. And just the love that he gets here in Dallas is unmatched. It’s different from any other player I’ve seen since I’ve been here, just the amount of love and care and support he has here in Dallas is special.
“It’s always good to play him, especially now that he’s coming down to the last games of his career. To play against him is a special time. I’ve got a lot of memories against him and I’ll continue to keep building them and I’m sure when he’s done playing it’s something he’s going to look back and appreciate, too.”
Durant scored 25 points in the 125-122 win, while Nowitzki was held to 12 in 25 minutes of play. It’s amazing that the seven-footer has been able to play this long, and is a testament to how well he takes care of his body.
The most important tidbit from Durant’s comments is his belief that the support Nowitzki receives from Mavs fans is different than any player he’s ever seen, and he’s not wrong. Nowitzki may have lost a step or two, but he’s still revered by fans, and will continue to be until the day he calls it quits. Nowitzki — who helped lead the team to a win over the Heat in the 2011 NBA Finals — is a legend among Mavs fans, and understandably so.