LOS ANGELES – At one point during his pregame interview session prior to Monday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle was asked to compare the personalities of Dirk Nowitzki and former Minnesota Timberwolves/Boston Celtics great Kevin Garnett.
“I would say that KG’s personality was more overt and more kind of out there in your face,” Carlisle said. “I agree that Dirk’s a different style of person and player, too, but no less competitive. I think both of those guys are high, high, high level Hall of Fame guys, high, high, high level in the history of the game, up there in one of those pantheons.
“And I don’t think you get to your 21st year and do what he’s doing now without being just phenomenally competitive. There’s also much to do with just the kind of body maintenance that goes on, the preparation day to day, just to get on the practice court, just to get on the game floor. My hats off to him.”
Nowitzki and Garnett got into a very competitive playoff series in 2002 when the latter played for the Timberwolves. The Mavs swept that best-of-five series, 3-0.
“KG played 20 years as well, right?,” Carlisle said. “Two decades at the level that these guys played at is just a phenomenal accomplishment.”
What also has been a phenomenal accomplishment, Carlisle added, is Nowitzki’s level of consistency.
“He’s been as consistent a superstar athlete as I’ve ever been around,” Carlisle said. “I’ve been around a few as a player with my time in Boston with Half of Famers. I played a year-and-a-half with Patrick Ewing, I coached Reggie Miller, I coached Ben Wallace, who is a finalist for the hall of fame, which is great to see.
“Dirk and Reggie Miller, they all have a similar consistency to sort of just a day-to-day approach. And it’s unbending in terms of what they demand of themselves.”