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The Dirk Nowitzki vs. Larry Bird Debate Is Dumb

Timothy HowellCorrespondent IIJanuary 8, 2017

The Dirk Nowitzki vs. Larry Bird Debate Is Dumb

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    As legend would have it, former Mavericks head coach Don Nelson, was the first to make the comparison after watching him play prior to to the 1998 NBA Draft.

    Every season that passed since his rookie  year—1998-99—more and more people have whispered about similarities in their games.

    Nowadays, Dirk Nowitzki is constantly being compared to Larry Bird.  

    And that's not a bad thing—being compared to an NBA Hall of Famer is infinitely better than a Shawn Bradley comparison.

    It's bound to be tough to get out of bed most mornings when you're labeled as "The next Shawn Bradley."

    The only similarities between Dirk and Bradley are that they are both German.

    That's it.

    Okay, Bradley played for the Mavericks too.  But that was those Mavericks.  Doesn't count.

    Now that Dirk has his first NBA Championship—to Bird's three—one key point of argument has been deleted from the great "Who's better: Dirk or Bird?" debates. 

    Who knows?

    When Nowitzki's career is over the comparison to Bird might be so close that the debate would have to be settled by a game of rock-paper-scissors.

    Statistically at least, now is a great time to settle the debate—since Nowitzki has now been in the league for 13 seasons, the same amount of time that Bird was.

Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.

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    Both Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird were taken in the first round of the NBA Draft.  

    Bird was selected with the sixth pick, and Nowitzki was selected with the ninth pick.

    Both Bird and Nowitzki have played their entire careers with the same team.

    Of special is note is that Dirk Nowitzki was drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks, but traded for by the Mavericks. Robert Traylor was the key piece in that trade.  

    Larry Bird was never traded.  In parts of Boston to this day, even mentioning the possibility of trading Bird is grounds for a serious south-Boston butt whipping.  

    I'm not kidding.  Don't mention it.  

    And what if Dirk had played for the Bucks? What if Roger Staubach had played for the Browns? What if Troy Aikman had played for the Bills? If "ifs" and "buts" were candy and nuts, we'd all have a...

    Seriously though, don't talk or think too strongly about a Bird trade if you're in the greater Boston area.Yes, I realize he hasn't played there in years.  Doesn't matter. You're no good to us dead.

    ADVANTAGE: BIRD

Dirk Nowitzki: The Best German Born Basketball Player of All Time

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    If you are the type of person that places value on such items as All-Star appearances, MVP Awards (both NBA and Finals), average points per game and all that jazz, then Dirk Nowitzki is better than Larry Bird in one area:

    Nowitzki is taller.

    By the time Larry Bird was Dirk's current age (33) he'd already won three Championships with the Boston Celtics—two of which he was the Finals' MVP (1984 and 1986). 

    Nowitzki was the Finals MVP the only time the Dallas Mavericks have won the title.  

    And oh yeah, Larry Bird was also the NBA's MVP the same two years he was Finals' MVP.

    Nowitzki won the MVP during the 2006-2007 season; the Mavericks were knocked out of the NBA Playoffs in the first round that year.

    ADVANTAGE: BIRD


Larry Bird: Better Than Some Remember, and We All Remember

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    Dirk Nowitzki doesn't have the MVP awards or championships that Larry Bird possesses.  

    And yes, for Bird it bears noting—from the 1980-81 season through the 1987-88 season—Bird either won the NBA MVP or finished second (four times) or third (once).

    For crying out loud if Bird had finished first instead of second those years he'd have six more MVP's than Barry Bonds should have. Note: Bonds has seven, but should have one—he had some "help" on the other six.

    Okay that is impressive (not the Barry Bonds part). 

    But does it really make Bird better than Dirk?

    Consider this: Larry Bird's MVP dominance occurred during the 1980's.  In the 1980's statistics were phoned in by the parents of professional athletes.

    I know that for a fact, because I just made it up. 

    Also: there was no Internet in the 1980's and television shows like "Alf" and "Small Wonder" were popular.

    Did I mention that there was no Internet?

    ADVANTAGE: DIRK NOWITZKI

Dirk Nowitzki Is Also Much Younger Than Bird

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    Dirk Nowitzki has made much more money than Larry Bird did.

    Yes, the value of the dollar has changed since Bird made over $7 million in 1991.

    Dirk has made an estimated $141 million up to this point in his career. Even in today's economy, that's much more than Bird made.

    And as we all know, money is extremely important and is the key to happiness in life.

    That last sentence was dumb, and something I don't even believe. I was going to write this: "Money is trivial, and ultimately won't buy you happiness."

    Then Dirk money-whipped me into to writing the fifth line of this slide.

    ADVANTAGE: DIRK NOWITZKI

Dirk Nowitzki: Did 'Alf' Air on German Television? I Certainly Hope Not.

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    So that's it. It's a tie. Larry Bird isn't any better than Dirk Nowitzki. As we all know, statistics are highly subjective—even the objective ones.   

    Plus, you're only as good as your last win.

    Well, Bird's last win as a player was over 20 years ago. Dirk Nowitzki earned the last win of the 2011 NBA season.  

    How about the whole "what have you done for me lately?" quip. Lately, Dirk Nowtizki  has been winning the Finals' MVP.

    It's been over twenty years since Bird did the same. One thing for sure is this: statistics weren't kept before the Internet.

    Don't believe me?  Just ask me about.  I'll tell you the truth, because I just made it up.

    Dirk Nowitzki still has at least a few years left in the NBA.

    If Dirk continues to play like he's capable of—then Larry Bird stands no chance.  Besides, he can't win any more MVP's—he's retired.

    At least that's what I read on the Internet.  

    So, in the great "Dirk vs. Bird" debate, this is much is certain:

    Dirk Nowtizki is taller.

    Anything else will have to be settled between the two in a friendly game of "horse."

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