Ahead of Dirk Nowitzki’s jersey retirement at Dallas, he talks about his love for mentoring Luka Doncic and how the 22-year-old is incredibly mature on the basketball court.
It is no surprise that Dirk Nowitzki adores Luka Doncic. Ever since the Slovenian set foot on the hardwood, the German big man has been gushing praises for the 6-foot-7 guard’s game. Apart from calling Doncic one of the best active players in the league, Dirk also revealed how Luka, in his 3rd NBA season, was already a better player than he ever was.
And recently, during an interview, Nowitzki spoke about the 2-time All-Star and how the two Europeans created a great bond in the one year they shared the locker room together.
“I love Luka, I think everybody knows that. We kind of bonded pretty good even though we only played for one year together, and I missed almost half of the season.
But, I don’t know, I could relate to some of the stuff he’s going through. I was not nearly as good, especially early on. You know, I had a really slow start, and I could kind of hide behind Steve (Nash) and Mike (Michael Finley) there for a while, but he’s been basically the number 1 guy ever since he got here. So, there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that.”
“I’d love to help Luka Doncic reach his goal”: Dirk Nowitzki
Dirk has been an incredible mentor figure for Doncic ever since his rookie season. Even after the Hall-Of-Famer’s retirement, the two stay in contact, with Dirk sharing the knowledge he gained over 20 years with the 22-year-old.
The former 14-time All-Star continued to talk about his love for mentoring the current Mavericks leader.
“I’ve loved to mentor him a little bit. We’ve had some meetings over the years. He’s a really sweet guy with a huge heart. On the court, he looks so mature with the way he plays and how he reads the game. And then when you catch him off the floor, you realize this kid is 22-year-old. I mean, that’s fantastic and amazing, what he’s doing.
So, really happy for him, really proud of him. And he just gotta keep working. Hopefully, he stays injury-free and have a long career with the Mavs. And anywhere I can be of help, down the line, or if he has questions, he has my number, we can meet at any time. I’d love to help him reach his goal.”
— NBA (@NBA) January 4, 2022
So far, Doncic has been averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 assists, and 8 rebounds per game. And even though he has been struggling with injuries and the league’s health and safety protocols, the Mavericks have a 19-18 winning record, placing them 6th in the Western Conference.